Brian Wilson Gives Pet Sounds Good Sounds

Brian Wilson’s appearances in New Orleans didn’t promise a lot before he played the Saenger on the Pet Sounds 50th anniversary tour Wednesday night. The narrative when he played Jazz Fest in 2005 was that Wilson wasn’t as damaged as he used to be, and that often seemed true enough. The show was impressive, but more because of the chops his band brought to the table than anything he robotically sang.

The Breton Sound Owns its Ambition

The Breton Sound plays arena-sized rock in indie-sized rooms. Many of the band’s models are pop classicists—The Beatles, The Beach Boys, The Monkees, Big Star—but the results are closer in spirit and sound to Weezer and Foo Fighters. It’s no coincidence that when the band performed a couple of Desert Island Disc shows last year, they covered Pinkerton and The Colour & The Shape from end to end.

The High Llamas Rattle the Trees

Part-time Stereolab collaborator Sean O'Hagan has found full expression of his Beach Boy impulses as well as his love of low-tech drones in The High Llamas. Almost everything the band does can be summed up by the title of its 1998 album, Cold and Bouncy. There's a remoteness in the band's love of retro electronic elements and an organic warmth in its Smile-like orchestrations.

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