Ted Leo and The Pharmacists’ latest full length, The Brutalist Bricks isn’t due out on Matador Records for another three weeks, but the promos are out, and all early listening indicates this album may be Leo’s best since his landmark release, Hearts of Oak. It’s got the stories and travels, and the expressive songwriting you’ve come to expect from Leo.  It also has a serious rhythmic kick.  A kick which begins in earnest with side one, track one, “The Mighty Sparrow,” and rarely relents throughout the course of 13 numbers.

MP3: Ted Leo and The Pharmacists – The Mighty Sparrow

Ted Leo and The Pharmacists will be in Cleveland March 11th for a show at the Grog Shop.  Title Tracks will be opening.

Speaking of a band with a serious kick, Vancouver’s Japandroids just announced plans to release a limited-edition, 7″ single series on Polyvinyl Records this coming year, and lead single, “Art Czars,” is exactly the type of song which made their 2009 release, Post-Nothing, so enjoyable — No gimmicks, no frills, and no trickery with a big yes on meaty guitar riffs, agile drum fills, and foot-on-the-amps, hair-blowing-in-the-wind moments.

MP3: Japandroids – Art Czars

Japandroids will also be making a stop in our fair town in the not so distant future.  They’ll be at the Grog Shop on April 6th with Avi Buffalo and Two Hand Fools.

Kent-native, Steve Five and his band, The Library is on Fire, scored some early positive press when they released a spot-on tribute of Devo’s “Jocko Homo” video as the visuals for their first single, “New Corner for Kadinsky.” One album, many Brooklyn loft parties, countless tracks, and three years later, Five and company are readying a new album, Magic Words, Magic Nights for Fill in the Blank Records.  It was recorded this past winter in NEO with Todd Tobias (Robert Pollard, GBV, etc) and has that throwback rock sound which seems to so popular with the kids these days.  How popular, you ask?  Well, some critics who shall not be named have been embarrassing themselves with made-up genre names like “Alt-Bro,”  to describe bands like The Library is on Fire who excel at plugging in and rocking out.  Personally, I wouldn’t say The Library is on Fire are Alt-Bro, I’d say they rock hard, and leave it at that.

MP3: The Library is on Fire – Vanessa’s Theater of Peace