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My '80s jones has been back with a vengeance lately, so the iPod is not hurting for Depeche Mode, the Cure, Echo & the Bunnymen, Elvis Costello, the Cramps, the Pogues, the Smiths, Social Distortion, the Jesus & Mary Chain, Jane's Addiction or Sisters of Mercy. Rhino's three-disc A Life Less Lived anthology now warms my black little Goth heart at least once or twice a day, while Uncle Tupelo, Radiohead and Monster Magnet represent for the '90s.

In retrospect, though, for someone whose general opinion of contemporary music could be a lot higher, the most surprising thing is that a healthy chunk of my iPod's memory is occupied by music from this ­decade: Wilco, Spoon, the White Stripes, My Morning Jacket, the Black Keys, Arcade Fire, Queens of the Stone Age, Interpol, Rilo Kiley, the Raconteurs, TV on the Radio and recent albums from Bob Dylan, Mudcrutch (a.k.a. Tom Petty), John Fogerty and Metallica.

I even found room for a few of the better 2009 albums I've heard so far: Scottish SXSW heroes Glasvegas's self-titled debut, Neil Young's hardscrabble Fork in the Road, Heartless Bastards' soul-searing The Mountain and U2's No Line on the Horizon, which is growing on me at such a clip that I expect to love it as much as Achtung Baby (which is also on there, of course) by the time the band supposedly plays Reliant Stadium in October.

Henry David Thoreau once wrote, "Silence is the universal refuge...a balm to our every chagrin." I don't know what the hell he was talking about, but I doubt he would have written that if he had an iPod, which makes a fine refuge its own self. In fact, as soon as I can muster the resources, I'm going to Best Buy and picking up two or three more. CHRIS GRAY

chris.gray@houstonpress.com

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