I feel like it is my calling in life to spread the word about music people are unfamiliar with in attempt to familiarize them with musicians they are missing out on. One of my absolute favorite musicians is Ted Leo. If you ever have the chance to catch him live, do so. I have attended over a dozen Ted Leo shows anywhere from the South Street Seaport in New York City to my last show in 2010 at the Opolis located in Norman.
For those who aren’t familiar with Ted Leo’s music, he is a punk rock songwriter and musician currently based out of New York City. For those who haven’t heard Ted Leo, what you need to know is he sounds like a mixture of the Clash, Fugazi, The Jam and Elvis Costello. If you enjoy the sound of current musical acts such as Spoon or Jack White, then chances are you will enjoy Ted Leo.
He has played in countless bands ranging from the Sin-Eaters, Chisel, and Ted Leo and the Pharmacists. To date, Leo has released nine different studio albums on a variety of independent music labels ranging from defunct Lookout! and Touch & Go labels, to his current label at Matador Records.
The following videos are just a small sampling of some of my (and my friend Shawn Davis) favorite Ted Leo and the Pharmacist songs.
“Me and Mia” from Shake the Sheets (2004)
One of my favorite things about the song is how it starts off slow then speeds up the tempo once it reaches the chorus. I find “Me and Mia” to be Ted Leo’s most irresistibly catchy song in his entire catalog.
“Bottled In Cork” from the Brutualist Bricks (2010)
“Bottled In Cork” was my favorite song for 2010. What I like about Leo’s songwriting is not only he is very descriptive with his words, but he manages to tell a story in his songs as well. Most of Ted Leo’s songs often have political overtone to them. “Bottled In Cork” is no exception.
“Hearts of Oak” from Hearts of Oak (2003)
Shawn Davis said since the first time he heard “Hearts of Oak” it’s always been his favorite Ted Leo song.
“I hear a lot of The Clash in this, which happens to be my favorite band,” Davis said. “Also, it’s just plain catchy – you can’t hear this and not want to dance. You just can’t. Great tune, great lyrics. It’s very inspiring.”