RADAR BROTHERS
The Fallen Leaf Pages
(Merge)
***

With their comfortably strummed psychedelic riffs and hazy harmonies, the Radar Brothers bear a striking similarity to Pink Floyd, at least in terms of compositional cosmetics. However, this Los Angeles-based quartet replaces that group's grandiose concept-album constructions with sophisticatedly simple chamber-pop nuggets. On The Fallen Leaf Pages, the group's fourth album, muscle-relaxed melodies pulse like the leisurely heartbeat of a summer-afternoon snoozer, and singer Jim Putnam drowsily stretches his syllables. However, there's a subtle darkness to the guitar lines, and the lyrics, filled with wounded animals and injured emotions, are anything but soothing. "You've traveled so far to die in my arms," Putnam croons, delivering a poignant eulogy for a butterfly. Later, he asks "Hey, is that blood?" during a call-and-response chorus; the backing vocalists respond with a jarringly incongruous round of upbeat "ahh"s. The steady parade of slow-moving hooks can be entrancing, an effect enhanced by Putnam's use of reiteration. When he patiently pleads "remember to remember to remember," or repeats "again" while a note hovers and fades, the songs seem to transcend their three-minute time frames. ANDREW MILLER

The Radar Brothers perform Tues April 12 at Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E Burnside, 9 pm, $8

ANDREW BIRD
The Mysterious Production of Eggs
(Righteous Babe)
***1/2

The dashing Andrew Bird appears to have a G4 PowerBook-sized cache of musical history knowledge floating around in his brain. A singer, a songwriter, a prodigious violinist, a performer in the Squirrel Nut Zippers--he is all these things, and presumably more. His albums reflect a huge array of influences, from early 20th-century swing, to Elizabethan chamber orchestration, to slurry early Tom Waits-ian balladeering. That Bird mixes these elements on The Mysterious Production of Eggs, his sixth album, without ever seeming contrived or full of himself is impressive, but it's only made possible by his dynamic songwriting. Shimmering gems like "Masterfade" and "Savoy" present melodies that are deceptively lilting, traipsing by on fluffy instrumental clouds, but catching in your head at the last second and growing roots inside, like dandelion seeds. Other tracks--like "Opposite Day," with its eerie synth strains and cartoonish bass blatts--are more experimental but no less accessible. Bird's oddball lyrics ("The game is rigged, go fig your / slide show tanked / and your flagship sank / so we're taking all our myths to the bank…") serve more as a backdrop than anything meaningful, but in that, the lyrics are an instrument in themselves--one more row in his many-acred musical cornfield. JUSTIN WESCOAT SANDERS
Andrew Bird performs April 9 at Doug Fir Lounge, 830 E Burnside, 9 pm, $10-$12

****Motor Psycho
*** The Wild One
** Easy Rider
* The Motorcycle Diaries