Mind Fish
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Mind Fish

Toledo, Ohio, United States | SELF

Toledo, Ohio, United States | SELF
Band Alternative Rock

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Athens, Ohio, indie-rock quartet Mind Fish have released WATCHOUT!, a new full-length CD, with the help of producer, engineer and Ohio University Assistant Professor Eddie Ashworth.

The self-described "nerd pop" band got its start when guitartist/singer Dean Tartaglia and drummer Steve Warstler were in high school. During those years, the duo began writing and recording rough demos in their hometown of Toledo, Ohio, and managed to produce enough material for an album, which circulated among friends.

Warstler graduated high school in 2008 and attended Ohio University that fall; Tartaglia followed a year later. According to Tartaglia, Mind Fish was somewhat of a failed experiment in its early days.

"We started playing a couple shows my freshman year and that didn’t go very well," laughed Tartaglia. "We had about seven different members that year, coming and going."

It wasn’t until Tartaglia and Warstler discovered bassist Trent Rissover and guitarist Dan Barbera that the band really took form, resulting in today's lineup.

When Mind Fish first approached Eddie Ashworth to record and produce their newest project, they had only planned for a three song EP. However, as the band and Ashworth began recording, their plans changed.

"It was a three-song EP, then a six-song EP, then a seven-song EP," recalled Rissover. "Then we said ‘Let's just do a 10 song LP!'"

The vast majority of WATCHOUT! was recorded in the MDIA Sound studio in Ohio University's Radio and Television Building. Many of Ashworth’s audio students were able to help set up and engineer the weekend recording sessions that took place between January and August of 2011. In addition, some vocal overdubs and acoustic guitar tracking were recorded at Ashworth’s home studio, The Oxide Shed. The album was also mixed there.

The songwriting on WATCHOUT! was handled solely by Tartaglia, which has always been the case for Mind Fish. However, the arrangements were fleshed out with input from the rest of the band, as well as Ashworth.

The band members agree that Ashworth helped with the album's cohesive sound. For his part, Ashworth is humble about what he brought to the session.

"My approach to making records is, I always take my lead from the artist," he said. "What does the artist want to try to get across? How do I help them to best represent themselves on a record?"

Although WATCHOUT! certainly does have a unified sound, Mind Fish describe the album's feel as almost cartoon-like.

It's an accurate description, with cheerleading squad backing vocals, party soundscapes, incredibly cheesy synth runs and various sound effects sprinkled throughout the album. Tartaglia attributes much of the cartoon-esque sound and self-deprecating attitude of the album to Ashworth’s direction.

"Eddie gets real theatrical real fast, he really pushed me to go in that direction," said Tartaglia. "He pushed me to do things I’d never thought I’d be doing on the album.”

Ashworth not only helped Mind Fish fine-tune the album's sonics of their album, but also advised them on a couple of their arrangements.

"The first six or seven songs on the album I had in mind as a project, but I just couldn’t get a full album out of it," said Tartaglia. "Then we wrote two songs over the summer, sat down with Eddie and said, ‘We should probably put these two songs on the album. Could you help us turn these into full songs?’"

The final track of the 10-song CD is a cover of The Kinks' “Sunny Afternoon," which was "Totally Eddie's idea," according to Rissover. If one had never heard the original song, there is no question that Mind Fish’s cover would pass for their own original material. With a driving rhythm section and an over-the-top vocal performance by Tartaglia, “Sunny Afternoon” closes out the album with an irreverent tone and a fun-for-fun's-sake attitude.

"Mind Fish is a serious band that doesn’t take themselves too seriously," said Ashworth. - WOUB


Ohio University’s own Dean Tartaglia, a senior studying music production and singer-song writer for the rock band Mind Fish, has a bit of an odd-ball inspiration for his band’s forthcoming LP, WatchOut!: his cat.

Dean mentions how he found WatchOut!’s muse in the summer of 2010 with his girlfriend. “They were building stairs to an apartment complex directly over him,” Tartaglia recalls, “so she took him home and we raised him back to health. I was inspired to make our album about him because, after he was healthy, I literally had to 'watch out' for him every time he was around. He reminded me of myself and the energy Mind Fish brings to our live shows.”

Despite Dean’s peculiar influence for Mind Fish’s latest, the band has become a popular act in Athens. Mind Fish’s performance from the 2011 Halloween show on Court Street gathered a crowd of 1,500.

Along with Dean, Trent Rissover (bass), Dan Barbera (guitar), and Steve Walster (drums) also comprise Mind Fish’s line-up. Besides Dean, who is a senior and Saxophone Performance Major and OU’s first Jazz Minor, all the other members are Ohio University grads in Audio Production.

Out of the four members of Mind Fish, Dean seems to have his hand in all aspects of the music world. From song writing to his being a History of Rock 1 and 2 TA, Dean somehow finds time to think about getting Mind Fish out of the Athens bubble and onto bigger things. Not that Tartaglia doesn’t think Athens isn’t a great city. After all, Athens marks Mind Fish’s birth. But Mind Fish allows Dean an opportunity to spread his multi-faceted musical skills.

“I’ve been writing songs since I was 14,” Dean says. “I just never had a good opportunity to play them. So the first thing we did was record the 11 songs I wrote from the ages of 14 to 17.”

However, Mind Fish’s climb to Athens notoriety wasn’t always assured. After a rough freshman year with the band, Dean and the band were ready to call it quits. As it so happens, Dean and Steve decided to give it one more go while on summer break in their hometown of Toledo. That summer generated the band’s first EP, Ooo’ Who. Since then, their sound has blossomed from simple chord progressions and croonings of failed high school relationships to an eclectic, energetic sound.

“It’s like OK Go and They Might Be Giants fronted by David Lee Roth and/or Freddy Mercury,” Dean explains.

Last year, Dean branched out even more and became sax player for The Sights, a band out of Detroit, driving five hours each way to play the gigs. In addition, Dean plays sax for Toledo-based band Gold.

Dean’s omnipotent ability has provided rewards for Mind Fish. Other than vocals and saxophone, Dean plays guitar, keyboard and tambourine. With all that talent—and sound—Mind Fish has appealed across fan divides, winning a dedicated base. The new album is a creative mind field, from ironic lyrics and funky sax to slow jam ballads and beautiful harmonies.

“We take that Midwest ethic and doll it up and make it look sexy,” Dean describes. “I think we really did it”.

Although Dean has made positive strides in his musical career, his path to success hasn’t been easy. In addition to being a full-time student and member in three bands, Dean works two other jobs and splits the rest of his time between his girlfriend, friends and family. For Dean, that means sacrificing the “typical” college experience--the parties, drinking and leisure time--for his dedication to music.

How does he do it? Self-discipline. Multi-tasking. And practice. “I made my dinner when I made my lunch today at noon,” Dean says, describing his typical busy day. It means practicing footwork and stage presence before bed. Perhaps most important, Dean’s success comes from a positive, grounded mentality and an incessant drive to do what makes the heart happy.

“Some times I miss college, man,” Dean says. “I’ve been so serious about this, really, since my sophomore year. I definitely didn’t have the normal college experience”

WatchOut!, is a polished work, benefitting from the help of esteemed record producer and O.U. professor Eddie Ashworth, famous for his resume with bands such as Sublime and Pennywise. Starting last January, the band wrote, rehearsed and began promoting the album. Almost exactly a year after starting work on their WatchOut!, the band’s beginning to market the completed project, starting at The Union and planning to play a dozen gigs across the Midwest.

A busy 2012 awaits Dean and the group, as their upcoming touring and production of music videos ensures little time off. But Dean’s not fazed by the potential calamities that greet dedicated musicians. He even imparts a little advice for all those aspiring to do the same thing.

“Don’t have plans, have goals. You just have to do what you love all the time. You can suck really bad and there’s always more you can do, but once you stop you’re out.”
- Backdrop Magazine


Brimming with confidence, self-assured and highly likeable, Mind Fish are just about the opposite thing one would expect from a self described “geek rock” band. Sure, some of the side banter and pop culture lyrics are a little dorky, but WATCHOUT! reflects a band capable of making the football team and dating the prettiest girl in school. Singer Dean “Chino Mandingo” Tartaglia nails every single vocal take with the moxy of a superstar while the band lays down cleverly arranged and flawlessly performed backing tracks.

Adapting slight character impersonations along the way, WATCHOUT! has two distinct moments of brilliance. Sounding a bit like Jack White meets Pete Seeger; “Detroit Rock n’ Roll” is an old-school rock anthem capable of rocking the roof off the arena. The very next track, “One Day” is Pablo Honey era Radiohead to a T, and if it was actually on that record, it would hold its own with any song. “Better Off Dead” has a soothing lullaby for a verse and a face-melting chorus. The rest is absolute pop bliss.

So, guys, be easy on yourselves. You don’t sound like nerds! But then again, Weezer’s music was never as dorky as they are in person, so who knows? Maybe they are geeks. Most musicians are at heart anyway. - Migrate Music


"Joining the band is Toledo-Athens, Ohio quartet Mind Fish, an appropriately heralded group known for high-energy stage shows, shout-along choruses, and power-pop garage rock that puts them strong in the running as one of the liveliest live acts in town." - toledo.com


"Mind Fish, they do it right... The difference between the bands that promote themselves and [the bands that] don’t is one band plays to 200 people and the other plays to 50.” - Toledo Free Press


The Toledo, Ohio based Mind Fish commands the listener to sing along with melodies that burrow deep into the mind and to refrains the dig deeper. Like the most enjoyable parasitic alien spawn these tunes, a two-track single dubbed Watch Out featuring music that will be included on the outfit’s forthcoming full-length which is being produced byEddie Ashworth (Sublime, Slightly Stupid, Unwritten Law), attach themselves to your very essence and refuse to depart until Katy Perry’s “Last Friday Night” comes on (because nothing is, was, or ever will be, as catchy as that friggin’ song). These guys have been referred to as Alternative-Rock, Nerd-Pop, and I could call them a mix betweenThey Might Be Giants and OK Go but labels are flimsy and don’t quite explain how seductive this music is…enjoy this closing number “Better Off Dead.” - Speak Into My Good Eye


MONASTERIO DE CULTURA: Desde Toledo (Ohio), una banda de Indie alternativo bastante potente y con pegada que puede gustar bastante por estos lares. 2 temas divertidos y con fuerza es lo que os traigo, moreno

"From Toledo (Ohio), an alternative indie band quite powerful and appealing enough to be liked around here. Two fun and appealing tracks are what I bring you all" - Monasterio De Cultura


Con toda la onda de un buen disco de Rock, esta banda de Ohio nos incluye en su sonido y nos hace entrar a una fiesta rara donde las buenas letras se agradecen al igual que la instrumentación. Dale una escuchada al disco.

"Amongst all the waves of good rock albums, this band from Ohio draws us in with their sound and takes us to a party where good lyrics are appreciated along with the instrumentation. Give the disc a listen." - Red Sonica


With a name like Mind Fish, you can figure a band doesn't take itself too seriously. But the Toledo, Ohio-based power-pop outfit has more than a sense of humor; it's got hooks out the wazoo, plus some killer vocals. Fans of '90s alt-rock would do well to check the four-piece out tonight at Thunderbird Café; it'll give you a few reasons to stick around for the whole set. - Pittsburg City Paper


Hailing from Toledo/Athens, Ohio, Mind Fish is one of the area's most eager and exciting rock bands. The high-energy four-piece is known for creating and rocking parties everywhere they go. They recently released their debut LP, Watchout!, to acclaim from fans and foes alike. A mixture of crunchy, hard-rocking guitar riffs, and snappy, head-bobbing pop, Watchout! is a seemingly silly, oddly serious record that recalls everything from early-oughts indie-garage sound to Vampire Weekend, to They Might Be Giants' children's records to '50s bubble gum candy pop. The album is a genuinely unique, weird, exploratory rock record -- lyrically and musically -- but it's abound with moments of catchy melodies and genius psychedelic arrangements. Little of it delves into the sub-par, and when it does, it's still better than most. Watchout! is wide-reaching in scope, sound, and appeal, but smooth, tight, and coherent in presentation -- not to mention features incredibly solid production -- marking Mind Fish as a band with a lot of promise, and some damn good records to come if they can keep up what they've got going. - toledo.com


So, a deviation from my usual postings into something, well, obscurer. Like the introvert who gently acclimatises to a new social situation, on first hearing the lyrics to Pleased To Meet You seemed awkward in their 90s wacky throwback:

And then, as the introvert with alcohol blossoms, so did this song on the second and third listening: the lyrics fit into place, the beat seems lightly perfected and all of a sudden I’m vibing on this ‘crazy cat charisma’. It’s nice to be able to discover music that doesn’t fit into place with my regular assortment of bands, and indeed provides a refreshing break from automatic electro.

After quelling the tempting desire to break out into some sort of kooky-dance, I realised that these guys are….incredibly fun to listen to. Having said that, this track comes from their just-released album WATCHOUT! which you can listen to and buy here. - Can You Hear This


"Mind Fish - It is pretty rare to find a band that is catchy while still having a message behind its lyrics. Mind Fish accomplishes both those things. With vocals that sound a bit like Max Bemis of Say Anything, and a sound you can tell is well-practiced and full of heart, this band is definitely worth checking out. Plus, Mind Fish even gives a shout-out to good old Athens in the song "Ooo Who." "
-the post - The Post


"I found its recorded works - available on the band's MySpace page - so endearingly honest and raw in the most sincere and gentle way. A few days after the first listen, a little piece of a song will drift up in the back of your mind and you'll find yourself humming a wildly catchy hook that you can't quite place. That's when you'll know you've hooked the Mind Fish. Or, at least, that it's hooked you. Formerly of Toledo, now base out of Athens, Ohio, Mind Fish is a fun-loving twosome (a trio live) who knows how to compose simple, yet dynamic songs that cause both rocking good times and heartfelt reflection. Songs like "Monkey See (Monkey Don't Even Know)" call to mind influences from Detroit neighbors The Hard Lessons, while "You Beautiful You" arouses a comparison to a much more innocent and less disastrously conflicted Pinkerton-era Rivers Cuomo. At other times, the better elements of Plain White T's, and Michigan's long-defunct Pinpoint: Logic seep through. "
-Ryan Bunch - Toledo.com Listen Up Toledo


"Measles, Mumps & Rebellion is a rare treat: a concept album that doesn't beat you over the head with the concept. The album is worth checking out for that alone even if you're one of the 20 people in the world who can't relate to the breakup song. "
- Travis Boswell


"The high-energy punk title track immediately kicks the album into high gear while the lyrics set an interesting tone. In this story the love interest is cursed for her betrayal and deceptive ways, but the hero promises to win her back. "Measles, Mumps & Rubella" is the most tension-filled, lyrically venomous song on the album."
Travis Boswell - ACRN - All Campus Radio Network


"The band’s new album is an unwavering display of their work. Measles, Mumps and Rebellion isn’t a 13-track mope fest. Underneath the previously described plot concept, it’s also about sexual discovery, weird thoughts and fetishes."
-Katie Firm
- ACRN - All Campus Radio Network


"With members bringing influences from the Foo Fighters, Say Anything and ‘90s alternative rock, the band has concocted their own head-banging sound with clever and ingenious lyrics, winning over locals and students alike." - ACRN - All Campus Radio Network


Discography

WATCHOUT! - 2012

Singles on the radio:

Reasons - Creadio (McDonalds and many other major retail stores.)

Sunny Afternoon - Athens WOUB

Photos

Bio

Mind Fish, a four-piece indie rock and self-proclaimed "Nerd Pop" band with dynamic, kooked out, catchy pop songs, is coming to your city to get the conversation started. Their first, full length, studio album, WATCHOUT!, a testament to pet cats, Gandhi, Chevy Chase and 90's Nickelodeon, is guaranteed to give your body some kind of immediate adrenaline based response. Listeners will either break out in cathartic dance, or be prompted to ask, "What the hell are they talking about?" (Sometimes both). Their caustic, confetti drenched live performances are built on these same oddball concepts, sweat, and an array of male hip gyrations and gymnastic feats. Think OK GO or They Might Be Giants, fronted by David Lee Roth, or Freddie Mercury.

Hailing from Toledo, Ohio, Mind Fish lived out their teen years at frantic live shows in the mid-2000's. They crafted their sound around the finest indie rock bands the Mid-west had to offer, in a meticulous, almost formulaic manner, then added a dash of their trademark insanity sauce to the musical crock-pot. Having shared the stage early and often with home town heros and rock and roll mainstays, such as We Are The Fury and The Hard Lessons, only prompted the boys in the band to continue working harder, smarter...and in tighter pairs of pants.

Their goal has not changed since day one; get their music to as many people willing to listen to their cheeky little masterpieces as possible, and they've learned to own it at every stage of the game. In their first two years of band-hood, Mind Fish has played over 100 shows. With a grass-roots DIY tour schedule that has expanded to almost half the United States, Mind Fish is winning over the local yokels of each charming little dive bar they play, one Hep-cat at a time. As of recently, their relentless touring schedule is paying off, gaining them the privilege to play on national showcases with the likes of some of the hottest bands of the
“Here and Now” (Fitz and The Tantrums, The Constellations, Walk the Moon).

So go pick up a copy of WATCHOUT! and within seconds you'll realize Mind Fish has their sound down pat; Midwest Indie Riff-Rock with a theatrically hip dialogue, and energy that yearns for the big city...An impossibly delicious balance of relatable, upbeat, confessional pop tunes, set to anthemic, nursery rhyme melodies Hi-Fi Indie Rock at its FUNNEST. And with gigs already booked from Chicago out to New York City for 2012, it's going to become easier and easier to see what one of the Midwest's most unique bands is all about.