What’s all the fuzz about?

Toledo’s Silent Lions visit Blind Bob’s

 By Zach Rogers
photo credit:Sara Daneils; Toledo’s Silent Lions: [l to r] Dean Tartaglia and Matt Klein

Toledo is a city that, for whatever reason, doesn’t appear on a lot of people’s musical radars. Silent Lions, who are proudly from the aforementioned city, are out to change that and with their “Bass In Yo Face” winter tour currently on its way to Blind Bob’s, the band is set to get the ball rolling for their hometown.

“I think 2013 is going to be a good year for the Toledo music scene,” said Matt Klein, drummer for Silent Lions. “As small as it might be, there are a lot of different kinds of music going on in the city. It’s so diverse and a really interesting scene to be a part of.”

Silent Lions was formed from the remains of previous musical projects that both Klein and bassist Dean Tartaglia have been involved with over the years, something I’m sure musicians in Dayton can relate to. As Tartaglia explained, “I had been playing in a band called Mind Fish for years, and I think after a while as a musician you start listening to different music and finding different kinds of influences to pull from, and I found that some of that stuff didn’t really fit into the music I was making at the time. I was writing these new songs and I wanted to work with different people, and Matt’s name came up as someone I should try and work with, and I guess the rest is history.”

Despite not knowing each other beforehand, both Tartaglia and Klein had been key figures in the Toledo music scene for a while, and when the time came to finally meet the two instantly felt a musical connection. The only problem was that they couldn’t find anyone else who shared their unique musical vision, so they stuck with a two-piece lineup that eventually took on a mind of its own.

“It definitely wasn’t anything we planned on doing,” said Tartaglia. “I mean, when I originally wrote these songs I envisioned a three-piece or four-piece lineup playing them, but at the end of the day we both saw the music a certain way and knew where we wanted to take it, so we kept it at two and it worked out in our favor.”

Indeed, things did work out in their favor, because even while they might be lacking in members, Silent Lions make up for it by creating a solid, heavy and distinct sound, one that’s fully rounded in all the right places. The band uses a variety of different effects, pedals and echoes to achieve this sound, and the result is a sonic assault on the senses. Their debut effort, The Parliaments, was released in December, and while it contains only four songs, the band sees it as more of an album than an EP. “When all four songs are put together, I think they make a solid, complete statement about who we are as a band, which is hard to do,” said Tartaglia.

The album was recorded up in Detroit with Zach Shipps, member of the band Electric Six, and Tartaglia wasn’t shy about revealing the pivotal role Shipps played in those recordings. “He was hugely helpful and influential during those recordings. He laid down some of the synth parts that pop up throughout The Parliaments, and he also just helped us find our sound in the studio. He definitely went above and beyond the role of a ‘producer’ for us, and we couldn’t have done it without him.”

On The Parliaments, fans get a heavy dose of the band’s fuzzed-out brand of rock n’ roll, complete with distorted bass lines and cymbals crashing all over the place. There’s also a lot of rhythm, and the songs are undeniably catchy at times. The album starts with the song “Never Gonna See You Again,” and right away Tartaglia’s hollowed-out vocals dominate the recording. The drums create a unique backbeat, and honestly, the song is quite tame when compared to some of the others. “Terrible Days” is next, and it starts off like a futuristic version of Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man” before finding a path of its own. It’s slow and sluggish and oh so sweet, and the drums are a key factor in creating the song’s overbearing groove. It’s clear throughout The Parliaments that Silent Lions have no trouble filling up space in their songs with only two members. The results are heavy, and for Silent Lions this is only the beginning.

“We definitely want to keep writing new songs, but touring is also a big aspect we’re trying to focus on right now,” said Tartaglia. “We’re looking forward to playing as many shows as possible in coming months.”

“Silent Lions is an exciting thing for us,” concluded Klein. “It gave us both the chance to try something new and luckily it all worked out. Hopefully, now people can see how serious we are about it and how far we want to take the project in the future. The sky’s the limit for us right now.”

Silent Lions will perform on Thursday, Jan. 31 at Blind Bob’s, 430 E. Fifth St., Also on the bill are Night Beast and Vanity Theft. Admission is $5 for 21 & up. Doors at 9 p.m. For more information, visit www.silentlions.bandcamp.com.

Reach DCP writer Zach Rogers at ZachRogers@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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