In praise of Apollo Heights — who I’ll be sorta surprised if anyone reading this has heard of, but no matter, that’s why I’m posting it! This week I’ve been indulging in the past four (well, three and a half) albums by the Veldt, a brilliant and all too unique band from North Carolina that was stuck with the simplistic tag of ‘black shoegazers’ for a lot of their career. I have one of my more unhinged entries in my 136 list about their 1994 album Afrodisiac, and while it’s still my personal favorite of all their work, all their albums show the combination of what a friend once called ‘Smokey Robinson fronts the Boo Radleys’ — a better comparison though still imperfect. The beautiful soul vocals of Daniel Chavis are just plain flat out great — there’s nothing stodgy about them and if you want to discount them because they’re not modern hyperprocessed in nature, your loss, my friends — while the fluidity they brought to their music, working in blissout tropes and with more than a few of the figures who brought it to bear — Lincoln Fong, Ray Shulman, the Jesus and Mary Chain — results in something that can make you dance as much as lose yourself in the feedback. “Heather” could be the greatest song that A. R. Kane (very much idols of the band from the start) never wrote, and in fact people might even find it a bit better than them.

So they never got famous and they seemed to have disappeared, but a couple of years ago I heard that Daniel and his brother Danny, the core of the band, had a new act going, Apollo Heights — but there was barely any place to find info on the band. Happily, that’s now changed and a page is up, and apparently they’ve been selling an EP and CD at shows — I’m hoping to get a copy of those soon! Posted on the webboard they have there and heard back from Daniel — they’ve been playing a lot with This Year’s Hype TV on the Radio, and though I’m not as fond of them in turn, it’s meant more exposure for a band that has long deserved it. Apparently both Veldt and Apollo Heights albums are being worked on, and I’m all for that.

There are sound snippets throughout the page and more will end up there over time, I’m sure. Keep an eye out, keep an ear open — this is a group that defies expectations and stereotypes because they are quite simply themselves, and at their best, they absolutely SEND me. It could happen for you as well.