Indy: Seeing that your newest album, In Bocca al Lupo, is composed of 12 short-stories-as-songs, I've got to ask: Are you guys big readers? Do you set out to make literate, narrative rock?
MA: The songs form as stories first, then become musical after that. Generally, what happens is we come up with a starting and ending point, and knock our heads together in between.
Indy: What were you guys beforehand? Did you have the traditional hanging-out-in-a-basement roots?
MA: When we first started out, we definitely wanted to be kind of pretty and kind of weird. A punk cover band in a college town we wanted to be something that wasn't that.
Indy: Do you guys feel out of place in your generation? If you're writing songs about Satan harassing colonial Western towns, you seem to want to separate yourself from everything 2007 ...
MA: Yes and no. People think we're like, "Oh, we're super-smart and everything we do is very deliberate," but it's not that bad. Mostly, we don't want to be lumped in with all the stuff that's happening now we're not emo, we're not metal.
Indy: How did you guys respond to online music magazine Pitchfork Media's damning review?
MA (laughs): It was funny, because it seemed like the only thing they had a problem with was our storytelling. We said we made all of this up we know we didn't actually fight the devil! Anyone knows that.
At Denver's Ogden Theatre, Aug. 16.