Indie rocker Ted Leo will release a new studio album, Shake the Sheets, on October 19th. Recorded with his backing band the Pharmacists, the follow-up to 2003’s Hearts of Oak was produced by Chris Shaw, who has worked with Weezer, Ween and Wilco.
“It’s a lot more concise than Hearts of Oak,” says Leo by phone from an Iowa City tour stop. “I’ve learned a lot about the economy of songwriting over the last couple of years from playing all of those songs.”
That approach translates to the upcoming album’s emphasis track and first video, “Me and Mia,” which is currently available for download on Leo’s Web site (tedleo.com). The disc also includes a re-worked take on “Bleeding Powers,” which originally surfaced in sparse solo form on last year’s Tell Balgeary, Balgury Is Dead EP.
“I hadn’t really planned to flesh out that song when I wrote it,” Leo says. “But it felt so good when we did it live with the band. I knew it would be served well if we presented it that way.”
“There’s another song called ‘Counting Down the Hours’ that’s got a real hopped up Motown or Tamla kind of beat, kind of in the vein of the Jam’s ‘A Town Called Malice,'” Leo continues. “We don’t do a ton of stuff like that so it’s a lot of fun to play. Then there’s ‘Little Dawn’ which is actually pretty ’emo,’ in the sense that it’s emotional — not whiny genre music.”
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists have been road-testing the songs planned for Shake the Sheets during a run of dates scheduled to wrap on July 27th in Cambridge, Massachusetts, at a Music for America benefit to coincide with the Democratic National Convention. Leo will take August and September off before reconvening to tour in support of Shake the Sheets this October.