Ted Leo and The Pharmacists

Hearts of Oak

Lookout! Records

Ted Leo sharpened his axe and honed his songcraft in ’90s punk band Chisel, but 2001’s unfortunately-titled The Tyranny of Distance proved he had far outgrown his previous band: quirky, extremely melodic pop songs mined everyone from Costello to Mellencamp. On Hearts of Oak, Leo and his Pharmacists mine most of the same A.M. gold that their previous effort did. And even if the hooks don’t have the same idiot-savant magic Leo produced on Tyranny, taut, crafty numbers like “The High Party” and the title track still chime with the wit and talent of a veteran. Too bad he still can’t name an album.

3 Stars

– Andrew M. Gaerig

Ray Fogg and the Swingin’ Lesbian Frogs

Kiss my Bass

Sweetwater Records

A folk-bluegrass blend of college level immaturity, Kiss My Bass contains such ballads as “Walk of Shame” and “If They Could Just Cut Off Your Great Big Fat Ass I Think I Could Love You Forever.” While this acoustic brand of debauchery makes for a small burst of good drinkin’ music, don’t be surprised if you hear Nelly coming through your stereo 10 minutes later.

2 Stars

– Jared Newman

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