Disc tip: "The Messenger"

Johnny Marr

We're barely a quarter of the way into the year, but go ahead, use indelible ink, and pen "The Messenger" onto your list of sure-thing records for that "Best-Of 2013" list. Marr is one of the greatest rhythm guitarists in rock history and, with The Smiths, proved a substantial foundation builder on which Morrissey piled melodic angst. Marr has since worked with Neil Finn, The Pretenders, The Pet Shop Boys, Bernard Sumner, The Cribs and Modest Mouse with mostly intriguing results, but this album is incredible. "Generate! Generate!" and "New Town Velocity" are stunningly great and, from start to finish, the album is stuffed with tunes so hooky the whole thing has earned a warning from the CDC as dangerously infectious.

- RICK KOSTER

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