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'

Alan Livingston: President of Capitol Records who launched the Beatles in America

As the president of Capitol Records in America, Alan Livingston converted a relatively small record company into a major player, with a portfolio of artists that included Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Nat “King” Cole and the Beatles.

Album: Fredo Viola, The Turn (Because Music)

An artist for our times, Fredo Viola's "cluster" videos went viral and led to an as-yet-unreleased collaboration with Massive Attack.

Album: M Ward, Hold Time (4AD)

Each album sees Matt Ward edge closer to the mainstream, but also finds the guitarist cut further adrift from the sublime folk-blues picking that made his reputation.

Animal Collective, Koko, London

The critical and blogging hype surrounding Animal Collective's ninth album Merriweather Post Pavilion is a sure sign that the Baltimore band are on the verge of finally breaking. Music website Pitchfork gave the new album 9.6, the highest score awarded to any album since Arcade Fire's Funeral in 2004, and the album looks set to hit the Top 10 – impressive for an experimental band that plays a mainstream-shy mash-up of electronica, prog, psychedelia, folk and techno, and which had previously only dented the Top 200

Album: Animal Collective, Merriweather Post Pavilion, (Domino)

Accosted by Leslie Crowther in the supermarket aisle and cajoled into doing the taste test, you'd swear that 'Merriweather Post Pavilion' was a Mercury Rev record.

Hit & Run: Lost in music

It's tempting to hope that The Beatles' fabled 14-minute track "Carnival of Light", which Paul McCartney wants to release 41 years after its recording, will be a magnificent avant-garde assemblage of noise. But the truth is that just because it was John, Paul, George and Ringo wandering around the studio banging things and shouting "Barcelona!" doesn't mean the result will be a masterpiece, no matter how often McCartney mentions Karlheinz Stockhausen. It was never released because the other Beatles thought it "too adventurous". This is the same band that would release such fare as "Revolution 9" on The White Album, so chances are that "too adventurous" was their way of gently letting Paul know that "Carnival of Light" was a bit rubbish.

Bellowhead: Bringing the fun back to folk music

The group which made English folk music fashionable again now want Morris dancing to be in the Olympics

San Diego: An oasis of indulgence

In Southern California, where the desert meets the Pacific, you'll find San Diego, a city that combines opulence with stunning scenery. Simon Calder is suitably dazzled

Just why is beach volleyball in the Olympics?

Now, look, this will probably be an unpopular piece - but can someone explain to me again why beach volleyball is in the Olympics?

Album: Pacific! Reveries (Half Machine)

Pacific! thoroughly live up to their name. Not in the oceanic sense but in the adjectival one: they pacify you. 'Reveries', the Swedish electro-pop duo's idyllic debut album, sounds as if you're being serenaded by an unusually benign robot.

Album: Dr Dog, Fate (Park the Van)

Album number five for the Philadelphia-based quintet and critical opinion Stateside is divided: 'Entertainment Weekly' declared 'Fate' an "expertly honed tribute to the past", while 'Slant' magazine called it "phenomenally uninteresting".

Wind surfing: First there was romance in the air, now rivalry puts wind up Dempsey

As if Chrissie and Greg were not enough to have the non-sporting media abuzz, we had better prepare for a surfeit of Nick and Sarah and Love Boat headlines.

Heaven knows our music's miserable now

What with the miserable summer weather and seemingly endless threats of economic meltdown, people could be forgiven for feeling a little down in the dumps. All across the country wallets are being tightened, Benidorm forsaken for Bognor, M&S traded for Primark.

Jerry Cole: Surf guitarist

In the 1960s, Jerry Cole was one of America's most prolific guitarists, turning his hand to surf music, rock, country, jazz and blues and playing on sessions for Brian Wilson and Phil Spector. He would replace less proficient group members at recordings, making the acts sound better than they were.

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Stephanie first after her public appearance as a woman at Rad Fest 2014
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Oscar Pistorius is led out of court in Pretoria. Pistorius received a five-year prison sentence for culpable homicide by judge Thokozile Masipais for the killing of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp
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Sister Cristina Scuccia sings 'Like a Virgin' in Venice
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Like Madonna, Sister Cristina Scuccia's video is also set in Venice

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Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album