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: Animal Collective, Fall Be Kind (Domino)

A generously-proportioned five-track EP, Fall Be Kind employs the same loop-based methods as Animal Collective's popular Merriweather Post Pavilion, but here used to create a more crepuscular, aptly autumnal atmosphere.

Paul Wendkos: Director who made his name as a pioneer of made-for-television films

Paul Wendkos, who has died aged 84, had the misfortune of seeing his first Hollywood film become a massive hit. Gidget (1959) starred Sandra Dee as the eponymous 16-year-old “girl midget”, a prototype “beach bunny” chasing fun and romance among California’s surfers. It marked the beginnings of the surf craze which encompassed pop music typified by the Beach Boys and a slew of movies, including two Gidget sequels which Wendkos also directed. Trapped at Columbia Studios, Wendkos never directed a major feature, or had another big hit, but became a mainstay of episodic television, and in the 1970s carved out a substantial career as one of the first, and best, directors of “made-for-television” movies.

Heroes and Villians, By David Hajdu

This meaty collection of musical essays ranges from Sammy Davis Jr via the Beach Boys to Philip Glass. The opening appraisal of the unfortunate Billy Eckstein, a singer and bandleader adored by Miles Davis, disinters a forgotten genius.

Girls, Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen, London

Like Love or A, Girls (who are actually comprised of two men) are one of those infuriatingly difficult bands to search for on the internet. Once you've sifted through some of the more risqué sites and perhaps made a couple of awkward wrong turns, you'll come across one of the most simple and heartbreaking bands around.

Album: The Raveonettes, In and Out of Control, (Fierce Panda)

This Danish duo has always had a sombre and uniquely Nordic take on 1960s Americana, the inevitable result of listening to the Beach Boys in a country where it's too chilly to surf.

Brian Wilson, Roundhouse, London

Drowned in surfer pop

Speaking words of wisdom: Should The Beatles let it be?

It's expensive and it's said to be a revelation. But is the £200 Beatles remasters a con trick? Andy Gill has the first listen and gives the (negative) verdict

Ellie Greenwich: Co-writer of such pop classics as ‘Da Doo Ron Ron’, ‘Be My Baby’ and ‘Leader Of The Pack’

The New York songwriter Ellie Greenwich composed some of the best-known, most loved and most covered hits of the Sixties, often with her then husband Jeff Barry and the legendary “Wall Of Sound” producer Phil Spector. This three-way partnership created the enduring pop classics “Da Doo Ron Ron” as well as “And Then He Kissed Me” for the Crystals, “Be My Baby” and “Baby, I Love You” for the Ronettes, and “River Deep, Mountain High” for Ike & Tina Turner – all produced by Spector – and also “Chapel Of Love”, a hit for the Dixie Cups in 1964, and “I Can Hear Music”, a UK Top Ten single for the Beach Boys in 1969.

My Fantasy Band - Ian Broudie Lightning Seeds

Vocals - Johnny Cash and John Lennon
I think if they'd sung together they would have been magic. They're my heroes. They both had fantastic careers but both went through complete reawakenings and had second halves. Cash went on to work with Rubin on American Recordings and Lennon came out of the Beatles and made 'Imagine'. They both did it, then did it again.

Grizzly Bear, Koko, London

So, Grizzly Bear are a pretty cool band to name-drop in 2009, and with good reason. Their stunning third album, Veckatimest, is already being touted as one of the albums of the year and they have received public gushing endorsements from a number of acts, including Fleet Foxes and Radiohead. And yet they seem more surprised than anyone that their complex brand of experimental folk-pop is such a winner, and that they're now playing venues the size of KOKO.

Lost in music: The peculiar life of Brian Wilson

He is one of the towering geniuses of popular music, and the creator of some of the most memorable records of all time. But life has not been easy for Brian Wilson. And, as John Walsh discovers, interviewing the great man is no simple task either ...

Katy Holland: Surf's up! Time to teach my beach boys how to take to the waves

Are we there yet? It's exhilarating to spend so much time in the sea, even if you do end up drinking most of it

Album: Grizzly Bear, Veckatimest (Warp)

Veckatimest represents a huge step forward from 2006's Yellow House for Grizzly Bear, whose psychedelia-laced folk-rock suddenly seems perfectly of the moment, in the wake of the successes of Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes and Arcade Fire.

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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
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Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
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Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

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Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

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Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
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