Ted Leo and the Pharmacists with Screaming Females_lowres


Few indie-rockers commit to a vocal like Ted Leo. An impassioned troubadour on the parallel plotlines of love and war, the Washington, D.C., punk veteran is himself one of modern music's signature instruments, a high-wire frontman whose rangy, fearless voice spikes and dives like the Dow. Though March's The Brutalist Bricks, Leo's sixth LP and first for Matador Records, lacks the cohesion and thick-as-a-brick consistency of early triumphs The Tyranny of Distance and Hearts of Oak, it's still a ripping rock record that grows stronger and more personal as its track list dwindles. The album's relentless front side hearkens to Leo's hard-core start, with "Mourning in America," the centerpiece of his Republican National Committee-bashing 2008 EP Rapid Response, making a thunderous, if oddly timed, return. But the Pharmacists have always been more affecting lovers than fighters, and Leo's romantic antics provide the lasting memories here. Sandwiched between wailers, his best pop song in years, "Bottled in Cork," struts sweetly to a heart-shaped, rooftop-shouted hook ("Tell the bartender/I think I'm falling in love"). Screaming Females, who rocked the closet-sized Hey! Cafe last month, open. Tickets $14 advance purchase, $16 day of show. — Noah Bonaparte Pais

April 2

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists with Screaming Females

10 p.m. Friday

One Eyed Jacks, 615 Toulouse St., 569-8361; www.oneeyedjacks.net