Thursday 28 November 2013

Band To Check Out: The Veldt

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Nowadays, there aren't many shoegaze bands still around today (excluding their “let’s have a reunion” versions) that date back to the late 80s/early 90s heyday. The Veldt is an exception - with one exception. Namely, performing under the name The Veldt once again, they did previously undergo a name change after "taking a hiatus" in 1997/98 - to Apollo Heights, and now back to The Veldt.

The twin brothers that formed its backbone are Danny and Daniel Chavis, who, together with Hayato Nakao, have brought us sounds under both band names. From the time that the band released their first proper record 'Marigold's' on Stardog/Mercury in 1992 through their breakthrough album 'Afrodisiac', a lot of changes have occurred and, under the Apollo Heights brand, the Chavis brothers have pushed their musical boundaries with more electronica and trip-hop influenced backdrops to create texture with Daniel's soulful falsetto croon. Both Bloc Party and TV on the Radio have cited The Veldt as their inspirations, not only for integrating alternative music, but also for their groundbreaking blend of soul and post-rock.

Their list of collaborators looks like something straight out of the shoegazer hall of fame. They have worked with producers Ray Shulman (The Sugarcubes, AR Kane, The Sundays), David Sitek (TV on the Radio), and Robin Guthrie (Cocteau Twins, Violet Indiana), whose influence you can most strongly sense in the first two tracks of this article. The buck doesn't stop there. They’ve also worked with Jesus & Mary Chain, Mos Def and Lady Miss Kier of Deee-Lite fame and have shared the stage with the likes of Oasis, Cocteau Twins, The Pixies, Fishbone, and Corrosion Of Conformity, among other notables.

This month, The Veldt released their first new song in 15 years, the appropriately titled 'Resurrection Hymn' on the compilation album 'Square Peg In a Round Hole Vol. 5'. You can listen to it here. We enjoy the wall-of-noise effect and the reverb-laced building of tension over appealing drums. We’re already wondering what this might have sounded like with Daniel’s divine vocals and whether another version of this track (with vocals) might appear on their next release.

For their forthcoming EP, The Veldt have already been working with two massive legends - Robin Guthrie and Joe Foster (a.k.a. Slaughter Joe), co-founder of Creation Records - seriously whetting our appetite. Apollo Heights is being featured in The Smiths' bassist Andy Rourke's forthcoming documentary 'The Sounds Of The City'. Having gained recognition under both names, I expect they may still, from time to time, perform under both names in future - only time will tell. In the meantime, we are already looking forward to getting our hands (and especially our ears) on the forthcoming EP from The Veldt in 2014.

The Veldt's website

Apollo Heights' website

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