Ted Leo and the Pharmacists

Time Out Ratings :

<strong>Rating: </strong>4/5

A proud product of the high-energy D.C. hardcore scene, Ted Leo has spent the past half decade challenging his indie-rock peers to match his passion. As yet, no one’s come close. His reputation as a fire-starter secure, Leo dials down the mod-punk fury a touch on his latest full-length, emphasizing his songwriting chops rather than his ability to strum a guitar at inhuman speeds. The result is Leo’s most mature effort yet; in handsome, self-assured tunes like “La Costa Brava” and “Colleen,” he earns the junior-Springsteen hype fans have saddled him with lately. Leo also makes a better balladeer than you might expect, as demonstrated by “A Bottle of Buckie,” a tender, Celtic-flavored remembrance of his New Jersey adolescence. There’s no reason to believe this guy won’t keep making solid records for years. — Mikael Wood

Living with the Living (Touch and Go)