Arts & Entertainment

Press Pass: The XYZ Affair

There was never any doubt about Alex Feder’s band’s name. From the week he learned about the ill-fated international relations snafu in high school, through the time he re-birthed the band at NYU, it was always going to bear the name The XYZ Affair. 917presspass

There was never any doubt about Alex Feder’s band’s name. From the week he learned about the ill-fated international relations snafu in high school, through the time he re-birthed the band at NYU, it was always going to bear the name The XYZ Affair.

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The XYZ Affair (Photo: Courtesy Kip Kouri)

It’s a quirky handle for a quirky band, one that both acknowledges and revels in a uniqueness that has made it an Internet sensation, as well as one of the most highly regarded bands the crowded New York music scene has to offer.

If you’ve heard of the XYZ Affair there’s a decent chance it’s because you recall their viral debut music video for “All My Friends” featuring a Trojan Horse revenge plot against band “neighbor” and Nickelodeon host Marc Summers.

“Honestly, getting slimed was probably the best thing that ever happened to us,” Feder says during a phone interview last week, a few years removed from the breakthrough YouTube vid.

Immediately after the video hit big, the band enjoyed a line around the block for its next New York City gig. Soon everybody from NPR to The New Yorker was chiming in on the power-pop band from Brookyln and their catchy, anything-but-cliche music.

“We’re pretty kitchen sink,” Feder says of the band’s style. “When we wrote the first album I was listening to a lot of Brian Wilson’s Smile and the reviews that compared us to Queen, well, my dad used to work in musicals and my favorite is the ‘Pirates of Penzance.’ That’s still probably my favorite album of all time.” His tastes recently veered into the Top 40, prodding him to download the entire Usher catalog.

Whatever the influences, Feder and bandmates from the beginning, Chris Bonner and Russ Machmeyer, have earned a reputation for a mixed bag and a big sound that begs for much larger venues than the DC9 showroom, where they’ll perform Thursday, June 25.

“One review called us ‘Weezer if Weezer were four jocks,’ which is pretty funny considering the closest any of us came to serious athletics is our bassist who ran high school track and field,” Feder says.

Feder goes on to say that the quirkiness that has become their defining characteristic grew out of a youthful background of no complaints — good family life in an upper-middle class environment.

“We don’t have that blue collar edge like Springsteen. We didn’t grow up in turmoil like some hip-hop artists,” Feder says. “I just like taking a point of view and standing it on its head. Like if you ever listen to Prince or Al Green they sing about all these one night stands where there are no repercussions. In real life, there’s a lot to clean up in the morning.”

After garnering buzz for their debut LP, A Few More Published Studies, the band is planning a follow-up full-length album for the fall, though they recently released two digital tracks as a bit of an hors d’oeurve. Both tunes still embody the playful tone that made their earlier work so memorable, although that much may be evident from the song title “Sock You In The Face With Love.”

“A lot of bands are super serious or artsy,” Feder says. “We’re not.”

• The XYZ Affair performs at DC9 June 25 at 9 p.m. Tickets are $8. For more on The XYZ Affair, visit www.xyzaffair.com.