NewVillager in the NewYorkTimes

photo of NewVillager’s stage at the Wiltern theater

by Zach Wojcik

Headed by the Brooklyn-based visual artists/musicians Ross Simonini and Ben Bromley, NewVillager approaches concerts as “integrated events”; D.J. sets are “lectures” and weeklong, multiroom gallery installations, like “Temporary Culture,” their recent show at Human Resources in Los Angeles which was “designed for living, sleeping, performing and going through stages of culture,” are formal opportunities to shed light on the group’s dense, and at times baffling mythology. To put it in layman’s terms, NewVillager is a pop band that plays art galleries. Its debut album comes out Aug. 16 on IAMSOUND Records.

By way of introduction, watch the video for the single “LightHouse” directed by the indie auteur Ben Dickinson, whose has also done videos for LCD Soundsystem, the Rapture and Q-Tip. Drawing equally from Matthew Barney and the enfant terriblecouture of Jean-Paul Gaultier — albeit on what appears to be a much smaller budget — “LightHouse” features a motley cast of costumed characters meant to embody the 10 tracks on the new album. The strange figures dance hypnotically, levitate, perform unexplained rituals and ultimately destroy and consume one another. If you’re still confused, the album, which has been in the works for nearly half a decade, and was recorded in home studios and remote locations up and down the West Coast — comes with a 10-page booklet that explains, sort of, NewVillager’s modus operandi. Barring that, you can see the band perform live on Aug. 27 at the Out In The Streets Festival.

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