Arts and Entertainment

Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen, London

Lykke Li, Shepherd's Bush Empire, London

Floating among the dramatic black curtains and blisteringly bright lights of the stage at Shepherd's Bush Empire is Swedish electro-pop darling Lykke Li. Swooping around the stage in a vast black cloak and skimpy leotard, her movements call to mind a bizarre combination of Florence Welch and the masked killer from the Scream film franchise, while her voice mixes the plaintive upper register of Kate Bush with the quirky charm of Björk. Contrasts are a prevalent feature of Li's show, yet the same shifts which make it distinctive also make it a gig of mixed successes.

Caught in the Net: Panda Bear is back on the prowl

Ranking music in any league table-like format has always seemed vaguely pointless, but regardless I'm willing to argue the toss with anyone that Panda Bear's 2007 album Person Pitch was one of the best of the last five years (it would certainly challenge for a Champions League place).

Jesca Hoop, The Ballroom, Brighton

The sublime flowering of a late bloomer

The Pierces, Bush Hall, London

The recent history of hotly-tipped Alabaman sisters The Pierces contains nearly every conceivable peak and trough, from the depths of being dropped by their record label to the heights of touring with Coldplay. Their story borders on cinematic cliché at times, but it seems that experience has brought the best out of Catherine and Allison; a decade after their first album was released, they're grabbing the attention their perseverance richly merits.

Music & Me: Dave i.d.

Genre-mashing post punk meets ambient artist Dave i.d. takes time out from recording his debut album to talk to Music Magazine.

Mick Karn: Innovative bass-player with the esoteric early-Eighties band Japan

Synthesizers and drum machines might have dominated the music of the early Eighties, but the bass guitar also became prominent at the start of the decade that taste forgot.

Future Beauty - 30 years of Japanese fashion

The first European exhibition to comprehensively survey avante-garde Japanese fashion from the 1980s to now opens at the Barbican Art Gallery next week.

Sarah Sands: First love is best left in the past, unmourned

Fame creates an aura of association. The name Steve Blacknell means nothing to me and Kate Bush will leave most people under 40 blank but, if we say the first boyfriend of the musical predecessor of Florence Welch, we are in business. Blacknell is selling a teenage love letter from Bush, claiming that he is the subject of her song "The Man with the Child in His Eyes".

The Bees, Bush Hall, London

The Bees are back and the world is suddenly a better place. It's three years since the blessed Isle of Wight sextet came up with a new album, which might be the blink of an eye compared with the timescale on which a Blue Nile or a Kate Bush operates, but for fans of these free-spirited embracers of soul, jazz, and psychedelia it's been an anxious wait.

Album: Klaxons, Surfing the Void, Polydor

Klaxons are back – but has the nu-rave crowd moved on?

Cultural Life: Tricky, musician

Books: I've just started reading 'The Black Hand' by Chris Blatchford. It's a biography of a guy who dissented from the Mexican Mafia. Reading it you can tell he was super-intelligent and could have had a very different life. I've also been reading Freddie Foreman's autobiography. He was one of England's biggest criminals, bigger than the Kray twins, but he didn't do the press. I've known him for 15 years – he's a good friend of mine, and it's always interesting reading about someone you know.

Electric Eden: Unearthing Britain's Visionary Music, By Roby Young

Upwards of 600 pages long, fanatically engrossed in its subject matter, covering a century of native musical culture in the minutest detail, Electric Eden has a symbolic high point that can be dated to 1975. With the entity known as "progressive rock" (Genesis, Pink Floyd, Yes etc) grown tediously overblown, and punk the faintest of stirrings on an unregarded horizon, this was the annus mirabilis of the English folk-rock group, Steeleye Span. A six-part BBC television series saw the band beamed out from a selection of historic country houses. Their stage shows became, as Rob Young puts it, "increasingly flamboyant". For "Lyke Wake Dirge" they trooped on stage wearing medieval space suits woven from priests' cassocks.

Music & Me: Midnight Juggernauts

The first record I bought was...
A used dog-eared LP of Cosmic Thing by The B52s.

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