Friday 18 Apr

Dustin Prinz - Eleven

Few musicians take the time to master their instrument in the way that Oklahoma City singer-songwriter Dustin Prinz has; he’s a guitar virtuoso in every sense of the word, and Eleven gives him the chance to show just how far he can push that skill.
04/15/2014 | Comments 0

Horse Thief – Fear in Bliss

Listening to Horse Thief’s previous release — the haphazardly melodramatic Grow Deep, Grow Wild — felt like a chore. Whatever potential the Oklahoma City folk-pop act demonstrated on the EP was obscured behind a formulaic, contrived and ultimately hollow cloud. But it at least offered a glimmer of promise for a band consisting of, frankly, five pretty talented dudes. Critics saw it; the band’s management saw it; its current label, Bella Union, saw it; and its increasingly fervid fan base saw it.
04/08/2014 | Comments 0

Colourmusic — May You Marry Rich

There’s always a sense of danger when debuting songs in a live setting and playing them well. Without having heard the studio versions, expectations are set according to the live incarnations. But capturing the breadth of free-flowing atmosphere and sheer volume on a disc, vinyl or digital file isn’t the easiest thing to do, especially for a band as vociferous as Colourmusic.
04/01/2014 | Comments 0

Em and the MotherSuperiors — Churches into Theaters

As titles go, Churches into Theaters is an apt descriptor for the debut album from Oklahoma City rockers Em and the MotherSuperiors. It’s a reverential record, one that shares the gospel of classic rock, blues and soul but embraces the need to refashion it for modern times, channeling The Dead Weather, Grace Potter and Cage the Elephant along the way.
03/25/2014 | Comments 0

Rachel Brashear — Revolution

Rachel Brashear’s second EP, Revolution, starts with a kick to the shins.
03/18/2014 | Comments 0
Home · Articles · Music · Music · Ted Leo and the Pharmacists...

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists experiment with a shaky foundation to cement the solid 'Brutalist Bricks'

Joe Wertz October 7th, 2010

Touring for the first time as a solo act, Leo remembers a show he booked "at a pizza place in Norman." It's probably good that he's forgotten the venue's name.

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists with Kevin Seconds and Broncho
9 p.m. Wednesday
113 N. Crawford, Norman
$14, $16 under 21

Ted Leo spent the first half of the '90s fronting indie-punk and hard-core outfits like Chisel and Citizens Arrest. As the decade wound down, he started work on a solo side project, which eventually sailed under his own flag, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists.

Touring for the first time as a solo act, Leo remembers a show he booked "at a pizza place in Norman."

It's probably good that he's forgotten the venue's name.

Leo showed up with the two other groups he was touring with, but neither an audience nor a PA system ever showed up. The girl who booked the show was making frantic calls on a pay phone when the guy who was supposed to bring the sound system showed up. He didn't arrive for soundcheck; he came for an armful of pizzas to bring back to a house party, which was already raging with tunes supplied by the missing PA system.

"He was like, 'You guys can come play at my party if you want,'" Leo said. "I thought, 'You know what? I'm already too old for this. Fuck you and your party.'"

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists are back in Norman tonight for a 9 p.m. show at Opolis.

In March, the outfit released its sixth studio effort, "The Brutalist Bricks," which came together in the three-year album gap that followed "Living with the Living."

Leo said the band initially started recording many of the "Brutalist" songs for Touch and Go Records, which released the previous album. In 2009, the label downsized, leaving Leo and his fellow musicians caught in the flux.

"If we'd been recording at home, it wouldn't have been a big deal," Leo says, "but it started in a studio, so we kind of had to finish it there."

Neither Leo or any of his bandmates had enough money to finish the album on their own, so The Pharmacists concentrated on playing shows, which included performing many of the tracks in limbo. There, the songs evolved, Leo said, as the guys refined and "edited" the songs onstage.

"What we'd recorded in the past wasn't even an accurate depiction of the record at that point," Leo said, "so it just made sense to go in and do it again."

Despite the long, convoluted path from idea to album, "Brutalist Bricks" sounds more immediate and urgent than "Living with the Living." Combined with its bonus EP, "Mo' Living," that's roughly two dozen tracks, but it was "meant to be long," Leo said.

But the drawn-out writing, editing and arranging process, when combined with a relatively short, "hit-and-run" studio stint where they re-recorded the songs for Matador Records, "Brutalist" afforded The Pharmacists more time than usual to play and tinker.

"Even though this is a more concise album, it involved a little more experimentation," Leo said.

top photo/Matias Corral
bottom photo/Shawn Brackbill
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