Album: Laura Veirs, July Flame (Bella Union)

There are quirky female singer-songwriters in the indie-rock idiom and there's Veirs, who is idiomatic only in the sense that she uses funny tunings, blues-free harmony, never swings and never calls a spade a spade when she can avoid the subject altogether.

This is an obliquely beautiful record, as they tend to be. Poetic and simple. Arrangements have been distilled around Veirs' acoustic; we get strings and odd instruments but seldom the sense that a band is at work. Just softness, hush and twining melody.