DeVotchKa, A Mad And Faithful Telling (Anti-): "Transliterator" wins song of the month, the blustery high point of this disc, and one where DeVotchKa gets so on top of its sounds that it gets harder to pick out the different bits. Gypsy, mariachi, romantic old movie scores may all figure in, but it's all swept together by Nick Urata, a much more powerful songwriter than I'd noticed before.
During their show here, those two fish got stabbed by another fish. You could probably take it for granted now that more bands are layering on more instruments, opening up their song structures, and blending pop sweetness with weird abstraction, yet Make A Rising fills it with all these eerie crawlspaces, making for complicated music that never quite crowds out the wondrous and stretched-out hooks.
Destroyer, Trouble In Dreams (Merge): Less like Rubies, more like Streethawk, no complaints.
Random-ass discovery: Of all things The New York Times has a songwriting blog called Measure for Measure. Because songwriters are a breed of people who need yet more excuses to dwell on their own problems. At any rate, Andrew Bird's contribution is already pretty intriguing.
Shows of the month: Circles with El Valiente and The Cemetery Improvment Society; Colony Of Watts with Zebras; Jonathan Richman; The Runners-Up; The Magnetic Fields; Ladyhawk; Make A Rising; X; Retribution Gospel Choir; Black Mountain; Jens Lekman; The Weakerthans; Black Moth Super Rainbow; Phosphorescent with A Catapult Western and Vid Libert.