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2008-10-28 - 7:45 a.m.

I downloaded--spent money!--on the new Pretenders album. Taken in the context of a long, often disappointing career and many years in a commercial-rock hellhole ("I'll Stand By you"? Blech), I have to say the songs here are surprisingly okay. The title track is a weird little Bo Diddley-beat number with a really interesting vocal, and there is a lot of staccato rockablly-ish tracks that hearken to the old, nervous, punky Chrissie that won everyone over in 1979.

Other albums I've enjoyed this week so far:

The latest by Chicago singer-songwriter The Gunshy, a series of unsettling punk-folk songs based on letters his grandfather wrote to his grandmother in WWII. Appropriate, since this youngish fellow sings like a wizened old man.

Note: this is not easy listening, and a little goes a long way.

On the same label, the second album by Mustangs and Madras, a slab of brash post-punk that doesn't stint on the second half of the equation.

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