Arts and Entertainment Tom Odell: 'Every band needs a vibe guy to bring up the energy'

'Every band needs a vibe guy to bring up the energy'

Album: Elton John & Leon Russell, Union (Mercury)

Back on the cusp of the 1970s, a young Elton John was making his American debut at Los Angeles' legendary Troubadour club, where he was thrilled to meet his idol Leon Russell, the saturnine pianist then on the verge of establishing his own solo career after a decade as a sought-after session man.

Album: Charles Lloyd Quartet, Mirror (ECM)

You can't help but read the valedictory into 72-year- old Lloyd's new album with Jason Moran on piano, Reuben Rogers, bass, and Eric Harland, drums.

Album: Brian Wilson, Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin (Disney Pearl Series)

It's no surprise to find the Great Arranger of his era tackling the Great American Songbook; but sadly, the absence of surprise also applies to the bulk of the treatments here, which err on the side of schmaltz.

Dylan Jones: 'As soon as I got home, I played my CD of Californian ocean sounds with the Beach Boys over the top'

Twenty years ago, almost to the very day, I was in Carmel in California, about to have dinner at Clint Eastwood's restaurant, the Hog's Breath Inn (at the time he was the town's mayor). As I walked down through the centre of town, I passed one of those generic New Age shops, selling everything from Grateful Dead posters to lava lamps. It also sold CDs of ocean sounds, California ocean sounds to boot. And as I have been in love with the idea of the California ocean from the age of about 10, I had to buy one.

Everybody's gone surfing (but the Hawaiian purists are upset )

The Beach Boys started it. Not the falsetto West Coast songsters of "Surfing USA", but the Hawaiian watermen who still act as board caddies and gurus to visiting mid-managers and their families in from Des Moines, trying out the forgiving waves of Waikiki for the first time. Back in the late 1950s they would paddle out to the break and tow the tourists into position. But they needed a way of getting out there with a camera and a cigarette too. So stand-up paddleboarding, or SUP, was born. The original beach boys would equip themselves with not just a long, wide board but a wooden paddle, and would then use it to steer around the break, into and out of the waves, remaining upright all or most of the time.

Album: Department of Eagles, Archive 2003-2006 (Co Op)

Former NYU room-mates Daniel Rossen and Fred Nicolaus began life as a muck-about band who, inspired by Brian Wilson and Van Dyke Parks' Smile, locked themselves into an expensive studio they could barely operate.

Album: Larsen B, Musketeer (Old Radio Tunes)

Larsen B are a trio from the Hertfordshire town of Wheathampstead, which they choose to refer to by its Domesday name of Watamestede, signal whimsy.

Album: Blitzen Trapper, Destroyer of the Void (Sub Pop)

Longer but less potent and focused than last year's seven-track "Black River Killer" EP, Destroyer of the Void finds Portland, Oregon's Blitzen Trapper vacillating between the chamber-folk Americana of songs like "Below the Hurricane" and "The Man Who Would Speak True" and the more complex psych-rock of "Laughing Lover", whose serpentine melody and enigmatic lyric recalls Portland close neighbours The Shins.

The Besnard Lakes, The Legion, London

The Besnard Lakes, a quartet fronted by a husband-and-wife songwriting duo, hail from the same musically fertile land of Montreal in Canada as Arcade Fire, Broken Social Scene, The Dears, and Stars. Like their peers, they boast an experimental and artful slant to their rock music. This is the last show in a short tour to promote their latest, third album, The Besnard Lakes are the Roaring Night, an intoxicating shoegazey set of tracks which immerse the listener in a heavy-reverb wall of sound reminiscent of My Bloody Valentine, with the melodious harmonies of The Beach Boys.

The Magic Numbers, The Pigalle Club, London

The Magic Numbers are back. Yes, that four-piece with lots of hair and impressive beards (half of them, anyway), who back in 2005 made people smile with the jangle-guitar and brother-sister harmonies of their eponymous debut.

Panda Bear, Heaven, London

Noah Lennox, aka Panda Bear, broke through in the UK as a solo artist in 2007 with his third album, Person Pitch. Then last year his band Animal Collective performed the same feat with their latest neo-psychedelic LP, Merriweather Post Pavilion. In the meantime, Lennox has become a much in-demand collaborator.

Album: The Magnetic Fields, Realism (Nonesuch)

Dear listener, if you're expecting something simple and cheery...

Album: Animal Collective, Campfire Songs (Paw Tracks)

Reissued in the wake of Animal Collective's 2009 breakthrough, Campfire Songs dates from a time (2003) when they still had not settled upon that name for the band, but were operating under the sobriquet which eventually became the album title.

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