Modern English

Modern English

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. The original members reformed in 2009 and are currently touring with plans for a new release in 2016!

Formed in Colchester, Essex, England, in 1979 by Robbie Grey (vocals), Gary McDowell (guitar, vocals), and Michael Conroy (bass, vocals), Modern English were originally known as The Lepers. The group expanded to "Modern English" when Richard Brown (drums) and Stephen Walker (keyboards) were subsequently added to the line-up of the band.

After a single on their own 'Limp' label in 1979, the band signed to 4AD the following year, with two further singles released, and a session for John Peel recorded before the band's debut album, Mesh & Lace, in 1981, the band in the early days showing a strong Joy Division influence. A second Peel session was recorded in October 1981. The follow-up, After The Snow (April 1982), was more keyboard-oriented and was compared to Simple Minds and Duran Duran. It was also released in the United States by Sire Records the following year, where it reached number 70 on the Billboard chart, and sold over 500,000 copies. Grey said of the album, "We used to think 'God, we'll never make a pop record. We're artists!', but things don't always turn out as you planned and when you actually create a pop record, it's so much more of a thrill than anything else". The second single from the album was also a hit in the US, the jangly "I Melt With You" reaching number 78. When he reviewed the album, Johnny Waller of Sounds described the track as "A dreamy, creamy celebration of love and lust, which deserves to be showcased on as 12" single all by itself, with no b-side", while his colleague Tony Mitchell described it as "susburban amateurism at its most unrewarding". The band relocated to New York City and worked on a third album, Ricochet Days, which again made the top 100 in the US, after which the band left 4AD and were solely signed to Sire. The single "Stop Start" (1986) was the last record Modern English record released by Sire, the band splitting up.

Grey and Conroy along with Modern English worked with This Mortal Coil before re-forming Modern English with Mick Conroy and Aaron Davidson for a new album in 1990, Pillow Lips, now on the American TVT label. The album featured a re-recorded "I Melt With You", which was released as a single, and saw the band again in the Billboard top 100. The band split up for a second time in 1991, after contractual problems with TVT, with Grey forming Engine. In 1995, with the legal issues with TVT sorted out, Engine evolved into the next incarnation of Modern English and signed to the Imago label, with Grey and Matthew Shipley (keyboards). This line-up recorded the 1996 album Everything Is Mad.

Robbie Grey toured the US with a new Modern English lineup coast to coast across the US and recorded a new album with Hugh Jones (producer of Melt With You). The songs written with guitarist Steven Walker and other memebers came together on the road and back home in London between tours , after a few years on the shelf this collection of songs was released in May 2010 called "Soundtrack", along side the reissued and remastered "Stop Start" album also released at the same time. The original members reunited & reformed in 2009 and are currently touring; planning for a new release in 2016!

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, along with drummer Marvin Levi, 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 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 debut Marigolds, playing American concert halls with Cocteau Twins, working with A.R. Kane, and opening for The Jesus and Mary Chain in England. 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.

In 1991, The Veldt were featured in multiple national magazines as "bands to watch" including Spin Magazine and this Artist Profile feature on MTV.

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, who produced 'And It's You' from this EP, they have collaborated with TV On The Radio, Mos Def and Lady Miss Kier (Deee-Lite), and have shared the stage with The Pixies, Throwing Muses, Echo & TheBunnymen, Cocteau Twins, Manic Street Preachers, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Oasis, Living Colour, TV on the Radio, and most recently with The Brian Jonestown Massacre.

In 2017, The Veldt are back with their new EP "The Shocking Fuzz of Your Electric Fur: The Drake Equation" which will be released on Schoolkids Records on June 2nd, 2017 worldwide! European and US Tour coming this Spring and Summer, more details to follow!

$18.00 - $20.00

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