Ted Leo and the Pharmacists' "Living With the Living" is easily one of my favorite releases of the year, and this exclusive download is one of the album's best tracks. Much of Leo's music is fiercely political, though never pedantic, but this track focuses that fiery energy onto a friendship story straight out of the Springsteen songbook and with an added Irish-folk kick. I've got a pet theory that there's something distinctively cinematic and emotional about rock made by the Irish (particularly Irish Catholics). Even aside from the obvious musical touches, this song is a good example of what I mean. Am I crazy on this one, or do you also hear common threads in the music of Thin Lizzy, the Hold Steady, U2 and Bruce Springsteen? Billy Joel counts as an honorary Irishman for the purposes of this question.
-- David Marchese