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Monday, 02 June 2014 10:50

Charting the Music: The Both, 'The Both'

Charting the Music: The Both, 'The Both'
Written by Travis Dettmann
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Like school children sending notes back and forth across the classroom, Ted Leo and Aimee Mann were constantly exchanging songs cross-country in preparation for "The Both." Their debut release isn't so much a work of two separately renowned artists, but one in which the Both come together to create something unified, cohesive and extraordinarily catchy.

With 11 tracks coming in at just under 42 minutes, the Both takes the best qualities of power pop while using singer-songwriter wisdom gained from three decades of touring and putting up with the music industry. "The Both" is better enjoyed as fresh material from a new group of veterans rather than being judged harshly against each artists' solo efforts.

88.1 KDHX chart position: #4 Adult Album Alternative and #5 CMJ Top 30 for the week of May 20, 2014.

Record label, release date and producer: SuperEgo Records released "The Both" on April 15, 2014; it was produced by Paul Bryan.

Can be heard on: Rocket 88 with Darren Snow, Emotional Rescue with Cat Pick and Memphis to Manchester with John Wendland.

RIYL: The New Pornographers, Pernice Brothers and Superchunk.

Hometown: Los Angeles.

Standout tracks: Recalling the day that sparked the Both's existence, "Milwaukee" begins with a Leo solo and ends with the listener hitting repeat. "Volunteers of America" will bring a smile to your face with Mann's fuzzed-out bass turning that initial smile into a full-on grin. "Bedtime Stories" will make any '90s indie rock fan salivate more than Pavlov's dog.

The artist: Former 'Til Tuesday bassist/vocalist and Richmond, Virginia native Aimee Mann has released eight solo efforts since 1993; she earned both Grammy and Academy Award nominations for original compositions written for the Paul Thomas Anderson motion picture, "Magnolia." From Citizens Arrest to fronting the Pharmacists, Ted Leo has been musically active since the late '80s with or without a band. In 2012, Leo and Mann were touring together as solo acts when they had an epiphany about collaborating together. With the addition of Paul Bryan and drummer Scott Seiver, the Both recorded their debut in Los Angeles in 2013. The album was released via SuperEgo Records, the label Mann created to avoid future frustrations with her former imprint.

The producer: Paul Bryan was born on April 13, 1967 in the San Pedro neighborhood of Los Angeles. He has fulfilled bass duties for Aimee Mann since her 2005 release "The Forgotten Arm," even producing three of her albums: "One More Drift in the Snow," "@#%&*! Smilers" and "Charmer." Aside from working with Mann, he has also provided bass duties for Margaret Cho, Bettye LaVette and Jakob Dylan. On December 8, 2008, he and actress Emily Procter gave birth to their daughter, Philippa Frances.

Play it while: Sharing memories of "the better days" while enjoying the pleasant company of those close to you.

What the critics say: "As we have come to expect from both Mann and Leo, the songwriting here is fresh and original yet markedly accessible. And although the two complement each other, each one also puts the talents of the other into starker relief. Their album is a resounding reminder that good music is always sweeter when played in good company." Jess Righthand, The Washington Post.

KDHX coverage: Will Kyle covered the Aimee Mann/Ted Leo show at the Pageant on November 13, 2014; Kate McDaniel is to thank for the visual documentation.

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