I had the priviledge of being crammed in the back corner of Mercury Lounge last week to catch the one of the few US shows from Villagers. From the heart and mind of Dublin songwriter Conor J.O'Brien, these well-crafted indie rock songs definitely become extra magical with a full layered band behind them - but even the songs that O'Brien sang on entirely on his own were powerful and haunting in their own way, including one of my favorites, "Twenty Seven Strangers." Not to mention that NPR totally wants to have his music babies, and I personally can't get the eeriely perfect chorus to album title track "Becoming A Jackal" out of my head.
O'brien and his talented band are currently on an extensive UK tour, but hopefully will grace us with more in 2011 (maybe a SXSW stop or two?).