Releasing three great albums since forming in 2008, Villagers (a stage name for Conor O’Brien) have not had a big breakthrough to a mainstream audience, but those of us that have followed them so far know that it is only a matter of time.

Following this year’s stripped back Darling Arithmetic, Villagers have distilled their stage act down to a similarly pared back sound. Evidently realising that many of their older songs worked well using this new approach, they headed into the studio for one day this summer to record a number of selections from their songbook using this new approach which eschews production values in favour immediacy and magic. Among the tunes is a new recording of “Memoir”, which O’Brien wrote for Charlotte Gainsbourg, and is finding its way on to a Villagers album for the first time.

Some of the results of the one off recording session will be released on 8 January 2016, as Where Have You Been All My Life? Effectively a freshly recorded retrospective of Villagers first three albums, it’s inevitably going to delight long standing fans, but also act as a fine introduction for newcomers. Listening to the warm brilliance of “Memoir”, it seems inevitable that there will certainly be some that will regard Where Have You Been All My Life? as Villagers’ definitive album.

To promote Where Have You Been All My Life? Villagers are going to be setting out on an extensive tour across Europe:

31 October: Spain – Bilbao – Bime Festival
27 November: Portugal – Lisbon – Mexe Festival
28 November: Austria – Vienna – Bluebird Festival
13 December: Germany, Berlin – Stargaze Long Weekender

26 January: UK – Belfast – ‘Out to Lunch Festival’ – The MAC Theatre
28 January: Ireland – Dublin – Vicar Street
29 January: Ireland – Galway – Black Box
30 January: Ireland – Cork – Savoy
1 February: UK – Newcastle – Gateshead – Sage 2
2 February: UK – Glasgow – Oran Mor Auditorium
3 February: UK – Leeds – Brudenell Social Club
5 February: UK – Manchester – Gorilla
6 February: UK – Sheffield – Leadmill
7 February: UK – Birmingham – Glee Club
8 February: UK – Oxford – Academy 2
10 February: UK – Bath – Komedia
11 February: UK – London – Shepherds Bush Empire
12 February: UK – Brighton – St Georges Church
13 February: UK – Ashford – St Mary’s Church
15 February: Belgium – Brussels – Botanique Orangerie
16 February: Holland – Amsterdam – Paradiso Noord
18 February: Holland – Zwolle – Hedon
19 February: Germany – Dusseldorf – Zakk
20 February: Germany – Munich – Strom
22 February: Germany – Berlin – Postbahnhof
23 February: Germany – Frankfurt – Zoom
25 February: France – Paris – La Maroquinerie
26 February: France – Rouen – 106
28 February: France – Nantes – Stereolux