The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

QUICK SPINS: Ted Leo + Pharmacists, Earl Greyhound

By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Mar 12, 2010 4:40PM

Ted Leo and The Pharmacists
The Brutalist Bricks

2010_03_ted_leo.jpg We have to admit that we were worried America's angriest D.C. punk might mellow with a Democrat in the White House but luckily for all of us Ted Leo is still raging on The Brutalist Bricks. To be fair his blistering torrents seem slightly diluted this time around, not as lyrically focused on particulars, instead allowing the heat to swirl around as in a convection oven. This provides an evening effect and allows Leo to concentrate on the album's sound a bit more than we're used to. Leo's usual torrent of tiny tinny tornados are finally roped in and grounded with a thudding bass fighting its way in and embedding itself into the mix. A lot of the songs still barrel through on Leo's speedy ska-influenced vocals and instruments that walk a fine line between punk and stripped down speed metal. This is all fine and good, if a bit wearying, but when Leo slows down and allows a bit of classic rock to slip into his songs the results are more satisfying. "Ativan Eyes" sports a sing-along chorus straight from the new wave, and "Woke Up Near Chelsea" is Pete Townshend if he had filtered Empty Glass through a scrim of methamphetamines. The Brutalist Bricks is a solid effort that shows Leo is in no danger of running out of steam any time soon.

Ted Leo plays Bottom Lounge March 13

Earl Greyhound
Suspicious Package

2010_03_earl_greyhound.jpg We loved Earl Greyhound's debut, headed by singers / guitarists Matt Whyte and Kamara Thomas and anchored by Chris Bear, who left the band to play in a little band named Grizzly Bear. We saw Earl Greyhound play Double Door shortly afterward with a new drummer that brought a furious approach to the band’s songs that made them even better. We were primed and eagerly expecting to see what the band's next record would sound like. Well, it took them a while, but four years later we're finally getting our wish fulfilled. Suspicious Package is an ambitious sophomore effort but it gets off to a wobbly start with the messy psych-prog of the two-part opener "The Eyes Of Cassandra." Luckily "Oye Vaya" swoops right in afterward and delivers some heavy boogie rock that reassures that the band hasn't lost its way. The band is still firmly rooted in a '70s blue rock aesthetic with a healthy dose of wailing soul. But with the addition of Ricc Sheridan's dexterous and lyrical drum chops the band has found a renewed energy and where other bands mid-song jams grow quickly tiresome, Earl Greyhound remains nimble in dangerous territory.

Suspicious Package is out April 13

Earl Greyhound opens for OK Go April 17 at Metro