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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 renown. 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 leading 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 seemed 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 on to 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 Blansten 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 and 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. ~ Nate Cavalieri
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Stations Featuring
Ted Leo

    St. Patricks Day

    St. Patricks Day
    4 songs

    '00s Indie

    '00s Indie
    1 song

    Punk U

    Punk U
    1 song

    Top Indie

    Top Indie
    1 song

    Indie Party

    1 song

    Indie Rock Mix

    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.   Dirty Old Town
  9.   Tell Balgeary, Balgury Is Dead
  10.   The Crane Takes Flight
  11.   Who Do You Love?
  12.   I'm Looking Through You
  13.   I'm a Ghost
  14.   Even Heroes Have to Die by Ted Leo And The Pharmacists
  15.   The One Who Got Us Out
  16.   Walking to Do
  17.   The Ballad of the Sin Eater
  18.   Bomb. Repeat. Bomb.
  19.   Woke Up Near Chelsea by Ted Leo And The Pharmacists
  20.   The Unwanted Things
  21.   Colleen
  22.   (Version: To Decline to Take a Shower)
  23.   Where Was My Brain? by Ted Leo And The Pharmacists
  24.   The World Stops Turning
  25.   Heart Problems
  26.   Loyal to My Sorrowful Country
  27.   Bridges, Squares
  28.   Treble In Trouble
  29.   The Angels' Share
  30.   Hearts of Oak
  31.   The Stick by Ted Leo And The Pharmacists
  32.   Annunciation Day / Born On Christmas Day
  33.   (Version: Whisper: Courage)
  34.   Bleeding Powers
  35.   La Costa Brava
  36.   One Polaroid a Day by Ted Leo And The Pharmacists
  37.   Head in the Freezer
  38.   [Untitled Hidden Track]
  39.   Friends and Bands
  40.   Dragging My Own Tombstone
  41.   Call off the Invasion/ Flydocious Invasion
  42.   Last Days by Ted Leo And The Pharmacists
  43.   Counting Down the Hours
  44.   Six Months in a Leaky Boat
  45.   First to Finish, Last to Start
  46.   (Version: To Decline to Make Some Tea)
  47.   The Pharmacist V. The Secret Stars
  48.   Ghosts
  49.   Come Baby Come
  50.   The High Party
  51.   Fourth World War
  52.   Mr. Annoyatron Brown
  53.   Gimme the Wire by Ted Leo And The Pharmacists
  54.   SM 11: 11/The Trumpet of the Martians
  55.   Walking Through
  56.   Bartolomeo and the Buzzing of Bees by Ted Leo And The Pharmacists
  57.   C.I.A.
  58.   Abner Louima V. Gov. Pete Wilson
  59.   Out of Step '88!
  60.   Soon Dubward
  61.   The King of Time
  62.   The Sword in the Stone
  63.   The Toro and the Toreador
  64.   Army Bound
  65.   Set You Free
  66.   (Decaying Artifact)
  67.   Dead Voices
  68.   2nd Ave, 11AM
  69.   Little Girl In Bloom
  70.   The Northeast Corridor
  71.   Criminal Piece
  72.   Suspect Device
  73.   Shake the Sheets
  74.   The Lost Brigade
  75.   Some Beginner's Mind
  76.   The 11th
  77.   Lui Prima Mobile
  78.   Little Dawn
  79.   Ativan Eyes by Ted Leo And The Pharmacists
  80.   The Nice People Argument
  81.   (None)
  82.   Building Skyscrapers in the Basement
  83.   The Anointed One
  84.   Better Dead Than Lead
  85.   Tuberculoids Arrive in Hop by Ted Leo And The Pharmacists

Artists Related to Ted Leo