While recording last fall’s Fires of Comparison EP, Brandon Welchez and Charles Rowell of noise-pop duo Crocodiles shared a pipe with a homeless man in San Diego’s Presidio Park. It didn’t end well.“If you play with fire, you’re gonna get burned,” Welchez told the Guardian in an email interview. “Or in our case, strep throat.”

But rather than waiting for their singing voices to return, Crocodiles released Fires of Comparison as an entirely instrumental album to be enjoyed, according to their offi-cial press release, “under the mind-altering influence of 2XB-27, a drug concocted in Charles’ toilet by their friend, Dr. Russel Cash.

”It’s this kind of unprovoked jackassery that gained the public approval of art-punk juggernauts No Age, doused their debut LP Summer of Hate in irresistible, fuck-you charm and landed Crocodiles on just about every notable “up-and-coming” list in the blogosphere.

Longtime friends and San Diego natives Welchez and Rowell formed Crocodiles in 2008 after the breakup of their former experi-mental hardcore act The Plot to Blow Up the Eiffel Tower.

In response to their vapid, sunburnt environment, the pair began craft-ing punchy pop songs about love and death — buried under distorted drums, reverbed guitar hooks and layers of piercing feedback — that captured the pent-up angst and adren-aline of bands like the Velvet Underground and the Jesus and Mary Chain.

 But as far as Welchez is concerned, the influences end there. Since their inception, Crocodiles have focused on evading criti-cal pin-downs, following their own creative intuition.  “That shit follows any new band,” Welchez said. “It doesn’t really bother us. I’d say it makes the journalist who’s writing those com-parisons look stupider.”

On the heels of their well-received 2009 debut, Summer of Hate, Crocodiles entered the studio last year with English producer and Simian Mobile Disco frontman James Ford (Arctic Monkeys’ Suck It and See, Klaxons’ Myths of the Near Future) for their sophomore release, Sleep Forever.“

Production was just as important on Summer of Hate, it’s just that we had far less tools to work with, and us and our friend [and producer] Jon Greene were learning a lot as we went,” Welchez said.

“James was great, he was a lot of fun to work with.”Tapping a wider array of influences, from krautrock to 1960s she-pop, and racking up more than a few album-of-the-year nods, Crocodiles have wasted little time preparing their next project. “We just spent the summer in Europe, playing festivals and recording our third album,” Welchez said. “We were in Berlin all September, living in a flat and recording the album. It was great.”

Now, with UCSD’s iconic Ché Café facing $12,000 in debt and threats of foreclosure, Crocodiles are returning to San Diego to rally support for the influential venue and local landmark.“Crocodiles have only played [at] the Ché two or three times, but since we were teenag-ers it was our stomping ground,” Welchez said. “I’ve seen so many of my favorite shows there and played there a million times with old bands. When I read that it was in finan-cial trouble I contacted a friend who volun-teers there and asked if we could organize a benefit. It’s important to me that we do our part because the Ché played such a big part in our own musical history.”