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Ought, Dream Wife, and more new and noteworthy 

Ought, Room Inside the World
  • Ought, Room Inside the World
Ought, Room Inside the World (Merge) – It’s a shame the inevitable hipster backlash has hit Montreal art-rockers Ought just as their third studio album Room Inside the World brings them close to perfection. Ought not only raises the bar here with perfectly executed riffs, but singer Tim Darcy communicates with a more clearly personal and political directness, as evidenced by songs like “Disgraced in America.” Ignore the whiners; Ought’s the real deal.

Dream Wife, Dream Wife
  • Dream Wife, Dream Wife
Dream Wife, Dream Wife (Cannibal Hymns) – Two British women and an Icelandic pal, students at Brighton University, decided to make a spoof band as an art project. Before they knew it, the trio could actually play their instruments, and developed a pop-driven sound melding New York Dolls, Pussy Riot, and The Runaways. Even if there’s a hint of a sarcastic wink remaining in their music, the shrieking punk delivery of “Let’s Make Out” and “Love Without Reason” tells the listener that Dream Wife wants to be taken seriously.

Superchunk, What a Time to be Alive
  • Superchunk, What a Time to be Alive
Superchunk, What a Time to be Alive (Merge) – For 30 years, Merge Records founders Mac McCaughan and Laura Ballance fronted this North Carolina band, which has functioned as an indie-music version of Seinfeld: rocking steady about nothing much. But their 11th studio album finds them railing against the new government. The strong track “Reagan Youth” reminds us that we’ve seen this movie before, and that They Might Be Giants were right in “Your Racist Friend”: Sometimes you must reject friends who have become monsters.

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