Conor J. O'Brien is Villagers
The last few years have seen a flood of talented singer-songwriters emerging from Ireland, from Damien Rice to Fionn Regan, but possibly eclipsing all of these could be newcomer Conor J. O’Brien. O’Brien, who records under the name Villagers, just released his debut album Becoming a Jackal this week on Domino Records. As they say in ole blighty, “it’s a corker”. The youngster, who has talents way beyond his tender years, has received comparisons to his namesake from Bright Eyes, Conor Oberst, due to his knack for wistful lyrics and gorgeous melodies. It’s apparent O’Brien has already forged quite a name for himself and a dedicated fanbase, as his album hit the #1 spot in the charts in Ireland the week of release. Here in the states, the Villagers shows at SXSW were raved about, in particular the outdoor set on the Saturday where the singer-songwriter battled the biting cold on a windy hillside. His plaintive tunes provided a perfect soundtrack (and balm) to the unseasonal wintery weather in Austin.
Destined to join the Villagers album on the “best of 2010″ lists come December, is the latest release from Blitzen Trapper. Destroyer of the Void, which dropped this week, is the second record from the Portland, OR combo released on Sub Pop, and a follow-up to their 2008 breakout for the Seattle indie, Furr. There’s no denying that every Blitzen Trapper album to date has been a rag tag group of songs, with apparent influences from everything from Pavement to Wilco - a little bit alt-country, some spastic indie rock, but somehow it all works.
And those two are but a fraction of what has ended up being a veritable blockbuster week for indie albums. It’s hard to believe such a wealth of talent, and this is just a sampling, conspired to hit retail the same day, with new releases from Ratatat (XL), Hot Hot Heat (Dangerbird), Tokyo Police Club (Mom & Pop), Teenage Fanclub (Merge), Ariel Pink (4AD), The Belles (S-Curve), Nada Surf (Barsuk), Henry Clay People (TBD), Delta Spirit (Rounder) and more. For the indie fan, it seems like it Christmas comes in June this year!
-Cool Hand Luke