Yes In My Backyard is a semiweekly column showcasing MP3s from new and emerging local talent.
Sunglasses-clad Brooklyn team Young Boys make delicious, fashion-forward darkwave drone-punk wrapped in a leather jacket and a smile. With the Ramones’ hooks, the Jesus and Mary Chain’s suffocating fuzz, and Cold Cave’s post-goth slouch, they exist in the perfect center of the Sacred Bones and Death by Audio universes. Their debut seven-inch is out now on Chicago’s increasingly hot “limited edition vinyl record” label Rococo in a numbered edition of 500 (first 100 on white vinyl, get crackin’); the Suicide-al A-side rager “Bring Em Down” has the fuzz-heavy dreamcore feel of a spontaneous mosh pit at a 4AD show. And that gloriously Devo, occasionally woozy robo-churn? Vocalist/guitarist David McDaniel and bassist Lee Lichstinn recorded the track in their original two-piece incarnation backed by a drum machine, but the band dissolved shortly thereafter; when they reconciled a year later, they added a synth player and a drummer.
What is “Bring Em Down” about?
David McDaniel, vocals/guitar: “Bring Em Down” is about westward expansion. The “colonization” of America, Manifest Destiny, colonists acting supposedly in the “name of God” to conquer everything and everyone in their way. I write about things that get me heated or that I am passionate about . . . like everyone, of course.
What inspired it lyrically?
McDaniel: I am the type to write when my emotions are high, be it happy or angry. The lyrics for “Bring Em Down” had already been written out for a while. It was something I wrote after reading a story about the terrible things that were done to Native Americans in the name of Manifest Destiny: mothers being forced to watch their babies being smashed with rocks and thrown against walls, rape and torture, etc., etc. Really awful stuff. What goes on in someone’s head to make that happen? To think that killing a baby is OK in God’s eyes? Something in your mind must slip, you know?
So you recorded this album in a recording studio set up in an art gallery?
McDaniel: Louis V? It’s where everyone in Young Boys — except me — lives. It’s your home away from home that you party at. Gallery on the weekend, recording studio and Young Boys HQ other times. Pretty convenient.
Scott Kiernan, drums: Yeah, Louis V E.S.P. is the gallery I co-run with Ethan [Miller, synths] in Williamsburg near the Graham stop. It hosts monthly gallery shows and now a Manhattan cable-access show. I record all the Young Boys stuff there. It’s pretty bare-bones, though, mostly an eight-track reel-to-reel and an outdated digital mixer/multi-track. I grew up as a teenager being obsessed with cassette four-tracking, so I’ve gotten good at getting the most out of a limited setup.
What are you guys doing for day jobs?
McDaniel: I spin records for people at bars to make my money. Yeah, I have to say I like it.
Kiernan: I DJ records too, sometimes with David, but I’m primarily a visual artist. I also do large-scale digital printing for artists and have been a studio assistant to a bunch of people.
How did you make the weird-ass video for this song?
Kiernan: I made the video primarily with stolen and altered YouTube clips and some footage I had laying around. I chose things that I felt either fetishized technology — especially outdated technologies — or involved some watered-down or mutated religious overtones . . . like the clip of an instructional video for forensics to teach how to identify a ritual murder. I stuck them all together without asking anybody in the band, and that became the unofficial video. Most of the time was spent on making the expressions in that video of the first computer-rendered 3-D face match the mood of the chord changes and guitar noise.
What’s the most memorable show you’ve played in New York City?
McDaniel: My favorite shows are usually the ones at DIY spaces in Brooklyn like Death By Audio or Silent Barn. Those are places we always get the best sound out of, funnily enough.
Kiernan: The most memorable show I’ve only heard about when I wasn’t in the band: It was when it was just you and Lee, and the drum machine erased all your patterns right as the show started.
What’s your favorite place to eat in Brooklyn?
McDaniel: Ignazio’s Pizza and Clark Street Diner.
Kiernan: Sandwiches from Hana Food and Grand Morelos seems to be band standbys.
Young Boys play Pianos on March 19 and Coco 66 on April 15.