The surrealistic musings of Andrew Bird—laced with references to palindromes, mitosis, neural walls, a cosmonaut, bile, and the Scythian empire—are only slightly less esoteric then his resolutely quirky, exquisitely crafted music. Lapping up against his often-languorous voice and pungent, echoey whistling, Bird's fine-grained music is an enigmatic blend of chamber pop (he's a classically trained violinist) and skewed traces of folk, classic jazz, samba, and vintage British pop that has been layered, looped, and lashed. After several jazzier albums under the moniker Bowl of Fire, Bird solidified his virulent cult following with a couple of gems: 2005's The Mysterious Production of Eggs, and this year's Armchair Apocrypha (Fat Possum), a fantasy-etched, existential meditation on pending apocalypse. The Chicago native also strengthened his local ties, recording most of Armchair in Minneapolis with an extensive array of locals, including now-regular band members Martin Dosh and Jeremy Ylvisaker, co-producer Ben Durrant, engineer Tom Herbers, and singer Haley Bonar. This two-night run at the Guthrie, with solo and band sets, might seem almost like returning to the nest.
Dec. 14-15, 7:30 p.m., 2007