Conor O'Brien formed Villagers after the break-up of his previous band The Immediate. The very next day, O'Brien wrote the first song after waking up with a hangover.[2] O'Brien's time as a guitarist in Cathy Davey's band was also critical to the development of his style as he had never before performed alongside anyone outside of The Immediate.[2] Villagers gave their first live performance as a support act with The Chapters at a show in Whelan's in November 2008.[2] At that point the band had previously only rehearsed together on two occasions.[2] They had only seven songs, written by O'Brien and passed on to the rest of the band to learn.[2]

Villagers performed on the seventh series of RTÉ Two's Other Voices television programme in 2009.[3] The band's debut EP, titled Hollow Kind, was released in February 2009.[4] It contained four tracks, all of which were written and performed by O'Brien.[2] The EP brought comparisons with Bright Eyes and Sparklehorse.[5] Villagers then went on tour.[6][7] They were a support act for Neil Young and toured across Europe with Tracy Chapman.[4]

Villagers appeared at several festivals in 2009. They supported Bell X1 when they performed at Live at the Marquee in Cork on 26 June 2009.[8][9] They performed at several music festivals in Ireland, including on the Sunday of Oxegen 2009, at Indie-pendence on 2 August and at Electric Picnic 2009,[4][8] as well as at Latitude Festival in the UK.[8] The Irish Times's Jim Carroll recommended their performance in the Body Soul Arena at Electric Picnic 2009 as "A must-see for those who dig ragged pop, eerie folk and heartfelt, emotional songs and sounds".[10] They headlined Hard Working Class Heroes in 2009,[11] with O'Brien attracting the ire of the audience when he requested some quiet during the performance.[12] They gave a live performance at The Music Show in Dublin's RDS in October 2009.[13]

The debut single of Villagers was "On a Sunlit Stage" and was released in October 2009.[11]

On 15 January 2010, Villagers represented Ireland at the Eurosonic Festival in Groningen, the Netherlands.[14][15] They were involved in efforts to raise funds in the aftermath of the 2010 Haiti earthquake.[16][17] They embarked on a tour with Tindersticks in March 2010 and released the single "Becoming a Jackal" on 17 April 2010.[18] A debut album Becoming a Jackal was released in Ireland on 14 May 2010,[19] with a UK release in May and a US release due on 8 June 2010.[20] O'Brien's elder sister died within the same week.[12] The album immediately went to number one on both the Irish Albums Chart and the Irish Indie Albums Chart.[21] It proceeded to continuously top the indie chart.[22]

On 13 April 2010, Villagers appeared on Later... with Jools Holland on BBC Two alongside Paul Weller, Hot Chip, Marina and the Diamonds, Gogol Bordello and Paul Rodgers.[23][24] Shane Hegarty, writing in The Irish Times, noted in his praise that "Irishness wasn't a factor [...] The pithy introduction to his performance didn't mention it. It didn't need to. Viewers could have thought he was from Northampton or New York or anywhere".[25] His appearance included a performance of the single "Becoming a Jackal", but then found himself stranded in Brussels due to the air travel disruption around Europe in the aftermath of the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland and had to miss a live performance on Record Store Day.[26]

Villagers played Meltdown in London in June.[27] In the same month Villagers performed a U.S. tour and performed at Live at the Marquee in Cork on 25 June.[28] There was a performance at Oxegen 2010 in July.[29] They were one of the first acts to be announced for Electric Picnic 2010.[30] They also played on the Festival Republic Stage during the Leeds/Reading Festival 2010[31] A U.S. tour was announced for October and November 2010.[32] In March 2011, Villagers joined Elbow on a two-week tour of the U.K. and Ireland.

Other people who've worked with Villagers

Alternative Band Names

The Villagers