Checked out The Dreadful Yawns cd release party Saturday night at The Beachland, and The Yawns’ set was, let’s say, a little on the meandering side. As I expected, they played more songs not on the album, than those on Take Shape, the album they had just released, and while some of the new tunes worked well, (If I had track names I’d surely give ’em to you) others didn’t. Look, I’m all for bands being democratic, with each member having input about its direction, and the chance to take the lead on a song or two. Yet, as I alluded to during my cd review last week, this band is at their best when Ben Gmetro and Liz Kelly are sharing lead, and when someone else is singing, be it primary drummer Chris Russo, or second guitarist Eric Schulte, I’m waiting for the next Gmetro/Kelly jam. Saturday night, I spent too much time waiting.

With the Ballroom not booked for the night, fans could wander between the Tavern and the Ballroom, prior to The Dreadful Yawns’ headlining set. Coincidentally, one of the bands playing the Ballroom was a new power pop outfit called Good Touch Bad Touch, featuring the ex-Yawn, Dave Molnar, who has also played with Expecting Rain and Artificial Sweeteners.

Cleveland has a long history of producing top-notch power pop. First there was Eric Carmen and The Raspberries in the Seventies , then you had local legends like The Mice, playing a scrappier, punkier version of it during the Eighties. Lastly, during the early part of this decade, Uptown Sinclair brought Cleveland power pop back to the forefront. They were one of those band’s who almost did break out of Cleveland, and produced one self titled album (That by all rights will go down as a local classic) before lead singer Dave Hill relocated to NYC to pursue acting, comedy, and other things. Is it too early to add Good Touch Bad Touch to this list? Absolutely, but there’s no denying “Catastrophe Headwear” is one top jam.

MP3: Good Touch Bad Touch – Catastrophe Headwear

Good Touch Bad Touch will be playing The Zephyr in Kent on August 27th and The Matinee Cleveland on September 19th.

Good Touch Bad Touch

Big Buidings play what I like to refer to as Jeff Rock. If you know Jeff and are at all familiar with his record collection, then you know what I mean. Now, for those of you who don’t know Jeff, the genre of Jeff Rock is basically straight up Rock ‘N’ Roll with undertones of alt-country, and the balance between country and rock tipped ever so slightly to the rock side. Think pre experimental Wilco and The Replacements, or modern bands like Centro-Matic and Columbus’ Two Cow Garage. Unfortunately for Big Buildings, they had the misfortune of going up against Michael Phelps’ pursuit of an eighth gold medal on the TV in the Tavern on Saturday night. Make no mistake about it, Cleveland is a sports town, and make no mistake about it, Big Buildings played some great, honest, Rock ‘N’ Roll music.

MP3: Big Buildings – Questiontown

Big Buildings