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Ted Leo and the Pharmacists

East Coast pub-punk troubadour Ted Leo is a mad pundit in the tradition of Elvis Costello and Billy Bragg, and Shake the Sheets is his tautest album to date. Slithering songs such as "Angels' Share," "The One Who Got Us Out," and "Bleeding Powers" acknowledge the downward spiral of American politics with strutting upstrokes and searing steel-string flicks. Producer Chris Shaw helps Shake the Sheets achieve multilayered chime as Leo's scathing, erudite indictments quaver above the varnished shimmy. By composing tracks that are brawny and brainy, Leo uses Shake the Sheets to air out society's dirty laundry. -- Tony Ware

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