With Fire When Ready and Jakeway. Sunday, December 28, at the Grog Shop.

War Games and Other Entertainments Dead Horse Gallery, 14900 Detroit Avenue, Lakewood Through mid-January, 216-228-7214
Timing is crucial to musical success. Just ask Jimmy Eat World, who unceremoniously parted ways with Capitol Records at the turn of the century, when the sweet-nothing platitudes of Backstreet Boys made little girls' hearts pound, only to find platinum riches with DreamWorks just a few short years later, once those same tweens had their romantic illusions shattered by pimply teenage boys.

Now is also the time to shine for their poppier counterparts, the members of Cleveland's own Brandtson, who take their name from the Elyria street on which singer-guitarist Myk Porter spent his childhood. While Brandtson debuted on Deep Elm in 1998, with the reissue of its 1997 debut Letterbox and an unreleased tune on the Emo Diaries, Vol. 2 compilation, the mainstream has finally caught up with the melodic mayhem and bright-eyed jangle that the band perfected over the course of three additional full-lengths. In fact, Brandtson's 2003 EP "Death & Taxes" bursts with the waterfalls of harmonies and angst-pop leanings in which bands like Saves the Day and Get Up Kids trade -- like the 2.5-minute pop-punk ode to breaking out of the North Coast, "Ain't No Trip to Cleveland."

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