It starts so well. For the first few minutes of their third album, My Little Cheap Dictaphone – a Belgian band led by Redboy – mine the same rich seam of vintage sounds as the Real Tuesday Weld and the Shortwave Set, creating a haunted junkshop feel.
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.
Maroon 5 are huge but credibility eludes them. Gillian Orr asks Adam Levine, their frontman, if all the trite songs and videos about women might be to blame
Readers review this week's album
Arcade Fire's first album catapulted the unconventional Canadian outfit into the rock stratosphere, drawing eulogies from Springsteen, Bowie, Byrne and more. Six years later, their third album is awaited with bated breath. Andy Gill sets the scene for the release of the year
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.
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.
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
An Arcade Fire tour is a celebrated but rare occurrence. While we eagerly await the Canadian indie-rock band's next UK appearance, a documentary of the band is being released on DVD on Monday, which shows live footage. The band made a documentary of the making and touring of their 2007 album Neon Bible. Miroir Noir, directed by the band's friend and collaborator Vincent Morisset and shot by Vincent Moon. The 70-minute film shows the band on the road, live onstage and at work in the studio. It also features short films made while they were touring. The film can also be downloaded at www.miroir-noir.com
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.
The Glastonbury headliners of 2011 (probably)
Arcade Fire blow themselves out of the water