LA's Radar Brothers is the brainchild of lead singer/songwriter/guitarist Jim Putnam, himself the child of Bill Putnam, founder of Universal Audio and one of the "fathers of modern recording." Thus, any one of Radar Brothers' five previous LPs bares the hallmark of impeccable engineering, and their latest is no exception: Putnam's plaintive folk-rock sounds right at home within The Illustrated Garden's warm analog walls. What's changed is the line-up: the original Radar Brothers parted ways following the release of 2008's Auditorium, going off to attend Radar College or enlisting in the Radar Army or, in the case of bassist Senon Williams, cross-town psych outfit Dengue Fever. Putnam quickly regrouped a new rhythm section but retained the name, presumably because he's spent so much time beneath it (snicker.)
Ten years running without a single mention in Pitchfork or Rolling Stone confirms Radar Brothers' slept-on status. Certainly their style is not groundbreaking, their persona anything but glamorous, but Jim Putnam's craftsmanship as a songwriter and in the studio has earned him a reputation as a musician's musician. He is adept at navigating the musical landscape bordered by Neil Young, Son Volt, and Grandaddy, and The Illustrated Garden is definitely located somewhere on that property. No one is promising a breakout album, but it's as good a place as any for new listeners to break in and see what's been going on under the Radar.
Radar Brothers - Horses Warriors (From The Illustrated Garden)