Near the top of the bill at Field Day and one of the BBC's Sounds of 2012, the group should be in raptures – but, they tell Gillian Orr, they have a morbid streak, too
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With his tenor voice and exciting trombone playing, Bob Flanigan was a key part and long-serving member of the Four Freshmen.
In 1964 three unrelated Americans, Scott Engel, John Maus and Gary Leeds became the Walker Brothers, and once settled in London had No 1 hits with "Make It Easy On Yourself" and "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore". Their slow, cavernous, heavily orchestrated recordings were highly distinctive and Scott and John's voices merged together well. In 1965-66, Walkermania was not far behind Beatlemania.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
Dear listener, if you're expecting something simple and cheery...
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.
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 ...
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
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.