Area indie band Speaking Suns rocks Bob’s

By Matt Clevenger

“Progressive pop-rock.”

“Experimental rock-folk indie.”

“Indie pop rock-and-roll soul.”

Writers have described the Speaking Suns in many different ways, but labeling the Yellow Springs-based group’s unique sound is still difficult, even for its own members.

“It’s hard to describe,” Speaking Suns guitarist/vocalist Jake Diebold says. “I honestly don’t know. We’ve been described as having a Rolling Stones kind of influence, or Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, and like a War on Drugs kind of sound, from what people have said.”

Whatever you call it, it seems to be working. Since forming in 2010, the band has already released three albums, toured and signed with a label. Along the way, they’ve also grown a devoted local following in both the Dayton and Yellow Springs areas.

“We’ve definitely created a really great following,” Diebold says. “We’ve gotten so much support here in Yellow Springs, and also in Dayton too. We play a lot at Blind Bob’s, and not so much anymore, but at Canal Public House when it was Canal Street.”

The group, which opens for Paleface this Saturday, June 11 at Blind Bob’s, has also physically grown since originally forming as a trio.

“We’re getting this bigger, orchestrated sound,” Diebold says. “We used to be a three- piece, and we used to be a lot folkier. But now, it’s a much bigger sound, and we’re going in a more modern direction.”

“This is the first time in five years that we’ve had a consistent lineup,” he adds. “All of us went to Yellow Springs High School, and we all grew up together. We were always playing music, but it just never worked out together until now.”

The band’s current lineup includes Diebold, bassist Dylan Sage, guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Jay Teilhet, keyboardist Sam Salazar and drummer David Byrne. Not to be confused with David Byrne, the famously odd Talking Heads frontman, as Diebold explains.

“Actually, his mom and dad played on Swearing at Motorists’ first album,” he says. “They’re huge musicians, really great people, but I don’t know if that was on purpose, naming him David or not.”

In addition to Dayton and Yellow Springs, the Speaking Suns also play regularly in Columbus and Athens. “Athens is a really awesome town,” Diebold says. “Our old bass player, he’s in another band now. He’s based out of Athens. We have a lot of friends out there, so we play there quite a bit.”

So far, the Speaking Suns have released two EPs and one full-length album, Vanishing Country. “We have two EPs that came out before the album,” Diebold says, “but I don’t think the very first EP is up on the Internet anymore.”

Vanishing Country was originally available on either CD or colored vinyl, but sold so fast the band ran out of copies. “I think we may have a couple CDs left,” Diebold says, “but we completely sold out of vinyl. We have like four copies for ourselves.”

Fortunately, the group just signed with Columbus-based Anyway Records, which is planning to re-release the vinyl edition of Vanishing Country this summer. The band is now working on their second full-length album, which will also be released on Anyway Records.

“We just started working with Anyway Records,” Diebold says. “They’re paying for our second album to be released, and they’re also paying for our first album to be re-released.

“We’re just now recording our second album,” he adds. “We’re going to be done recording in May, and that will be out in August. We’re doing most of it ourselves. We have access to the Wright State studio, because I’m a student there. We also have access to studios at OU in Athens, because we have friends there. I think we’re mostly just going to try and do it ourselves, then have somebody master it.”

Diebold says that in addition to releasing their new album, the group also plans on touring extensively this summer.

“We have several other dates coming up,” he says. “Most of them are Yellow Springs, Dayton and Athens, I think there’s one Columbus show. We’re booking at the moment, so we’re going to have a lot more. We’re looking to get out there. We kind of took a break from touring. We went on a big tour two summers ago, and we had like a whole lineup change. But this summer we’re going to start going on sort of like a never-ending tour. We’re going to try and just get out of state as much as possible, and really just play as much as possible from now on.”

Saturday’s show at Blind Bob’s will kick things off, although sharing the stage with nationally known acts like Paleface is not a new experience for the Speaking Suns.

“Paleface is great,” Diebold says. “He’s awesome. Sam, who plays keys, he used to play in a band called Wheels, and they actually supported Paleface for a good bit of his tour a couple years ago. Ever since, we’ve kind of been in cahoots. We’ve chatted with him and he’s coming through, so he reached out to us.”

The Speaking Suns will perform on Saturday, June 11 at Blind Bob’s, 430 E. Fifth Street. Paleface is also on the bill. For more information, please visit facebook.com/speakingsuns or speakingsuns.bandcamp.com.

Reach DCP freelance writer Matt Clevenger at MattClevenger@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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