The Dreadful Yawns
After three records, the Dreadful Yawns have lost a little of their folksy-sounding style and replaced it with some grit and fuzz. The Yawns, who have several multi-instrumentalists in the band, still manage to create simple and catchy tunes on Take Shape. On "Queen and the Jokester," a dirty guitar riff drives the song, with organ right in place behind it. On "Kill Me Now," the band shows its ability to tailor a great pop song, with a fun and jangly guitar part that fits singer Elizabeth Kelly's voice like a glove. Despite its catchiness, Take Shape by no means goes down a predictable path. Tracks like "Mood Assassin" combine Kelly's voice with spacey lead guitars and violin. With a cult following across the Midwest, expect the Dreadful Yawns to grab more attention with this record. - Wes Dodd
Didn't know it was possible for someone to manipulate his voice to sound exactly like John Lennon. Well, maybe that's really Alan Madej's real voice. Either way, Quietly is 28-year-old Madej's sixth self-released album. Once you get past the vocals and realize you're not listening to a lost John Lennon record, you can enjoy his well-crafted work. On the happy uptempo track "Madeline," Madej shows how songwriting simplicity can work wonders as he uses an acoustic guitar riff and punchy drums while singing about running away with a girl. On "Make You Smile," he leaves you wanting more when the beautiful, elegant piano melody comes to a halt at the one-minute mark. - Dodd
Alan Madej performs with Skane, Silent Matt and Waimea Bay at 9 p.m. Friday, December 19, at Turnup Records (257 N. Water St., Kent, 330.678.8876). FREE.