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Johnny Marr

Johnny Marr.

Johnny Marr could've retired with his legacy secure after leaving the Smiths in the late 1980s.

The Manchester native's guitar work on classic records with frontman Morrissey blended highly melodic, jangling arpeggios with a tougher rhythmic attack derived from punk.

It was a distinctly British style, both cathartic and pretty, that indie rock guitarists still cribb from today.

He's forged ahead, though, joining the similarly idiosyncratic guitars in Modest Mouse, and releasing a series of solo albums where he's stepped up to lead vocals.

His new record, "Playland," was released in October on New Voodoo Records. While there's a Britpop sheen to the production that might be a little too slick, Marr's way with a memorable guitar line remains in full force on tracks on the uptempo "25 Hours," and message-track "Easy Money."

The dreamier "Dynamo" shows his strength with a solo and a memorable, slow-building vocal melody.

Marr will perform on Monday, Dec. 1, at the Top Hat Lounge, 134 W. Front St. The opening act is Meredith Sheldon. The 18-and-up show will start at 8 p.m. Tickets are $30, available at

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