MT. WILSON REPEATER: Mt. Wilson Repeater [Eastern Fiction]

Even though a sizable chunk of the indie community worships the Radar Bros., the L.A. outfit’s narcotic qualities typically prove perilous to anyone whose idea of rock ’n’ roll involves anything beyond lightly drumming one’s fingers upon the recliner. Which is why head brother Jim Putnam’s nom du psych, Mt. Wilson Repeater, comes as such a shock. While this debut retains some of the mothership’s languid elements (these lush, electronic-tinged compositions don’t so much embrace psychedelia’s interstellar overdrive as they indulge a deep-space drift), there’s an edgy undercurrent that’s anything but dirgelike. Opener “Canmtady” is a melodic mélange of fizzy guitars, undulating synths and shuddery shakers that, with Putnam’s yearning voice, could pass for classic Yo La Tengo. “Out Country Way” is strummy and sunny, with hissing percussion, a French horn and off-kilter singing; think Flaming Lips on a minimalist trip. Among the instrumentals are soundtrack-worthy vistas, nods to techno and the occasional foray into Talk Talk-styled musique concréte. Resurfacing throughout, however, are guitar (often a kind of slack-key or slide style) and piano, so even at his most machine-centric, Putnam makes sure there’s a human heart beating at the core of his songs. []

—Fred Mills