In this age of universal social networking, it is difficult to find mystery. When you discover a new artist, writer, cook, or fire marshal, you can instantly uncover every facet of their lives. The Atlanta band Del Venicci flies in the opposite direction.
Only two of their songs, "Speaking to Snakes" and "Haunted Hall," are currently accessible online, and both will draw you in. The video for "Speaking to Snakes" particularly so. In it, a woman erotically dances in her underwear while in the background a man and woman lifelessly strum their guitars with a fourth figure shrouded by bed sheets occasionally banging a drum. It's like a home movie version of Blue Velvet with a haunting soundtrack by Mazzy Star. They take the shoegazing literally, not betraying any emotions, letting the song put you in an opiate state.
If you search for more information, their website will tell you only that Del Venicci are "grandchildren of celebrated opera singers." But fortunately, New Times hired a private investigator (not really) who learned Del Venicci isn't such but rather the brainchild of guitarist/singer Grace Bellury and guitarist Ross Politi.
After growing up in Boca Raton and graduating from Olympic Heights High School, Politi moved to Atlanta, where he helped form the band Carnivores. "Grace was in another local band, and we played a lot together," Politi reminisces. "A year ago, we started writing songs together. We wanted a band focused on an art collective approach, paying a lot of attention to the aesthetic of the band and a lot of focus on making videos."
The duo bonded over their love for Velvet Underground, remembers Bellury. "Musically, they were a big one, but also just the spirit of the whole art Factory thing and the community of it all." To further endow their community, they found a drummer in Tyler Walters and a bassist in Jonathan Merenivitch who brought with them a shared love of the droning No Wave scene of New York in the '70s and '80s.
But being in Atlanta, they feel they are part of something even bigger. "It's a really good scene here. There's always something to do every night, and there are a lot of great bands here," says Politi. "We've reached out to artists and let people do a series of videos for us, so they've become auxiliary members of the band."
Bellury excitedly divulges, "We did a fun video in a friend's sculpture warehouse with 20 random dancers and artists performing. A lot of it was improvisational where we made it up as we went along, but by the end, it was 'Oh, shit!' because it all came together."
When asked where we can see the video she was so enthusiastic about, the duo stonewalled, or at the very least delayed, any revelations. Their EP, titled Haunted Hall, is not coming out until February 25, and until then, the videos and even the songs for four of the six tracks will be kept under lock and key.
But that is not entirely true, because the band will be taking a drive down South to Radio-Active Records on January 24 to perform in store. When asked what audiences can expect at the event, Bellury continued the theme of mystery by offering only two words: "high drama."
Del Venicci with Whorish Boorish, 4 p.m. Friday, January 24, at Radio-Active Records, 845 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale. Visit facebook.com/RadioActiveRecords.