Daily Distraction: Listen to Ted Leo return in fine form

The musician's new song, 'Into the Conquering Sun,' is a benefit for Jane's Due Process and the Frontera Fund

Andy Downing
Columbus Alive
Ted Leo

Ted Leo last released an album in 2017 with The Hanged Man, but he recently returned to action with "Into the Conquering Sun," a benefit song for Jane's Due Process and the Frontera Fund.

The new track has followed a winding path to existence, with Leo detailing in a blog post the compounding series of circumstances that delayed its release. He wrote:

"I'd intended to start a Bandcamp page with this benefit, but found that an old label of mine had already established one using my name (without letting me know), and that kicked off the first series of bumps in the road that then began to compound on each other; further compounded because when one is doing daytime childcare for an infant, one has to time-box these things meticulously, and when one of those boxes gets moved, it's extremely hard to find a new slot for it."

In the post, Leo also revealed that the song was initially intended as part of a new album he envisioned as "a song cycle about certain recurrent themes of racism, patriarchy, Capitalism, etc. defining America in ways that 'we' (broadly speaking, of course) just still won't acknowledge," though he has no firm plans to record or release anything at the moment.

"So it's largely remained in the 'continuously adding notes' phase for a while," he wrote. "Some good notes!  Lotta stuff to draw on!  But I haven't done much writing with it all."

With that in mind, we should revel in this new song, realizing it might be the only release we hear from Leo for the near future. And what a song it is, packing in the musician's knack for effortless earworms (seriously, go back and listen to Hearts of Oak, from 2003, which contains more fiery hooks than a Fox News Christmas tree) and grad-student-level wordplay (rhyming "it's begun" with "hegemon").

Leo recorded the song to benefit Jane's Due Process, a Texas-based teenage reproductive rights organization, and the Frontera Fund, which makes "abortion accessible in the Rio Grande Valley by providing financial and practical support regardless of immigration status, gender identity, ability, sexual orientation, race, class, age, or religious affiliation," according to its website.

Give "Into the Conquering Sun" a listen below.