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Over the years, singer-songwriter Lloyd Cole hasn’t so much reinvented as recast himself. The former leader of the Commotions was a reluctant pop star in the ’80s, a lost one for part of the ’90s, and a diehard DIY-ist throughout the ’00s. It’s a long way from Top of the Pops in 1985 to mailing out your own self-released records in 2010, but that’s where Cole found himself—by choice—last year. Broken Record has all of Cole’s trademarks—intelligent lyrics, instant hooks, and a voice so glowing it could warm amphibian blood—but none of the over-reaching that sometimes affected his ’90s work, or the bedroom atmosphere that colored much of this past decade’s output. In other words, it’s a full-blooded pop record, not unlike what Cole did with the Commotions, but made completely on his own terms.
Lloyd Cole Small Ensemble performs at 7:30 p.m. at the Birchmere, 3701 Mt. Vernon Ave., Alexandria. $25.