Home > Featured > The Veldt’s ‘Illuminated 1989’: A Sonic Odyssey Through Shoegaze History

In the ever-evolving tapestry of music, there are bands that defy genres and transcend eras. The Veldt, an avant-garde shoegaze duo hailing from North Carolina, is one such anomaly. Their latest release, ‘Illuminated 1989,’ now available on vinyl through Little Cloud Records and 5BC Records, marks a pivotal moment in their illustrious journey.

Unveiling the Time Capsule: Illuminated 1989 on Vinyl

The year 1989 saw The Veldt collaborate with Robin Guthrie of Cocteau Twins fame, birthing an original full-length masterpiece. Capitol Records, however, had different plans, shelving the recording and nudging the band back into the studio with producer Lincoln Fong. The result was ‘Marigolds,’ the debut album as the world knows it. Now, ‘Illuminated 1989’ emerges from the archives, an authentic sonic time capsule.

Guthrie, the sonic wizard behind Cocteau Twins, not only produced the album but lent his mastery to remastering, ensuring a vinyl experience that transcends nostalgia. The singles ‘Angel Heart,’ ‘The Everlasting Gobstopper,’ and ‘Aurora Borealis,’ featuring a cameo by Elizabeth Fraser and a B-side remix by The Veldt, served as tantalizing glimpses into this long-awaited release.

Echoes of the Past, Sounds of the Future: The Veldt’s Sonic Palette

The Veldt’s sonic tapestry is woven with threads from diverse influences—Marvin Gaye, Cocteau Twins, Sun Ra, and Pharaoh Sanders. Their music effortlessly references European post-punk while embracing the rhythms of modern hip-hop. It’s a fusion of transient dreamscapes and solid song structures, a journey through sound that defies convention.

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Pitchfork recognised The Veldt’s ‘Afrodisiac’ among the top 50 shoegaze albums, while Stereogum placed ‘Until You’re Forever’ in the top 31 shoegaze tracks. Their impact reverberates through generations, inspiring artists like TV On the Radio.

From Juke-Joints to Shoegaze Heights: The Veldt’s Musical Odyssey

The Chavis brothers, Daniel and Danny, the twin pillars of The Veldt, embarked on their musical odyssey from the roots of the church and southern juke-joints. Their childhood soundtrack included gospel, Motown, and Pink Floyd—a diverse foundation that echoes in their genre-defying compositions.

Originating in Raleigh during the vibrant North Carolina music scene of the late ’80s, The Veldt’s journey led them to major-label relationships, European tours, and stages shared with icons like Throwing Muses, Pixies, and Jesus & Mary Chain.

After a stint as Apollo Heights in New York, the band returned to their original name, joined by Japanese bassist-programmer Hayato Nakao. Together, they crafted a sound that marries shoegaze with progressive soul, dreamy soundscapes with infectious grooves.

Recent releases like ‘The Shocking Fuzz Of Your Electric Fur’ EP (2017) and ‘Entropy is the Mainline to God’ (2022) showcase the band’s evolution, proving that The Veldt is not confined by the past but continuously pushes sonic boundaries.

A Tapestry of Collaborations: The Veldt’s Influence Across Genres

The Veldt’s influence extends beyond their discography. Collaborations with TV On The Radio, Mos Def, Lady Miss Kier (Deee-Lite), and A.R.Kane underscore their versatility. Their touring roster reads like a who’s who of the music world, sharing stages with Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Pixies, Oasis, and Living Colour.

As we spin ‘Illuminated 1989’ on vinyl, we immerse ourselves not just in the music but in The Veldt’s journey—a journey that echoes through time, leaving an indelible mark on the sonic landscape. The Veldt is not just a band; they are architects of auditory dreams, and ‘Illuminated 1989’ is their magnum opus etched in vinyl.

In a world where music often conforms, The Veldt stands as a testament to the power of innovation and the enduring magic of sonic exploration. The vinyl crackles, the needle dances, and The Veldt’s sonic odyssey continues, echoing through the ages.


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