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Modern English are an English rock band best remembered for their songs “I Melt with You,” “Hands Across the Sea,” and “Ink and Paper”. The group disbanded for a period in 1991, but later recorded in 1995 with some new members. Given Modern English’s roots were post-punk icons Wire and Joy Division – dark and austere while still melodic and passionate – it was strange to be treated like the new Duran Duran, and the band split after the third album, Ricochet Days (1986).
Original members Robbie Grey (vocals), Mick Conroy (bass), Gary McDowell (guitar) and Steven Walker (keyboards) reunited in 2009 to tour the US, UK and Paris, and will now be releasing the new album Take Me To The Trees in February 2017, followed by a full tour. The album title was also inspired by nature: “it seemed like a sister title to After The Snow, and to us getting lost along the way.”
Daniel and Danny Chavis are natives of Raleigh/ Chapel Hill, North Carolina and East Village residents for the past 28 years. They are also co-founders of the groundbreaking band The Veldt, who lifted their band’s name from a Ray Bradbury science fiction story. Musically reared in the church and juke-joints of their native southern state, the twins have been performing since they were children, listening to music that included gospel, Motown and Pink Floyd. In March, they, together with bassist/programmer Hayato Nakao, return to their roots with the release of The Shocking Fuzz of Your Electric Fur: The Drake Equation Mixtape EP. The first single is the emotionally wrought Sanctified, a ballad that perfectly captures the lush sound of Danny’s screeching guitars and decibel-breaking distortion, along with Daniel’s soulful wail and Hayato Nakao’s deep bass grooves and guitar feedback, the track serves as the perfect re-introduction to this dynamic band. The title The Shocking Fuzz of Your Electric Fur was borrowed from an E.E. Cummings poem. Its raging sound was influenced equally by the emotional soul of Marvin Gaye, free jazz warriors Sun Ra and Pharaoh Sanders, various Drake hip-hop tracks, and their own fertile electric imagination. In their early days, the Chavis brothers making a name for themselves playing throughout the south at a time when fellow southerners REM and Superchunk were securing major label deals. As more black rock bands (Living Colour, 24/7 Spyz) began selling records and gigging throughout the world, The Veldt was courted by various labels, including IRS Records and Capitol. Initially signed to Capitol Records in 1989, The Veldt embarked on a musical journey that changed their lives. Soon, they were in the studio with dream-gaze guru Robin Guthrie working on their initial recordings, playing American concert halls with Cocteau Twins and The Jesus and Mary Chain, and recording Marigolds with Lincoln Fong (Moose). The Veldt were a sensation from the start as they became a 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. They switched labels and Mercury Records released Afrodisiac in 1994, produced by Ray Shulman (The Sundays, Bjork, Sugarcubes). Their single Soul in a Jar was an underground hit. As the brothers moved to expand their musical language, fusing more electronics into their soundscape, they retired the “Veldt” name and, for various reasons, began recording and touring under under the name Apollo Heights. In 1999, the Chavis brothers met bassist Hayato Nakao, who would become their permanent partner. Their music was loud, exploring color, space, sensuality and beat driven melodies with rhythmic and dynamic tension. Daniel's falsetto vocals cast a contrast upon the wall of sound created by Danny's heavy rock dreamscape guitar and Hayato's pounding and licentious beats. Although The Veldt had signed to two major labels after leaving Mercury Records in 1995, the brothers decided to remain indie and self-released their 2008 album White Music for Black People. “The major labels were always trying to get us to change our sound, our look or both,” Daniel laughs. “But, we had no interest in being the next Lenny Kravitz or Tony! Toni! Toné! Unfortunately, not everyone shared our vision. We weren’t trying to be rock stars, we just want to play our music and pay our rent.” Apart from Robin Guthrie and A.R. Kane, they have collaborated with TV On The Radio, Mos Def and Lady Miss Kier (Deee-Lite), and have shared the stage with My Bloody Valentine, The Pixies, Echo & The Bunnymen, Cocteau Twins, My Bloody Valentine, Manic Street Preachers, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Oasis, Living Colour and TV on the Radio, among others.