Earlier this year, indie lifer Ted Leo reunited with his old ’90s band Chisel to play a bunch of shows for the first time since 1997. That’s the kind of thing that might put a man in a nostalgic mood, but Ted Leo’s not living in the past. Instead, he’s continuing to pump out new music. Leo has been releasing a series of EPs on different Bandcamp Fridays. Today is one of those days, and Leo just followed last October’s For Coit And Killie by dropping a new six-song record called Heaven’s Off.
In the Bandcamp description for Heaven’s Off, Leo writes that he recorded these songs specifically for Bandcamp Friday, and he just finished tracking one of them last night; it’s not actually quite finished. Leo co-wrote a couple of the EP’s tracks with Aimee Mann, his bandmate in the Both. She sings on both of them, too. Leo has also included a cover of the Headboys’ 1979 single “The Shape Of Things To Come.” Here’s what Leo says about the new songs:
Well folks, A little bit all over the place, but I worked very hard to get some new songs finished for this one. “Coming Back To Bloom,” I finished writing and tracking last weekend, and “Heaven’s Off” I wrote Wednesday night and tracked last night (tonight, as I’m writing this). Because of that, “Heaven’s Off” is not in its final form. I tracked some tin whistle, but the pitch was off, it was already midnight, etc. I opted to lean into the scrappy on that one. They both lean into the Irish a little, actually, which gave me the idea to release a formerly 7″ box set only B-side, “Love’s Too Long (for Pike County),” which is NOT that Irish, but does have a similar twang. And with THAT song, I had the help of Aimee Mann in writing the bridge, which led me to remember that we’d never really released another song that Aimee helped me write, “Gideon Gray.” We played this live as The Both, but only ever made it available as a Maximum Fun premium for pledges, when we were doing our podcast. Here it is in all its rough and smooth glory, drummed on and recorded by Scott Seiver, of… many things – Pete Yorn, Tenacious D, CUD, etc. Finally, we turn back to punk, and I drop ANOTHER rarity never released beyond the fabled 7″ box set of b-sides, “[email protected]:34,” a musing on (among other things) what open comments sections did to the brain in the previous decade; and then, the obligatory cover — “The Shape of Things to Come,” by The Headboys. I’ve been going back to a lot of UK 82 stuff, and this song by what’s otherwise mostly a power pop band, struck me as something I could bend successfully down into the chorus-y gutter, a la late Blitz. I hope it satisfies!
I’m on my first listen right now, and I can tell you that “Coming Back To Bloom” is very, very pretty. Stream the Heaven’s Off EP below.
You can buy Heaven’s Off at Bandcamp.