Dark, dank and decadent, the music of XRay Eyeballs is unmistakably from New York’s soft white underbelly, a sort of 3 a.m. barbiturate crawl on the wild side.
Ah, but look a little closer, at the core it’s just adrenalized garage rock, with hooks and melodies and everything; in that way, the ‘Balls have much in common with their mopey antecedents in the Velvet Underground and the Jesus and Mary Chain.
Singer and guitarist O.J. San Felipe (from San Francisco) and bassist Carly Rabalais (from East Texas) were sweethearts, and musical kindreds, when they moved to Brooklyn formed a band called Golden Triangle.
That morphed into XRay Eyeballs, which now includes Sarah Baldwin (The Girls at Dawn, Fergus & Geronimo) on drums, and Liz Lohse (Heaven, Runaway Suns) on guitar and synths.
The band’s most recent album is titled, appropriately, Splendor Squalor.
We spoke with Rabalais this week.
Carly and O.J.
“One of the reasons we be came close really quick when we first met was that we had a lot of similar tastes in music. But at that point, I’d never even been in a band. We did Golden Triangle, and that was my first take on music. We started Xray Eyeballs together at home. We weren’t really planning for it to become a real band; it was just kind of an experiment. In the beginning, O.J. did all the writing for it, and then on this last album I contributed more. But a lot of the vision is his, and I throw in things here and there.”
The New York experience
“I think that’s what we want it to be like, kind of this fantasy world, this underground thing that not too many people experience. I think about the contrast between the place I grew up and where I am now. That’s what I like about exposing people there to a band like this. This kind of sound doesn’t really exist there. I like tapping into these places that might shock or interest people in smaller places.”
Sarah and Liz
“As a business decision, we had to incorporate people to help us bring it to the next level, who had a lot of talent and dedication to put into the band. Doing a good job and being successful is kinda at the forefront for all of us. If you have people in the band that aren’t on the same page, or have other things going on that are priorities, that could be difficult. I think we have a great lineup now, and we’re all on the same page. And it’s nice also having girls — for a while I was the only girl. I like it.”
11 p.m. Thursday, March 8
The Jinx, 127 W. Congress St.