The Dreadful Yawns

The Dreadful Yawns


rust belt art rock, disguised as psychedelic folk rock, without pretense.


From its first lustrous, tinkling notes to its final moments of subdued majesty, Early, the first official full-length by The Dreadful Yawns, makes an ideal soundtrack to the winters that envelop the Yawns' hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. Here, the comfortable chill of September is soon replaced by the ache-inducing bite of winds that rage past December, well into March. To the north, Lake Erie lies entombed in glacial ice; to the south beyond the city, Ohio forests stoop under heavy frost. The only things that still thrive during this time are the factories and the freeways, droning their chants to industry as they have for decades upon decades. But not all is lost; just as Cleveland slowly thaws back into the spring and summer, so is Early's slumberous psychedelia lightened by vibrant touches of folk-rock and classic pop. Early is a miniature ode to transformation and triumph, a fitting parallel to a small group of friends who've weathered many of their own changes in producing this fine piece of work.

In 1998, singer/guitarist/songwriter Ben Gmetro and his like-minded friends had a notion to soak up ramshackle indie rock, shoegazery brit-pop, and classic rock. Living in the suburbs of Cleveland, it's impossible not to have heard Neil Young, Pink Floyd, Creedence Clearwater Revival, the Beatles, the Stones and countless others pouring out of the radio night and day. Like so many other kids, the soon-to-be Yawns also paid heed to the dwindling "alternative music" phenomenon of the late 90's. But their love for radio standards led to further listening. Soon Ben and company passed on the tastes of the day and turned themselves on to the Byrds, Fairport Convention, Nick Drake and many others. The upshot of this was that Ben's notion started to take form: he conceived the Dreadful Yawns as a reflection of his own taste. The downside was that Cleveland wasn't quite ready for his brand of pop; the club scene was still filled with remnants of post-hardcore bands and the then-thriving underground DIY punk scene. Heaviness and dissonance were the words on the street.

In the ensuing years, Cleveland's musical geography changed. Perhaps seeking respite from the aggressive and confrontational sounds of years past, listeners began to take notice of the Dreadful Yawns. The Yawns, for their part, also experienced changes of their own. Ben, guitarist/singer Dave Molnar, and drummer Charlie Druesedow saw two singers, a bass player, two pianists and a percussionist come and go from their delicate line-up. In early 2002, in the midst of this rotation, the Yawns finished the tracks that comprise their debut album, Early. Bass player Mike Allan was added in late summer, further expanding the band's rich acoustic sound. With this solid lineup finally in place, the Yawns have gigged more frequently, put together an EP called Pretend, and the Undertow Records release Early. Since the release of Early in November 2002 the Yawns have added Expecting Rain singer/guitarist Nick Tolar and are currently finishing up the second full length, due to be released on the legendary Bomp! Record label in Spring of 2005.

- Ed Sotelo


Pretend E.P. (Van Gogh Round/Davenport)
Early L.P. (Undertow Records)
Dreadful Yawns (Bomp! Records)
Rest (Exit Stencil Recordings)
Take Shape (Exit Stencil Recordings

Set List

set list can be varied as needed. 30 mins- 3 hours.