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Ted Leo


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Since the early '90s, Ted Leo has been one of the most progressive forces in East Coast independent music, with a unique combination of punk and folk, soul and hardcore, and tradition and experimentation. Originally rising to a small degree of fame in the late-'80s New York hardcore scene by playing with Citizen's Arrest and Animal Crackers, Leo left New York for Washington, D.C., in 1990, when he founded and fronted Chisel, one of the first mod/punk revival outfits to gain national attention. Leo was the primary songwriter and singer of Chisel, recording two full-length records with the band which were released on Gern Blandsten in the mid-'90s and led the band on countless short tours. The songwriting was as infectious and calculated as that of Brit rock legends the Kinks, yet the rhythms remained fueled by the anthemic energy reminiscent of bands like the Who and the Clash. Chisel's eventual breakup in 1997 came after their critically acclaimed sophomore full-length, Set You Free. The band's reputation continued to flourish after their breakup, however, and even though the retro trends in indie rock would eventually gain enough popularity to inspire the likes of mod underground sweethearts like the Mooney Suzuki and the Delta 72, the influence of Chisel goes largely unnoticed. Leo went onto a variety of musical endeavors, including two years of on-again, off-again touring as a guitarist with the Spinanes, and a short-lived project called the Sin Eaters that he founded with his brother, Danny Leo, on drums, and former Van Pelt bassist Sean Greene. The Sin Eaters' progressive, politically charged, punk-fused rock and local all-star lineup took the New York underground by storm between 1997 and 1998, until Danny Leo left the band to work on his own material and eventually founded the Holy Childhood. When the Sin Eaters disbanded without a recorded legacy in 1998, Ted Leo was left without a band and began his career as a solo artist. He remained active by wearing the hat of producer for the Secret Stars' debut record, Geneologies, and touring alone on the East Coast and through the Midwest. He eventually recorded a self-titled full-length on his homestead Gern Blandsten Records in 1999 with a new band, the Pharmacists, that included various friends and affiliates of the Secret Stars, including Jodi Buonanno. This record marked a notable change in Leo's sound, which, mostly due to his performance practices, was more and more rooted in songwriting legends like Billy Bragg and Alex Chilton. Ted Leo & the Pharmacists released a split with the One AM Radio later that year as a collaborative effort of both Gern Blandsten and Garbage Czar. In the spring of 2000, Leo's sophomore effort, Treble in Trouble, was released on New Jersey-based Ace Fu Records, displaying a more aggressive and romantic bent to Leo's writing. In the early summer of 2001, Leo released a polished studio effort, The Tyranny of Distance, on Lookout Records. A strong contender for record of the year, it was followed by the equally strong Hearts of Oak in 2003. Shake the Sheets. which appeared in 2004, would prove to be his last for then-troubled Lookout, as Leo signed with Chicago-based indie Touch & Go in February 2006. A tour followed in March, on which he was supported by the Duke Spirit and Les Aus. He continued touring throughout 2006, festivals such as Coachella and headlining dates alike, as new material was worked on as well. Ted Leo & the Pharmacists eventually returned in March 2007 with full-length number five, Living with the Living. In 2009, Leo signed with Matador, and the following year he released his first record with them, The Brutalist Bricks. After touring for the album, Leo became disillusioned with the whole indie rock machine he was such a vital part of and stepped away. Over the next few years, he played a few shows here and there but mostly flew under the radar until Aimee Mann convinced him to go on tour with her. They began writing songs together and quickly formed a band called the Both, where they traded off vocals. They played shows and released a self-titled album in 2014 on Mann's Superego label. The experience spurred Leo to begin working on his own music, and while setting up a studio in his house, he wrote and recorded almost 30 songs. After doing some crowd-funding to finish the record, he released the 14-song record The Hanged Man in September of 2017. A mix of mod rockers and introspective ballads, the album blends his usual political outlook with a more personal lyrical approach. ~ Nate Cavalieri
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Stations Featuring
Ted Leo

    St. Patricks Day

    St. Patricks Day
    4 songs

    Punk U

    Punk U
    1 song

    Top Indie

    Top Indie
    1 song

Albums by
Ted Leo

Top Songs by
Ted Leo

  1.   Song
  2.   A Bottle of Buckie
  3.   Me & Mia
  4.   The Sons of Cain
  5.   Where Have All the Rude Boys Gone?
  6.   Bottled in Cork by Ted Leo And The Pharmacists
  7.   The Mighty Sparrow by Ted Leo And The Pharmacists
  8.   The Crane Takes Flight
  9.   Dirty Old Town
  10.   Tell Balgeary, Balgury Is Dead
  11.   Who Do You Love?
  12.   I'm Looking Through You
  13.   The Ballad of the Sin Eater
  14.   You're Like Me
  15.   Gray Havens
  16.   Run to the City
  17.   Moon Out of Phase
  18.   Even Heroes Have to Die by Ted Leo And The Pharmacists
  19.   The One Who Got Us Out
  20.   Walking to Do
  21.   I'm a Ghost
  22.   Woke Up Near Chelsea by Ted Leo And The Pharmacists
  23.   The Unwanted Things
  24.   Colleen
  25.   Bomb. Repeat. Bomb.
  26.   Mr. Annoyatron Brown
  27.   (Version: Whisper: Courage)
  28.   Head in the Freezer
  29.   The World Stops Turning
  30.   C.I.A.
  31.   (Version: To Decline to Make Some Tea)
  32.   Let's Stay on the Moon
  33.   William Weld in the 21st Century
  34.   First to Finish, Last to Start
  35.   2nd Ave, 11AM
  36.   The Anointed One
  37.   Out of Step '88!
  38.   Lui Prima Mobile
  39.   (None)
  40.   Come Baby Come
  41.   Last Days by Ted Leo And The Pharmacists
  42.   Abner Louima V. Gov. Pete Wilson
  43.   Used to Believe
  44.   Call off the Invasion/ Flydocious Invasion
  45.   (Decaying Artifact)
  46.   Where Was My Brain? by Ted Leo And The Pharmacists
  47.   Better Dead Than Lead
  48.   Lonsdale Avenue
  49.   Little Dawn
  50.   The Northeast Corridor
  51.   Dragging My Own Tombstone
  52.   The Stick by Ted Leo And The Pharmacists
  53.   La Costa Brava
  54.   Loyal to My Sorrowful Country
  55.   Six Months in a Leaky Boat
  56.   The King of Time
  57.   (Version: To Decline to Take a Shower)
  58.   Heart Problems
  59.   Army Bound
  60.   SM 11: 11/The Trumpet of the Martians
  61.   Walking Through
  62.   Friends and Bands
  63.   Bleeding Powers
  64.   Criminal Piece
  65.   Set You Free
  66.   Treble In Trouble
  67.   [Untitled Hidden Track]
  68.   Bridges, Squares
  69.   The High Party
  70.   The Little Smug Supper Club
  71.   Counting Down the Hours
  72.   The Nazerene
  73.   The Sword in the Stone
  74.   Shake the Sheets
  75.   Dead Voices
  76.   Gimme the Wire by Ted Leo And The Pharmacists
  77.   Fourth World War
  78.   The Pharmacist V. The Secret Stars
  79.   Ativan Eyes by Ted Leo And The Pharmacists
  80.   The Nice People Argument
  81.   The 11th
  82.   The Toro and the Toreador
  83.   The Future
  84.   Annunciation Day / Born On Christmas Day
  85.   The Lost Brigade
  86.   Tuberculoids Arrive in Hop by Ted Leo And The Pharmacists
  87.   Ghosts
  88.   Make Me Feel Loved
  89.   Some Beginner's Mind
  90.   Anthems of None
  91.   Hearts of Oak
  92.   Suspect Device
  93.   Little Girl In Bloom
  94.   Bartolomeo and the Buzzing of Bees by Ted Leo And The Pharmacists
  95.   The Angels' Share
  96.   One Polaroid a Day by Ted Leo And The Pharmacists
  97.   Soon Dubward
  98.   Building Skyscrapers in the Basement
  99.   Can't Go Back