Yes In My Backyard is a semiweekly column showcasing MP3s from new and emerging local talent.
Xray Eyeballs is the sunny, garage-pop alter-ego of guitarist O.J. San Felipe (of YIMBY vets Golden Triangle), a lazy-Sunday neo-Nuggets shout-along where a chorus can totally be “Let’s all get high” if you want. His band’s debut album, Not Nothing (out April 19 via Kanine) has the extroverted hooks of your favorite tri-colored Lookout! vinyl seven-inch, but was recorded via inward-gazing, bongwater-soaked lo-fi mushcore production — as San Felipe says, “Jeremy Scott has some nice microphone tricks to make me sound like a caveman singing in a cave.” Not Nothing‘s opening track, “Crystal,” has flickers of Jay Reatard or Modern English, but it’s mostly just a venue for San Felipe to belt cracked Valentines while his GT bandmates Carly Rabalais and Jay High churn along. Though Golden Triangle‘s glam-sleaze steez and multiple songwriters set them apart from Xray’s teddy-bear punk, San Felipe’s seems extra pumped to point out one difference: “I get to write love songs.”
What is “Crystal” about?
“Crystal” started off as a song about these girls I knew who did too much crystal meth, but somehow it evolved into kind of a break-up song, unexpectedly. So now it’s a crystal meth breakup song!
What inspired it musically?
I was inspired by New York City in the late-night hours. Just ending up at random places with random people and situations and exposure to danger and shady things . . . I like going out dancing, and I wanted to make a song that DJs can throw on and make people dance at the immediate drop of the needle, or right when the bassline kicks in . . . kinda like when the Cure’s “Just Like Heaven” comes on at a party and people freak out. Not to say we sound like the Cure or anything, but the way people lose it when that first bouncy drumbeat and bassline comes on, that’s a hard thing to capture.
Xray Eyeballs is kind of part of a very poppy wave of New York punk, alongside the Men, the Obits, Pregnant — can you attribute this wave to something?
Hmmm, I don’t know what to attribute, but I like me a wave of poppy NY punk. I don’t even write songs. I just make up a bunch of guitar and vocal hooks and put ’em all together, cram as many catchy things as I can in two and a half minutes and then it’s a song. Hopefully at least one of those hooks will stay stuck in someone’s head. It’s percentages!
Xray Eyeballs play Death By Audio on April 2.