A songwriter who receives nowhere near the attention that he deserves, Ted Leo and his Pharmacists have churned out solid records and EPs over the last ten or so years with a rare consistency. Each release as pleasing and invigorating as the last, Leo’s been indie-rock’s conscience for some time, delivering highly politicized material with appropriate, contagious anger. Live, the band’s always been exceptional, from large stages like at Lollapalooza to tiny ones like Hideout, where I saw the band play a midnight secret show some years back, the fantastic memory of which pops into my head more often than it probably should. “The Brutalist Bricks,” the band’s new record and first for Matador, continues the powerful Leo trend of compiling excellently constructed pop gems infused with punk-rock wrath. The album’s at least as effective as “Living with the Living,” the 2007 record Leo did for Chicago’s Touch & Go. He may never top the incredible work he did on “The Tyranny of Distance” or “Hearts of Oak,” but we’re all better off with a Ted Leo continually making records. (Tom Lynch)
Ted Leo & The Pharmacists play March 13 at Bottom Lounge, 1375 W. Lake, (312)666-6775, at 7pm.