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Issue Date: March 2008 Issue

Music Reviews

Jim Vickers
Jann kloseJann Klose
This German-born singer-songwriter launched his music career here a decade ago (after first being exposed to Cleveland as a 16-year-old exchange student) and has spent the years since the 2003 release of his well-received “Black Box EP” writing and refining these 12 songs. Everything about “Reverie” showcases the current New Yorker’s wide-ranging voice. His lyrics are elementally human, measured and sincere. He’s the sort of musician who can build a song around the lyric “I don’t want to wake up this beautiful dream” without sounding trite. And while the songs are at times colored with accordion, violin or horns, Klose’s wise restraint makes each composition feel wonderfully fragile.

Our Pick: “Beautiful Dream”

Cellar doorCellar Door Records

Volume II
This compilation from Lake County’s Cellar Door Records is a reintroduction of sorts. Out of the trio of guys behind the new independent label, two of them once owned a Madison, Ohio, coffee shop that also served as a performance space for local and regional musicians (see sidebar). This 12-song release —marked “Volume II” in honor of a coffee-shop compilation released during that previous business venture — showcases a six-pack of local acts, ranging from a gritty punk outfit (The Frozen Hellsicles) to an ethereal singer-songwriter (Rachel Bruening). This Is Exploding adds its signature staccato rock sound to the mix, and Keith Vance turns do-it-yourself, low-fi indie rock — infused with everything from jangly banjos to static-drenched electronic blips — into a thing of beauty.

Our Pick: Keith Vance’s “Come on Love”


That Flawless Flashing Day
British pop, The Beatles and ’80s alternative acts such as The Cure and The Smiths are the major musical forces behind Grayscale’s sound. The Cleveland duo of Doug Dunbar and William Weaver build a spider web of guitar lines upon which they weave their very American alternative-pop tales of heartache, lost summer days and the like. The sophisticated yet simple hooks and lush harmonies fuel these 13 tracks (and offset the occasional lyrical lapses). All in all, it adds up to an impressive debut.

Our Pick: “A Summer Washed Away”

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