The Veldt played at The Riviera Theater in the historic Uptown neighborhood on the North side as part of their tour in support of their upcoming EP “The Shocking Fuzz of Your Electric Fur: The Drake Equation” on a brisk Saturday night in March. The show was sold out, and, after hearing new songs from the upcoming EP in the set, it totally makes sense that they toured whom they did (they opened for Phantogram). This was definitely a bill worth experiencing. They couldn’t have had a better act to precede. It was definitely a celebration of humble shoegaze beginnings and conglomerated genres that make our hearts beat in ways we had no idea they could.
Now, to the live premieres of their new tracks, “In A Quiet Room” and “Sanctified.” These sounds retain the avant-garde soul-shoegaze sound of The Veldt. One of the new elements they have brought in is a perfect medium between their heavier sound (like that of “Soul in a Jar“) and their slow-jam sound (like that of “Heather“). This makes their new material something I found myself dancing and swaying to at the same time. This definitely has to be the affect of an added drum machine. The drummer was spot on in accompaniment, and this made the beat more engulfing. Both of these songs are only amplified in beauty when heard live. The first time I heard the tracks, I was excited about hearing them live. “Sanctified” is so contemporary, and nostalgic at the same time. The nostalgia had to come from Chavis‘ vocals. The contemporary part was the clarity of the guitar magic of the Chavis’ brothers and Nakao. Modern technology in the audio-effects departments suits them oh so well. “Sanctified” has a lovely float to it, the constant whir of the guitars made it hypnotic. “In A quiet Room,” the same effect was achieved. This wall of echoed reverberated guitar set to a R & B groove on the drums enshrined the stage. Everyone’s eyes were either closed in auditory bliss, of wide open in awe.
The crowd was a nice mix of people, and my favorite thing was turning around in the photo pit after this kid asked me who they were. I told her and she said, “See, I’m glad they made a comeback because I would have never known there was a shoegaze band out threre like them.” Indeed, now is the time to reintroduce the world to the The Veldt.
What sets The Veldt apart from their shoegazing counterparts are the soothing and soulful vocals of Daniel Chavis, and its disarming clash against the lush guitars of Danny Chavis and Hayato Nakao. At first listen, one is caught off guard and thinks, “Is this shoegaze? Or Soul?” Shit, why shouldn’t it be both? The most beautiful thing about a scene like the one we celebrate over and over again, is that every now and then, a band like The Veldt come in and add a layer of musical finesse that is not necessarily aimed at “keeping the gaze.” In an article highlighting their comeback, The Guardian touted The Veldt as “pioneering black shoegazers who anticipated the Weekend.” It is about time a band like this made a comeback, amidst all of the noise that has surfaced and resurfaced since the revival of the now nearly-peaked shoegaze genre. Their sound is as unique as it was in the beginning, and staying true to a sound after a hiatus as long as theirs is not an easy feat.
The new EP The Shocking Fuzz of Your Electric Fur: The Drake Equation will be released in June 2017.
The Veldt formed in the late 80’s in Raleigh amongst the royalty of the legendary North Carolina music scene, including bands such as Superchunk, Archers of Loaf, The Connells, Dillon Fence, The dBs, Squirrel Nut Zippers, and Ryan Adams. Pitchfork recently included their album ‘Afrodisiac’ in the top 50 shoegaze albums eve released. Today their musical output is in the same ballpark as A.R.Kane, Cocteau Twins, Massive Attack, and Jesus & Mary Chain.
Signed to Capitol Records in 1989 and eventually Mercury Records, The Veldt embarked on a musical journey that changed their lives. The soon found themselves in the studio with dream-gaze guru Robin Guthrie, touring America with Cocteau Twins and the UK with The Jesus and Mary Chain and working with leading producers Lincoln Fong of Moose on their debut album ‘Marigolds’ and Ray Schulman (Bjork, Sugarcubes, The Sundays) on ‘Afrodisiac’. The Veldt were a sensation from the start and part of a movement of innovators, who came of musical age at a time when rhythmic rebels were reflective, gritty and wild. Their sound inspired future generations of alternative artists, including TV On the Radio.
The Veldt have collaborated with TV On The Radio, Mos Def, The Jesus & Mary Chain, Lady Miss Kier (Deee-Lite), and most recently with A.R.Kane, and have shared the stage with the likes of The Pixies, Throwing Muses, Echo & The Bunnymen, Cocteau Twins, Manic Street Preachers, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Oasis and Living Colour.
The band reformed in 2016 and their new EP started to make the rounds with a 2016 vinyl release via Manchester’s Leonard Skully Records. Their return was met with incredible enthusiasm and significant press attention, including from The Guardian (UK), who say “the new songs invite paradoxical praise: serenely assaultive and vertiginously soothing.” In the past year, the band did a mini-tour with The Brian Jonestown Massacre, embarked on two Canadian tours, toured and played multiple festivals across Europe.