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Two-sentence album reviews on MGMT, New Pornographers, Rafter and more

Two Short

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MGMT, Congratulations (Columbia)

After the undeniably infectious singles "Kids" and "Electric Feel" made an overnight sensation of their debut, Oracular Spectacular, MGMT try to bring on the sophomore slump with a '60s garage-homage follow-up, mostly devoid of synths and completely devoid of singles. Despite the band's gestures of self-sabotage, the record — with its organ-drenched psychedelic clutter, flutes and reverb overdose — is a fantastic and challenging listen, for listeners who still fancy being challenged. AG

The New Pornographers, Together (Matador)

Fewer proggy pirouettes than on their last effort, which is kind of too bad. But Newman is still Newman, Case is still Case, and Bejar is there to chew up the scenery when things get too dainty — i.e., is still Bejar. SH

Rafter, Animal Feelings (Asthmatic Kitty)

Are you a Spongebath Records loyalist who's still waiting on that long-lost Self record to finally drop? Well, that's probably not going to happen, so sate your cravings for meticulous, mirthfully lascivious studio pop with the latest incredibly infectious project from San Diego production wizard Rafter Roberts. DPR

Framing Hanley, Promise to Burn (SMG)

Rape-rock's little brother learns how to fake tears. And how. SH

The Dozen Dimes, Get Real With The Dozen Dimes (Self-released)

After getting off a rollercoaster ride of major-label record deals, six-figure music videos, national tours, wild nights and aborted solo projects, former Pink Spiders frontman Matt Friction embraces his affinity for traditional doo-wop. Recorded soon after their inception and released just as quickly, the band's slapdash debut is a rollicking 33-minute burst of barbershop harmonies, love-letter lyrics and sugar-coated hooks that sees Friction setting his time machine for 1962 instead of 1977. AG

Tracy Thorn, Love and Its Opposite (Merge)

So it turns out the mom living down at the end of that shady suburban street can write songs —spare, lucid, painfully lived-in songs that ache and smirk. Oh, and once upon a time she used to be in Everything but the Girl. SH

Stereo Total, Baby Ouh! (Disko B/Kill Rock Stars)

If you can make it through the bleeps, bloops, quirks and multilingual madness of the first three tracks, you'll probably fall in love with it. It's everything you'd expect from a cutesy, prolific, European bizarro-pop duo. DPR

Hannah Barbarians, Gliding Dirty (EP)

Nashville's most underrated art-rockers finally release an EP of the lopsided rhythms, haunting melodies and dueling post-punk licks that make them an idiosyncratic force to be reckoned with in a landscape of fakers. It rocks. AG


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