Arcade Fire

Arcade Fire, 02 Arena, London

I have seen Arcade Fire in a small church and in a packed Hackney Empire. Now they are bounding onstage at the O2 Arena as if born to the role. Their ascent has been rapid and has been all the more surprising given the peculiarity of their music, a bewildering panoply of strings and things. Significantly, they do not seem out of place here. As an octet, they are not dwarfed by a stage this size. The same applies to their sound.

Caught in the net: A pleasure to treasure

Last year's collaboration with Scarlett Johansson was probably more aesthetically pleasing, but music fans will likely be more excited by Pete Yorn's latest hook-up with Frank Black, aka Black Francis.

Album: Alcoholic Faith Mission, Let This Be the Last Night...(Pony)

This Brooklyn band seem as interested in the accidental creaks that sliding fingers make between forming guitar chords as the chords themselves, and presumably also delight in the moments when the signal from a mercilessly punished musical instrument goes into the red.

Basia Bulat, Underbelly, Hoxton, London

The Underbelly, a tiny pub venue cushioned by draping red velvet, makes a snug performance space. However, without a raised stage, and with constant bar chatter with which to contend, it is not the ideal spot for a solo acoustic performer.

A flip of the Coyne: The Flaming Lips singer and 'nicest man in rock'

While others have self-destructed or fallen by the wayside, psychedelic pop visionaries the Flaming Lips are still going strong after 25 years. Their frontman Wayne Coyne tells Craig McLean why, if his band stick to natural highs, toys and fancy-dress costumes, they'll never turn into 'assholes' like Arcade Fire

Album: The Decemberists, The Hazards of Love (Capitol)

Sometimes, a good idea isn't quite enough. Always a fan of 1960s British folk-rock and prog, Decemberists songwriter Colin Meloy was inspired to create this concept album by hearing Anne Briggs's rare 1966 EP The Hazards Of Love.