In Don DeLillo’s 1985 novel White Noise, Dylar is the name of a drug that is supposed to treat the terror of death, but it comes with dark and twisted side effects. A similar sense of dystopian dread threads its way through the high-energy, fuzzed-out garage rock of Bat Zuppel’s latest record, also named Dylar.
The psych-tinged record blisters, shreds and wails with purpose. It’s the kind of album that’s meant to be blasted through speakers. The music is controlled madness, a slightly unhinged sound that’s constantly on the edge of spilling over, but always managing to keep it together; it’s delightful mania in a careful package.
It’s no surprise that Bat Zuppel is a loud live band. Its performances offer a kind of electricity, which fills the room as the members create a catchy cacophony.
“We definitely like to play loud,” says vocalist and guitarist Zach Bronder. “It’s how we started playing when we started the band. I don’t think we could ever play an acoustic set.”
Bronder, along with guitarist Spencer Geer, bassist Matt Ruppel and drummer Gordy Brash, are sitting around a table at Remedy before their set at the Rock All Night Tour, in Lawrenceville, talking to City Paper.
“We don’t focus on being heavy, we just write songs that sound good loud,” says Brash.
“Our sound has definitely gotten more controlled,” adds Spencer, a statement easily verified when comparing the band’s first EP in 2013 to the current sound of Dylar.
The intensity of the early releases is maintained, but the arrangements have become more intentional. The band now heads into recording sessions well rehearsed and ready to go. Thus, the process of laying down tracks becomes relaxed and enjoyable, creating a spark of excitement that you can hear throughout the album.
“We had so much fun recording [at Mr. Smalls Studios],” says Spencer. “I hope when people listen, they can tell that it was recorded by a bunch of friends having tons of fun.”__