Rock and roll is generally about magnifying power; instead, Mike Hadreas amps up vulnerability. That can be powerful, too: witness the mighty shiver of a croon throughout his second LP (not to mention that homoerotic ad for it that YouTube cowardly refused). Violence and creepy sex haunt these sparse songs; "string it up on a fence/cover it with semen," Hadreas intones on the suicide-conjuring "17." While potent, his voice is a limited instrument, and the best songs here push past his debut's piano-student minimalism into full-on girl-group drama. In "Hood" and "Take Me Home," fears of bruises and sexual failure shrink beneath the scariest power of all: real love.
• Photos: Random Notes