Locals: Day Creeper brings raw, visceral live energy to Central States

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Aaron Troyer, singer/guitarist for garage-punk quartet Day Creeper, has a lengthy list of things he attempts to avoid as song topics.

“I try not to write about girls — I’m happily married — and I try not to write about hard times or partying or sad times or happy songs about girls,” said the musician, seated in a Bexley coffee shop for a mid-March interview. “I don’t want to say [the songs are] abstract, but … I try to keep things a little more open-ended.”

So while a handful of tracks on the band’s new album, Central States (Superdreamer/Heel Turn), delve into societal issues — “Luxury Condominiums,” for one, is modeled on the Kinks’ “House in the Country” and paints a portrait of wealthy detachment — the remainder are more fractious, filled with lyrical fragments that suggest frustration, disillusionment, and a desire to suss out some additional sense of meaning from modern life.

“And I found the answer to my questions deep within the earth!” Troyer howls on “Dream Burial,” delivering his words atop an insistent jangle of snarling guitar and propulsive drums.

Fittingly, the album itself was recorded in a subterranean level, laid to 1/2-inch tape in the basement of the north campus home shared by bassist Laura Bernazzoli and drummer Elijah Vasquez (drummer-turned-guitarist Dan Ross rounds out the current lineup), with most of the work taking place in a single day.

This relentless, slapdash feel carries over into high-energy tunes like “Get Off My Wavelength” and “Acid Rain,” a garage-rock shredder nearly as corrosive as its titular showers.

“We all liked how [Day Creeper] sounded as a four-piece (the band has been playing in expanded form since Vasquez joined the fold in early 2014), and we wanted to get it on tape as immediately and as accurately as possible,” said Troyer, who joins his bandmates for a record release show at Ace of Cups on Saturday, March 28. “I think the album really sounds like us live.”

Troyer, 32, launched Day Creeper as a solo project when he was 25, and has spent the ensuing years consistently loosening his grip. Without hesitation, he described Central States as the most band-centric recording to date — a trend likely to continue moving forward.

“The more we play and progress, the more I try to step back even further,” said Troyer, who also moonlights as the drummer in newborn garage-psych collective Terrestrials. “I’ve played in other bands where one person writes the song and has the say, and I’ve always tried to stay away from that kind of experience. It’s not my way or the highway.”

Photo by Maddie McGarvey

Ace of Cups

9:30 p.m. Saturday, March 28

2619 N. High St., Old North


ALSO PLAYING: Sex Tide, Brat Curse, Red Feathers