Pop & Hiss

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NewVillager wraps up its (literal) Chinatown residency with an installation blowout

June 20, 2011 |  3:52 pm

For the last week, the Human Resources gallery in Chinatown has resembled more of a refugee camp for avant-garde space monsters. NewVillager, the high-concept pop-art project of Ben Bromley and Ross Simonini, quite thoroughly took over the space -- they've been living, working and curating music and art there in the leadup to their self-titled debut album (Aug. 16, on the local indie IAMSOUND).

But albums seem almost beside the point for the band -- they allegedly recorded 10 different versions of their debut with different arrangements, lyrics, melodies and production styles (which seems a rather droll take on what a "song" actually is). But their Tuesday night set, which closes out the week-long experiment at Human Resources, seems to be more in line with their vision for giddy, symbology-inclined chamber pop.

They'll perform what they're calling an "integrative concert" set that will expand the whimsically freaky world of their "LightHouse" video into an installation reflecting the album's themes (which will hopefully include real-life cotton-candy monsters and fuzzy beasts made of cassette tape). But even if they're inclined to change them at a moment's notice, the songs are scintillant takes on voice-tweaked electronic pop doused in atypical optimism. Imagine the Knife's demon-stalked synthetics, then imagine their exact opposite.


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Fool's Gold is the real thing in world music

-- August Brown