The world isn’t exactly hurting for side projects from members of C-list indie-rock outfits, but John Atkins, guitarist with Seattle’s 764-HERO, makes a pretty good case for the cause on his first album with the Magic Magicians. A duo with Black Heart Procession drummer Joe Plummer, the band claim they set out to emulate the crunchy, sparkling pop of perennial ’70s heroes Big Star and T. Rex in writing the 10 dashed-off ditties on Girls, and the result is an engaging complement to the claustrophobically moody lullabies each member plays in his primary band. There’s a likable modesty about these songs, the bottled-lightning charm of a couple of friends just getting together to jam through a few tunes that might otherwise never have seen the light of day. Atkins does a swishy Bowie impression in the disc’s glitterbomb opener, " I’m on Your Side, " and Sleater-Kinney’s Janet Weiss drops some fatback electric piano into " Bored Ticket Taker. " Occasionally the duo’s reach exceeds their grasp, but that’s sort of the point of a side project like Magic Magicians.