Ted Leo & The Pharmacists

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Someday you'll all know this name, if you don't already.

Andy, Thursday, 6 December 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Hey, doesn't he have a new album on Lookout? ;-)

Clarke B., Thursday, 6 December 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

That he does... this might appear as shameless promotion, but it's more than that... it's just one of those records we're all just really GLAD to have put out, no matter how it does sales-wise. Fortunately, it seems to be appearing on a lot of people's end-of-years lists, I just wondered if anybody here was a fan.

Andy, Thursday, 6 December 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

"John the Divine" is one of my favorite songs of the year. But I still wouldn't start a topic about a band on my label...

Douglas, Thursday, 6 December 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Liked Chisel, thought the Pharmacists were boring as all hell when I saw them this week. I think it might have just been a bad night, though--the Dismemberment Plan SUCKED, and that's just weird.

adam, Thursday, 6 December 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Geez, Andy, you sent me a CD because I shouted out "TED LEO!" on this very board a couple months ago, and you don't remember? I feel so used...

David Raposa, Thursday, 6 December 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

D-plan sucked? tell me why! everytime ive seen them, its been nothing but tightness. People say that Joe's drumming has been sloppy live, but i heartly disagree. The bass is what seriously pulls it all together live. as far as ted leo goes, i haven't seen him in action with the pharmacists. new album is fregginn fantastic. chisel. chisel destroyed it live. caught them at one of their last shows in D.C. and was completely floored. pop classics. anyone else seen ted/pharmacists play?

Brock K., Friday, 7 December 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I saw them a few months ago opening for another band, and I've never really been a big fan, but I was surprised at how boring he was. Half of it was him by himself either playing Chisel songs like the other guys were still back there or playing these love songs with half- assed hooks and embarrassing lyrics, and the other half was him doing exactly the same thing with two bored-looking guys playing with him. He might've pulled the second part off if the playing looked/felt even a little inspired.

"Someday you'll all know this name, if you don't already."

Given what happened with Lookout and Green Day, that sentence sounds almost ominous to me. At least you weren't writing about Bis.

charlie va, Friday, 7 December 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

I saw them open for the Plan with Diastemata and they were pretty good. The band was really tight and seemed to really be enjoying themselves, and from what I could make out from only hearing the songs that once, they had some nice songs and good ideas in the ones that I didn't like as much.

Josh, Friday, 7 December 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

Even if andy is doing some shameless promotion here (he should have had the decency to admit that in the first place...) Ted Leo is indeed a genius! the tyranny of distance, like I said a couple of times earlier this year, will definitely land in my Top 10... Chisel, his former band, are terrific too, I got "set you free" the other day from a friend (because it's out-of-print if I'm not mistaken, or at least very difficult to retrieve) and have been playing it non-stop ever since then. By the way: Andy, even if i don't know if you should be trusted :-), is there anything like Ted leo (and I mean, relly LIKE it) on Lookout?

oh, someday you'll also know another name: "the dirtbombs"

Simone, Friday, 7 December 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

haven't heard the record yet, but I plan to because I have this one solo track he did called "You Always Hate The One You Love" which is just STAGGERING, from a comp. from last year called Tea At the Palaz of Hoon. find it if you can, dunno if that track's appeared anywhere else.

and yeah, the DPlan are pretty much routinely great, but I can easily imagine them having a bad night, and have seen a couple subpa

al, Sunday, 9 December 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

He's shite now. He should never have left Chisel.

Jane Fairfax, Monday, 10 December 2001 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

three months pass...
Ted Leo is bloody brilliant! Pharmacists are bloody brilliant! Best band I've seen in many moons. This music will live forever

juice, Monday, 18 March 2002 01:00 (sixteen years ago) Permalink

one year passes...
Since Alex in NYC made similar points on the denigrating epithets thread on ILE, I thought I might revive, seeing as how Ted Leo is totally awesome live and on record.

Millar (Millar), Monday, 2 June 2003 22:04 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

third favorite album of the year

jess (dubplatestyle), Monday, 2 June 2003 22:58 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I've finally heard a bit and I like it. I'll be buying it soon.

Anthony Miccio (Anthony Miccio), Monday, 2 June 2003 23:01 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I agree with jess. solid at #3.

Neudonym, Monday, 2 June 2003 23:23 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

for a while it was holding at #1 but its one of those albums that you just know can't stay there by the end of a year...it's "solid"

jess (dubplatestyle), Monday, 2 June 2003 23:24 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Yeah, Hearts Of Oak doesn't really have the brilliant standout like "Dial Up" on Tyranny... Still my fave so far (also I pay almost no attention to new music)

Millar (Millar), Monday, 2 June 2003 23:36 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I guess I don't "get" it? I only heard a couple songs, but he didn't really do anything for me. i've heard that Ted leo live is not to be dismissed though, I should've seen him when he was here...

Mostly what I remember, actually, is a line about "...the storm in a teacup/and you must drink it dowwwn" YES, DRINK IT, DRINK THAT FUCKER DOWN

Adrian Langston (Adrian Langston), Monday, 2 June 2003 23:39 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

I love Thin Lizzy and the Clash and the Specials, so of course I love Hearts of Oak. If I wasn't so in love with Mexican cumbiamuffin rock and oompah-glam (El Gran Silencio and Martin Gordon, respectively), Ted Leo would be ruling. His songs are smart and elliptical, and they rock. This might still rise up top for me. It's #1 in my car.

Neudonym, Monday, 2 June 2003 23:50 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

Hearts Of Oak is good, but for me it doesn't really hold up in comparison to The Tyranny of Distance (although both drag in the 2nd half). the songs are nearly all great but the performances just sound too weak and sloppy after hearing them live a few times. although i guess that's a given. and i agree with Millar, "Dial Up" is the shit.

Al (sitcom), Tuesday, 3 June 2003 04:36 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

saw him the other night. show was good. songs can be excellent. but his freaky-dancung fans sacre the crap out of me.

bucky wunderlick (bucky), Tuesday, 3 June 2003 14:53 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

(there was a time, many years ago, before work put me on this mac, when i could type. really.)

bucky wunderlick (bucky), Tuesday, 3 June 2003 14:54 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

damn, he's over his voice problems and playing shows again already? now I'm kind of pissed that he cancelled his opening slot at the Fort Reno benefit w/ the Plan last week...

Al (sitcom), Tuesday, 3 June 2003 15:01 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...
Jesus christ, will someone explain to me why there is soooooo little Ted Leo chat on ILM (on threads specifically about Ted Leo at least?)? "Ballad Of A Sin Eater" is my offical stumble around town really late at night/early in mornin' anthem. MAKE NO MISTAKE THEY HATE YA!!!!

Anthony Miccio (Anthony Miccio), Saturday, 28 June 2003 08:19 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

'Under The Hedge' was my fave from Tyranny.

Tim Stewart (Tim Stewart), Saturday, 28 June 2003 12:43 (fifteen years ago) Permalink

one year passes...
Courtesy of Kelefa's article in the NYT about reality pop stars, I found this link to a site that has Ted doing a Since U Been Gone/Maps medley. Its not great, but fun to listen to. Follow the links.


Dude, are you a 15 year old asian chick? (jingleberries), Friday, 18 March 2005 20:47 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

hahaha, that's great.

(this might be a more direct link, too: http://video.ugo.com/ugoplayers/players.aspx?articleID=14006# )

poortheatre (poortheatre), Friday, 18 March 2005 20:59 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Ted Leo is amazing. Consistently great records- I've never understood why he doesn't get more praise. I think Shake the Sheets is his best yet. 'Little Dawn' and 'Bleeding Powers' are absolutely fantastic. Also, he and the Pharmacists put on a great live show, so go see 'em while you still can- he alluded to retiring in an article I read recently.

cdwill, Friday, 18 March 2005 21:06 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

hmm cdwill can you elaborate on that last bit? link the article maybe? are you saying he's thinking of retiring the Pharmacists band/name, or entirely?

Al (sitcom), Friday, 18 March 2005 21:08 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

unless you're referring to the first post on his website about the Kelly Clarkson song that ended with the remark I see early retirement staring back at me from the reflection in the pickups on my guitar. :(, which I think wasn't entirely serious.

Al (sitcom), Friday, 18 March 2005 21:16 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Entirely, it seems.

Here's the link, from Largeheartedboy: https://registration.contracostatimes.com/reg/login.do?url=http://ae.contracostatimes.com%2Fentertainment%2Fui%2Fcctimes%2Fmusic.html%3Fid%3D99270%26reviewId%3D11919%261c

If this doesn't appear as a link, it's because I don't know what I'm doing.

Also, I think you may need to register for the newspaper's site to view this...

cdwill, Friday, 18 March 2005 21:17 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I'm interested in Ted Leo because of all the year-end lists, but I'm not sure I even know what kind of music he plays.

Jordan (Jordan), Friday, 18 March 2005 21:18 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

he plays punky power pop with smarty pants lyrics

Al (sitcom), Friday, 18 March 2005 21:22 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Go to lookoutrecords.com/sounds to hear 'Me and Mia', his new single.

I won't try to describe or compare the band's sound- too many professional critics 'round these parts that'd laugh at me...

cdwill, Friday, 18 March 2005 21:24 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I'll go ahead and cut-and-paste the article. there's a lot of pointless evoking of the cold major label world on the part of the writer, but otherwise it sheds some light on Ted's current situation and future:

Leo's pop-punk sound garners new attention

Tony Hicks
Contra Costa Times
Published: Thursday, February 17, 2005

Say it ain't dead, Ted.

After years, the gravy train is finally coming around to punk-pop singer/songwriter Ted Leo. He's getting more ink in national magazines, more face time on television, and bigger audiences and bigger paychecks.

Yet how long he rides it all is anyone's guess. Even his.

"Last week I had a (expletive) week," he says by phone from his Rhode Island home. "I was ready to hang it up. But I got re-energized this week. We were on 'Conan' and played Webster Hall in New York. I have a writing jones now, and I'm trying to push it. But beyond the fall, I don't know. I'm in the process of re-evaluating."
•  Listen to a sample of Ted Leo's "Shake the Sheets" (RealAudio)  
•  Noise Pop '05 schedule  
•  Ask Times music writer Tony Hicks a question  
•  Search our concert database  

Leo, who's headlining Tuesday's opening night of San Francisco's annual Noise Pop music festival, is finally breaking through, with bigger crowds and national headlines. Going back to his early days in the New York and Washington, D.C., punk scenes, with bands such as Chisel, he's evolved into one of the poster boys for indie-rock success in a stifling big-label music world.

This isn't a case of a frustrated musician who couldn't get noticed by a major label if he set himself on fire in a hotel lobby. Leo is a masterful power-pop-punk songwriter, blending intelligent lyrics with irresistible hooks, a la salad-days Elvis Costello. Big labels notice these people, even as countless mergers prioritize profit over art.

Leo's also newly married and wanting to start a family, something that doesn't work well with the constant touring necessary for an indie act's survival.

"My wife and I are both going to be 35 this year," Leo says. "If we're going to have a family, the window is closing. Things are amazing right now, and I can justify keeping things going. But there's just so many bands out there. And since I've decided not to go the route of a bigger label and radio hits and all that, (quitting) is something I'm going to have to face."

For now, Leo and his band, the Pharmacists, are still one of the anchors of successful Berkeley indie label Lookout Records. They're more visible than ever, and last year's "Shake the Sheets" was a mainstay on critics' year-end "best of" lists.

So why is the mainstream just starting to catch on to Ted Leo?

Very simply, big record labels don't mesh with the 34-year-old's core musical values. He had an offer a few years ago to sign with a major, which even offered not to change his sound or ratchet up unrealistic sales expectations. Leo laughs at the memory, saying he's sure the label rep had the best intentions, but ultimately would have been overruled.

"At some point, the bottom line comes into play, and I don't trust it," he says.

It's not that the music isn't accessible -- "Shake the Sheets" contains some of the most catchy guitar-driven pop songs released in recent memory. But Leo knows his image isn't exactly geared for MTV. Even after more than 15 years of toiling in various underground scenes, he still finds pureness in punk.

"I consider us punk rock," he says. "I have the luxury to say that because there is so much crossover nowadays. But it is important to identify with that. I don't really like to be called indie rock (despite headlining and garnering three nominations at the most recent Plug Awards, sort of the Grammys for indie acts), because to me, it doesn't mean anything.

A relentless live performer who spends as much as eight months a year on the road, Leo has watched his audience change the past year. Not only has it grown, but it holds a wider range of faces, drawn by the last record and Leo's energetic live reputation.

"It's a bizarre situation. The crowds are getting bigger and we're playing rooms the size of which I never thought we'd play," he says. "We've managed to retain a special aura. You know, it's special to discover a band in a club. At this point, I wouldn't trade that. I don't know what I would have said five years ago."

With the increased crossover that goes on between pop-music categories these days, and with more bands relying on live shows (rather than records) to pay their bills, means the age lines aren't as firm. Leo's fans are getting both younger and older. "The other day I was talking to this college girl (after a show) and, at the same time, this older lady comes up to me who's old enough to be my mother," he says. "It happens a lot, and it's really cool.

"In my wildest, hopeful dreams, it means that I've managed to keep these elements in my music that would appeal to these ends of the spectrum. I consider what we do punk rock, but in a classic sense. Not teenager, locker-gossip stuff."

Yeah ... well, then, why was MTV's daily screaming-youth request show "TRL" using one of his songs, "Where Have All the Rude Boys Gone?" as background music a couple of months ago?

"Yeah, I heard about that," Leo says. "I got an e-mail from someone telling me, and I said "Yeah, well, why are you watching 'TRL'?"

Maybe he shouldn't retire, what with all these kids "discovering" this new band, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists. "That's one of those things," he says. "I'm not sure which is preferable, being an elder statesman who never broke through, or the new guy."

He's a guy that's been touring most of his adult life. He laughs at the question: Just what can Ted Leo do, other than play music?

"I want to go back to school, get a higher degree, and maybe teach," he says. "In some ways it's kind of similar. You're standing in a room full of people listening to you. I try to keep my brain active."

"I've had a pretty good run. I say this with some melancholy, but not dejection. Because I don't think I'd ever stop playing music."

He stops just briefly enough for some quick backtracking.

"I could go back to playing half-filled clubs later ..."

Tony Hicks is the Times pop music critic. Reach him at 925-952-2678 or thicks@cctimes.com.

Al (sitcom), Friday, 18 March 2005 21:24 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

christ that was long wasn't it? sorry...

Al (sitcom), Friday, 18 March 2005 21:26 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

In more uplifting news, there's a new EP out, and it's got the cover of 'Suspect Device' on it, which I love.

cdwill, Friday, 18 March 2005 21:29 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I heart "Where Have all the Rude Boys Gone," (but I love thin lizzy, so...) can you fans and such do a ranking of his albums? You know [x] > [y] > [z]

deej., Friday, 18 March 2005 21:33 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Tyranny Of Distance > Shake The Sheets > Hearts Of Oak (>Treble In Trouble EP > Chisel's Set You Free > Chisel's 8AM All Day)

I think Hearts Of Oak is generally rated a lot higher by people besides me, though.

Al (sitcom), Friday, 18 March 2005 21:36 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

As far as his work with the Pharmacists goes, I'd say:

Shake the Sheets > Hearts of Oak > Tyranny of Distance > Treble in Trouble > Tell Balgeary, Balgury is Dead EP

The new EP is called Sharkbite Sessions, and I haven't heard it yet. There are also a few early 7" I haven't heard.

Many people will disagree with my ranking, though.

cdwill, Friday, 18 March 2005 21:38 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Hearts Of Oak > Shake The Sheets >> Tyranny Of Distance >> all the rest

miccio (miccio), Friday, 18 March 2005 21:39 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I feel like I should give Tyranny more of a chance though. I'm hardcore HOO.

miccio (miccio), Friday, 18 March 2005 21:39 (thirteen years ago) Permalink


Shit, that new EP is 'iTunes only'.

cdwill, Friday, 18 March 2005 21:40 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

deej, I think if you like TL/Rx's sound, bottom line is everything he does is pretty solid and worth looking into.

cdwill, Friday, 18 March 2005 21:42 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

personally i'm a
hearts of oak > tyranny of distance > shake the sheets
kinda guy myself. cdwill's otm about it all being solid though

mat, Friday, 18 March 2005 21:47 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

xlnt, will keep an eye out.

deej., Friday, 18 March 2005 21:48 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Shake the Sheets is quality on the whole, but it really makes you appreciate all the great keyboard flourishes and extra bells and whistles you got with the 4th member band on Hearts of Oak.

Dude, are you a 15 year old asian chick? (jingleberries), Friday, 18 March 2005 21:48 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

five months pass...
I'm interested in Ted Leo because of all the year-end lists, but I'm not sure I even know what kind of music he plays.
-- Jordan (jordan...), March 18th, 2005.

I really like Shake the Sheets! It's the first rock album that I'm really into this year.

Jordan (Jordan), Friday, 9 September 2005 12:44 (twelve years ago) Permalink

four years pass...


The Brutalist Bricks is the sixth album by the Washington, D.C. rock band Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, to be released March 9, 2010 by Matador Records. All songs written by Ted Leo.

1. The Mighty Sparrow
2. Mourning in America
3. Ativan Eyes
4. Even Heroes Have to Die
5. The Stick
6. Bottled in Cork
7. Woke Up Near Chelsea
8. One Polaroid a Day
9. Where Was My Brain?
10. Bartolomeo and the Buzzing of Bees
11. Tuberculoids Arrive in Hop
12. Gimme the Wire
13. Last Days

Bee OK, Saturday, 13 February 2010 04:47 (eight years ago) Permalink

If it's better than the last one, it's gonna be good.

2010 is already better than the last 2 years put together. But I mgiht be only saying that because I'm drunk.

Hardcore Homecare (staggerlee), Saturday, 13 February 2010 05:13 (eight years ago) Permalink

love everything this guy does, but the songs he'd been playing live over the last year or two didn't seem particularly exciting. Whiney's super positive tweet review has me getting a little more amped to hear it, though.

the cold bieber open (some dude), Saturday, 13 February 2010 05:25 (eight years ago) Permalink

not crazy about this one. best trax are "bottled in cork," and, errr....

Simon H., Saturday, 13 February 2010 06:43 (eight years ago) Permalink

this is definitely good! really only "the stick" and the acoustic one don't land after several listens. band is in top form. ted gets a little classic rocky on some tracks but whatever. "where was my brain" would have been one of the best tracks on that last thermals record.

ramadaan muhammad asalaamica rasoul allah supana watallah (jk), Tuesday, 16 February 2010 04:54 (eight years ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

Full album is streaming at the band's myspace page: http://www.myspace.com/tedleo

He's going to be playing in Cleveland next week and I have to miss it because I'm having hernia surgery. >:-(

El Poopo Loco (Pancakes Hackman), Friday, 5 March 2010 16:25 (eight years ago) Permalink

I have a couple of Ted Leo's records on my iPod and I find myself really enjoying most everything I hear come on. His voice is very distinct.

citizenpuppet, Sunday, 7 March 2010 02:11 (eight years ago) Permalink

2010 is already better than the last 2 years put together. But I mgiht be only saying that because I'm drunk.

u r drunk.

Daniel, Esq., Sunday, 7 March 2010 02:35 (eight years ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

I really don't think of myself as the sort of person who likes Ted Leo, but yeah this new album is pretty wonderful. Lots of it reminds me Squeeze, one song reminds me of Styx. Both good things.

dlp9001, Monday, 22 March 2010 23:49 (eight years ago) Permalink

Yeah, the new one is absolutely fantastic. Right now I'd rank it third behind Hearts of Oak and Tyranny of Distance, but the more I play it the more I think it will sneak up to second place. Surprised at the "meh" reviews on Pitchfork, Popmatters, and a couple other places. I feel like this is a big improvement over the too long and frustratingly inconsistent Living. Plus I absolutely love the line about modern architecture from which the title comes.

he's always been a bit of an anti-climb Max (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Tuesday, 23 March 2010 00:02 (eight years ago) Permalink

most of the reviews have been a lot less "meh" for this one than they were for the last 2, which I liked a lot more. still struggling to get into this one, can't see any way this isn't by far his weakest album to date (even with a lot of crap and padding Living still had a few of his best songs). what are the best songs on The Brutalist Bricks for you guys?

really loving their cover of "Everybody Wants To Rule The World" right now: http://www.avclub.com/articles/tears-for-fears,38869/

iggy figgy pudding pop (some dude), Tuesday, 23 March 2010 06:44 (eight years ago) Permalink

"Bottled in Cork," for one.

Jouster, Tuesday, 23 March 2010 08:16 (eight years ago) Permalink

This new album is just brilliant. Maybe his best since Hearts of Oak?

Kitchen Person, Saturday, 27 March 2010 20:39 (eight years ago) Permalink

three months pass...


When I interviewed Ted Leo before the release of The Brutalist Bricks earlier this year, he seemed a bit apprehensive — yet guardedly optimistic — about his future in music. Yes, the thought of retiring from life as a full-time musician was looming, but it wasn’t imminent. However, that seems to have changed in the intervening months.

In a recent interview with Joseph Lord of Louisville’s Velocity (the story is only in print at this point), Leo seems to have pretty much decided that 2010 will be his last of making music as a full-time livelihood. He just doesn’t see it as a sustainable model for himself and the Pharmacists — and drooping record sales (which was also a theme of my chat) is the driving factor in the decision. Per Leo:

People don’t think record sales matter to musicians. If you’re selling less than 10,000 records, it probably doesn’t matter. And if you’re selling more than 100,000 records, it probably doesn’t matter. But if you’re selling somewhere in the middle, it can make a huge difference.

It’s a losing proposition for us at this point. It’s something we can’t keep doing. It’s a simple, unfortunate fact. In our particular case, it is totally tied to a downturn in record sales.

And while his talk seemed to hint at part-time rock and roll antics in 2011 and beyond, other statements were worrisome.

I’m going to be totally honest with you. By next year, there’s no way I’m going to be able to be on tour like I have been these last few years. There’s no way I’m going to be able to keep writing and recording and playing music.

Boo Radley (Bee OK), Thursday, 8 July 2010 04:18 (eight years ago) Permalink


the fuck is 'buzzgrinder'?

Penius / JZA (DJ Mencap), Thursday, 8 July 2010 08:34 (eight years ago) Permalink

five months pass...

Even Heroes Have To Die is a fucking perfect summer jam

Tim. E "LazRus" Lucas (Prose b4 Hoes...and Big Hoos), Friday, 7 January 2011 03:33 (seven years ago) Permalink

I heard one of this dude's albums after a lot of recommendations. Unfortunately, I thought it was


/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\||||||( *__* )||||||/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\ (res), Friday, 7 January 2011 03:41 (seven years ago) Permalink

which album? they're not all created equal imo

Johnny Cheever (some dude), Friday, 7 January 2011 03:48 (seven years ago) Permalink

KInda helps if you dig chunky power pop chord progressions and not a great deal of variety. He's not innovative or hugely unique, but still very, very far from being a dud. The brutalist bricks is the only one I've heard and it's pretty solid.

Tim. E "LazRus" Lucas (Prose b4 Hoes...and Big Hoos), Friday, 7 January 2011 03:51 (seven years ago) Permalink

Hearts of Oak, I think. xp

/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\||||||( *__* )||||||/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\ (res), Friday, 7 January 2011 03:53 (seven years ago) Permalink

a lot of people liked 'hearts' but it took me forever to warm up to. i think 'tyranny' is the best and 'shake the sheets' excellent if a little too rigid. i don't know about 'bricks', he's starting to seem burnt-out. (on the one before that, too.)

j., Friday, 7 January 2011 03:55 (seven years ago) Permalink

yeah Hearts is kind of his breakthrough/most popular but imo it's one of his weakest.

some dude, Saturday, 8 January 2011 18:02 (seven years ago) Permalink

three years pass...

I was just wondering what this dude's been up to. kinda worried his 'moment' (Bush II) might have passed; Bricks was solid, but Living remains such a sweeping, exhaustive catharsis that I wouldn't have blamed dude for calling it quits afterwards

(I also challops for Living as the best record -- it's got maybe 5 or 6 minutes of filler? in an hour+ of whip-smart socially conscious rock -- way more listenable than any Clash record in 2k14)

Many American citizens are literally paralyzed by (bernard snowy), Tuesday, 18 March 2014 22:03 (four years ago) Permalink

like, if you don't think that "CIA" & "The Toro and the Toreador" & "La Costa Brava" & "Colleen" are all, in their own way, career highlights, I don't even know what to say, except that you obviously never *needed* this music in the same desperate, trying-to-surface-for-an-instant-between-waves way that I did

Many American citizens are literally paralyzed by (bernard snowy), Tuesday, 18 March 2014 22:09 (four years ago) Permalink

i did cane 'costa brava' but i think the generally frayed and exhausted sound of the record made jess's review hit a little too close to the mark at the time for me


course when i look back at mah private files and find that i couldn't scrape together 10 albums worth of records to make a year-end list for in 2007 or 2008, or just didn't have the enthusiasm, maybe it's just that i couldn't find enough to give me what i needed

j., Tuesday, 18 March 2014 22:27 (four years ago) Permalink

whip-smart socially conscious rock

might not have been the right choice of words; what I meant was that Leo's political analyses, here as elsewhere, are lucid and intelligent. but the album as a whole is (uncharacteristically?) short on bile & denunciations, long on reflection & soul-searching. it feels like a retreat, but a successful one. the closest canonical Reagan-era parallel I can think of right now is Zen Arcade, but that's not right, because this is a much older person's record.

Many American citizens are literally paralyzed by (bernard snowy), Tuesday, 18 March 2014 22:32 (four years ago) Permalink

'bomb repeat' rubbed me the wrong way, i guess by then i lacked the patience i used to have for the disagreements and flaws one has with albums

j., Tuesday, 18 March 2014 22:34 (four years ago) Permalink

I never got the "Bomb. Repeat. Bomb" hate... it's a little smug but I think that smugness is redeemed by openness elsewhere on the album, like the first verse of "Annunciation Day"

Many American citizens are literally paralyzed by (bernard snowy), Tuesday, 18 March 2014 22:37 (four years ago) Permalink

anyway my point is that, in spite of the extended outros & the momentum-killing cod-reggae & the contradictions?-what-contradictions, I don't think of it as an album that's "too long" because when I was listening to it obsessively (this actually didn't happen until 2011-12 btw), I cherished every moment I spent with it

Many American citizens are literally paralyzed by (bernard snowy), Tuesday, 18 March 2014 22:40 (four years ago) Permalink

I'm with Bernard, Living is a really great album. The conventional wisdom on his catalog, that that album was a letdown and the wildly inconsistent and poorly recorded Hearts Of Oak is his best, always bugged me.

The Greta Gerwig In The Sky (some dude), Tuesday, 18 March 2014 23:20 (four years ago) Permalink

They have a track "Milwaukee" that's on soundcloud

calstars, Tuesday, 18 March 2014 23:46 (four years ago) Permalink

it seems to me like he's really gotten a bum deal in the cosmic scheme of things, if he had been doing this work more squarely in a period just before the pitchforkification/nprization/whatever of indie rock, when he would have been counted more as a punk and when the alt-punk-rock-counterculture tradition of critics had more clout, maybe the music-listener's-syllabus wisdom about him could have stabilized long enough to enter consensus (before there stopped being 'consensus').

j., Tuesday, 18 March 2014 23:50 (four years ago) Permalink

three years pass...

A lengthy and excellent Stereogum feature profile on Ted Leo, answers all of the (harrowing) questions about what Ted Leo has been up to and what happened between the release of The Brutalist Bricks (March 2010!) and now:


New album due shortly.

Badmotorfinger Debate Club (MFB), Monday, 10 July 2017 19:25 (one year ago) Permalink

What a great piece, very much of a (well) piece with that recent Nick Cave profile. I had no idea about so much of this. I was so happy to chip in to the Kickstarter, because my limited dealings with Leo (a couple of interviews, a couple of friends in common) have been very positive. He seems like a super dude, and to know he's been carrying all this baggage around ...

Josh in Chicago, Monday, 10 July 2017 20:41 (one year ago) Permalink

That's a great feature. It sucks what a tough time he and his wife have had over the last few years. I love this guy and I'm so glad he's back.

kitchen person, Tuesday, 11 July 2017 13:00 (one year ago) Permalink

Love Ted -- I've seen him play 4 or 5 times. I did get burned out on him after Shake the Sheets and never bothered with The Brutalist Bricks (which, after reading that piece, makes me regret it). Intrigued to check out the new album.

Sam Weller, Tuesday, 11 July 2017 15:15 (one year ago) Permalink

one month passes...

New one is really good so far! If there's any downside it's that the mix is weirdly muddy and I also really wish he had a bunch of extra money to pay some big name producer, like Justin Meldal-Johnsen, to polish up these great tunes and get him on the radio and/or radio equivalent.

Josh in Chicago, Thursday, 31 August 2017 20:33 (ten months ago) Permalink

The video for the first single from the new album is filling me with a ridiculous amount of joy right now.


kitchen person, Thursday, 7 September 2017 22:08 (ten months ago) Permalink

saw them last night (and as a bonus ran into Ted while he was buying lunch at the logan's circle WF earlier in the day, impromptu). I really like the saxophone addition! It's very Bruce. I was really glad to see his stage banter is as dry and hilarious as ever.

El Tomboto, Monday, 18 September 2017 01:35 (ten months ago) Permalink

I find the album a bit of a slog unfortunately

a serious and fascinating fartist (Simon H.), Monday, 18 September 2017 13:26 (ten months ago) Permalink

Saw them when they stopped in Boston last week -- they played for a solid 2 and half hours. The highlight was definitely when Ted did a mini-set of solo stuff (but that might just have been because the sound person was so bad that all I could hear during the full band numbers was the bass and the floor tom). And I have to agree that his stage banter still slays.

The new album has really been growing on me. Not quite Hearts of Oak level greatness, but definitely the equal of Shake the Sheets or Brutalist Bricks.

enochroot, Tuesday, 26 September 2017 00:22 (nine months ago) Permalink

Yeah, I've been enjoying the new album a lot too. William Weld In The 21st Century is just devastating.

Thinking of seeing him next month for the first time.

kitchen person, Tuesday, 26 September 2017 01:31 (nine months ago) Permalink

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