If you’ve been frequenting this site throughout the better part of this year, you would have come across a small handful of posts on one of this site’s most recent mainstay artists, the Raleigh, NC/NYC-based sheogazer rock quintet The Veldt. Currently comprised of founding members, primary songwriters and identical twin brothers Daniel Chavis (vocals, guitar) and Danny Chavis (guitar) and Martin Levi (drums), along with along with Hayato Nakao (bass) and Frank Olsen (guitar), the band can trace their origins back to the Chapel Hill, NC music scene of the late 80s and early 90s — a scene that featured Superchunk (arguably, the best known out of that entire scene), Polvo, Dillon Fence and others.
Forming in the early 90s and initially featuring the Chavis Brothers and Levi along with Joseph “Hue” Boyle (bass) and later David Burris, The Veldt were a rarity – a rock band that prominently featured black men in a place and time in which it was considered even more unusual than it is now; and yet they managed to quickly attain “must-see” status in their hometown. And with the 1992 release of their debut effort, Marigolds, the members of The Veldt quickly saw an expanding national profile:ee not only were they profiled by MTV as a buzz-worthy band, the Chapel Hill, NC-based quintet earned a much more lucrative recording contract with Polygram Records, who in 1994 released their highly-acclaimed Ray Shulman produced sophomore effort Aphrodisiac – and as a result, the band wound up opening for the likes of The Jesus and Mary Chain, Lush, Oasis, Cocteau Twins, Pixies, Fishbone, Corrosion of Conformity and others. However, despite a growing international profile for a sound that meshed soul, shoegaze and early 90s alt rock, the band’s label and management repeatedly told them that they were “too difficult to market” and they were dropped from Polygram and subsequently from two other labels.
The band then went through a series of lineup changes while releasing their last two albums Universe Boat and Love At First Hate before officially going on hiatus in 1998. Interestingly, a few years later the Chavis Brothers had resurfaced in New York and continued forward with a new project, Apollo Heights, which received local attention for a sound that effortlessly meshed soul, trip-hop and electronica with shoegazer rock — and for their Robin Guthrie (of Cocteau Twins)-produced full-length debut, which featured guest spots from Guthrie, Mos Def, Deee- Lite‘s Lady Kier, TV on the Radio‘s Dave Sitek, and Mike Ladd.
History works in unpredictable and unforeseen ways and over the past 20 years, the Chavis Brothers’ and their bandmates’ work has managed to be both of its time and decades ahead of time. And as a result, the band’s work has also managed to be much more influential than what its creators could have ever imagined as the members Bloc Party and TV on the Radio’s Dave Sitek have publicly claimed The Veldt as influences on their sound and aesthetic. Now, earlier this year the newly reformed The Veldt released the first batch of new material in almost 20 years with the release of The Shocking Fuzz of Your Electric Fur: The Drake Equation Mixtape an effort which revealed a subtle meshing of the original The Veldt sound with that of Apollo Heights — and the result is a sound that pairs towering and shimmering guitar chords, tweeter and woofer rocking beats and Danny Chavis’ soulful yet ethereal crooning as you would have heard on the swooning “Sanctified” and their sultry yet moody latest single “In A Quiet Room.” And as those two singles and the tour supporting their EP revealed, the band’s sound manages to make a vital and important connection between The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Cocteau Twins, The Verve, Fishbone, Marvin Gaye, Prince and TV on the Radio among others.
Directed by Toshi Kaneiwa, the recently released music video possesses a painterly quality as the gorgeously shot black and white video features a nude woman brooding and posing in a room. And with each shot, you can almost picture an unseen photographer or painter creating a moody portrait.