Pioneering shoegazers The Veldt have released a new video for ‘Black and Blue’, which the band describe as “a pean to the muse of self-gratification, a sonnet of the underworld” and “sado-masochistic perfection in the eyes of the beholder, domination of the upmost of the naked soul”.
Perhaps the only notable first-wave shoegaze bands to go on hiatus or ‘reform’ since the early 1990s, The Veldt is identical twins Daniel Chavis (vocals, guitar) and Danny Chavis (guitar), along with Hayato Nakao (bass), Marvin Levi (drums) and Alex Cox (guitar).
‘Black and Blue’ relays a tragic story, based on a book written by Ice Burg Slim: “Mama Black Widow tells the tragic story of Otis Tilson, a stunning black drag queen trapped in a cruel queer ghetto underworld. In hopes of escaping the racial bigotry and economic injustice of the South, Otis’ family journeys north from their plantation to an urban promised land. Once in Chicago Otis and his brother and sisters become prisoners to a wasteland of violence, crime, prostitution and rape. This is the gut-wrenching tale of the destruction of a family in purest form. This song is a homage to ice and his writing.”
This track is lifted off the new EP ‘Thanks to the Moth and Areanna Rose’, out now via sonaBLAST! Records. The footage for the new video was captured by Yuko Sueta, the late wife of Veldt guitarist Danny Chavis.
The new EP features contributions from two 4AD music legends of the dreampop and shoegaze world (a remix by A.R.Kane and production by Robin Guthrie of Cocteau Twins). The Bandcamp version of the EP also features two legends of the trip-hop and rap/trap world (‘Dakini’ was remixed by Jason Furlow, a.k.a. Nosaj of New Kingdom and Carlos Bess of the Wutang production team).
The Veldt’s sound has accommodated the influence of musical kin Cocteau Twins as readily as it did Marvin Gaye and free jazz warriors Sun Ra and Pharaoh Sanders. These trailblazers reference European post-punk while embracing modern hip-hop, and working with transient dreamscapes as fluidly as solid song structures.
Pitchfork included The Veldt ‘Afrodisiac’ in the top 50 shoegaze albums ever released and Stereogum included ‘Until You’re Forever’ in the top 31 shoegaze tracks. Their sound also inspired future generations of alternative artists, including TV On the Radio.
The Veldt’s journey is fascinating. Some time after forming in Raleigh, they met programmer Hayato Nakao in New York and have together forged music that is a heady and sensual blend of shoegaze and progressive soul, dreamy soundscapes and infectious grooves.
After signing to Capitol Records in 1989, The Veldt were soon in the studio with dream-gaze guru Robin Guthrie working on their initial recordings, touring with Cocteau Twins and The Jesus and Mary Chain, and recording ‘Marigolds’ with Lincoln Fong (Moose). They soon recorded their classic ‘Afrodisiac’ (1994), produced by Ray Shulman (The Sundays, Bjork, Sugarcubes), which was released via Mercury Records.
The Veldt has collaborated with TV On The Radio, Mos Def, Lady Miss Kier (Deee-Lite), and 4AD legend A.R.Kane and shared the stage with The Pixies, Throwing Muses, Echo & The Bunnymen, Cocteau Twins, Manic Street Preachers, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Oasis, Chuck D, Living Colour, and Schooly D.
‘Thanks to the Moth and Areanna Rose’ EP is out now everywhere but the band requests that people directly support the band by ordering the album through their Bandcamp.