Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Ted Leo & the Pharmacists - Live on KEXP 9/6/2005

For those of you not in the loop (I say that VERY jokingly), Ted Leo and the Pharmacists are a east coast Punk/Rock band originally formed in the late 90's as the alter-ego of Leo after the demise of his indie/punk outfit Chisel, for whom he had sang/played guitar. Leo's involvement with the punk & hardcore scenes is rather storied, from time spent as the first singer of hardcore punk pioneers Citizen's Arrest as well as many other projects such as the Sin Eater & Hell No (that's to say nothing of his brothers' involvement in music, including the great Native Nod as well as playing in TL/RX at various times).

TL/RX as many will often abbreviate the band to be eventually solidified as a punk infused rock band with the release of their "Treble in Trouble" Ep in 2000. From that point on, the band built upon a framework of big hooks, precise drums, and soulful yet punky vocals. While the sound and members have varied over time from the very 70's influenced "Hearts of Oak" (moments that make you think Thin Lizzy and then Elvis Costello and the Attractions) to the more concise and even stronger late 70's punk sounding "Shake the Sheets", the band has continued to put out a sound that gets tighter and tighter; but still able to go any direction needed, as evidenced with the digital only release of their "Rapid Response" ep which featured 2 new songs along with covers from the diverse background of the band that showed the band doing their send up of the Cocksparrer classic "I Got Your Number" and Leo alone on vocals and guitar doing Amebix's "Nobodys Driving", all pulled off as a basement recording outside of the "proper studio" comforts.

Leo himself is also known to tour on his own doing sets not unlike "Back To Basics" era Billy Bragg, as well as even doing abbreviated sets in the same manner before the full band takes the stage. A final aspect to the TL/RX sound is their ability to write and play songs that not only get you sucked in and ready to move, but have ideas, concepts, and dare it be said, politics, that do not smash you over the head with blatantly over stated ideas. Again, a page from people such as Elvis Costello and the Attractions.

Forgive the long intro, TL/RX is a bit left of center for this blog, none-the-less, the set here is 5 songs from right around the time of the release of "Shake the Sheets" and features the band firing through 5 tracks, including the rather catchy "Counting Down the Hours." Edited out is the banter between songs, but it can still be streamed from the KEXP site, who do numerous great in-studios with music from across genres.



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