Ted Leo looks like that guy with the best notes in every college class. His Cheshire-cat grin and slight frame seem sharp, but not dangerous. Wrong-o. This Washington, D.C. native and proud Irish-American has the punk chops, Celtic blood, and blue-eyed soul to write the kind of heart-palpitating rockers that have been MIA since Elvis Costello's My Aim Is True
. His latest, Shake the Streets
, does just that, with guitar momentum borrowed from Fugazi, politically snide anger swiped from the Clash, and the kind of brash sing-along charm that nobody but Billy Bragg bothers with anymore. Leo knows and loves his Curtis Mayfield, and he may have met the pusher man, but his Pharmacists have strictly legal ways to get you the medicine you need.