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For about a minute, "You're Like Me" sounds as if it's being played in the next room — you could be hearing it through a wall, or maybe your headphones aren't plugged all the way in. Then, it comes roaring into focus: still compact and compressed, still just a guy playing most of the instruments in his bedroom, but just as thunderous as the wiry rock 'n' roll on which Ted Leo first made his name.
"You're Like Me" is the first single from The Hanged Man, due out Sept. 8. Leo financed the record by himself via Kickstarter and is self-releasing it under his own name — the first of his records to be so billed after a string of projects released under typographical variations on the name Ted Leo & The Pharmacists. (He's also still half of The Both, the band he shares with Aimee Mann.)
If "You're Like Me" is any indication, The Hanged Man promises to simplify and sharpen Leo's sound, which had broadened to encompass everything from white-knuckle punk to dreamier forays into dub reggae. Ted Leo has hardly gone away in seven years since The Brutalist Bricks — between The Both and his frequent podcast pop-ins, he's been easy to track down — but it still feels good to have him "back."