Arts and Entertainment Ke$ha should be given more creative freedom, according to fans

Online petition with 1,300 signatures suggests producer Dr Luke should stop producing hit singles for the star

Beyonce, Echo Arena, Liverpool<br/>
The Flaming Lips, Troxy, London

It's professional and all a bit plastic, but Beyonce still glisters in her bustle

Observations: Flaming Lips keep it in the family with the man from uncle's band

The Flaming Lips are keeping it in the family as they tour their latest album. In support are the previously unheralded Stardeath and White Dwarfs, though look closely and you will find uncanny similarities between the two bands. Their young singer's high-pitched, childlike quality owes much to Lips frontman Wayne Coyne and, indeed, shares his surname. For Dennis Coyne is none other than Wayne's nephew.

Album: Miike Snow, Miike Snow, (Columbia)

Miike Snow is not a man. Miike Snow is, in fact, two men: the band alias of Swedish duo Christian Karlsson and Pontus Winnberg, whose CD sleeves are annoyingly damage-prone cut-outs of the mythical jackalope.

A flip of the Coyne: The Flaming Lips singer and 'nicest man in rock' shows his dark, difficult side

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

The Word on....

The Flaming Lips, 'Embryonic'

Album: The Flaming Lips, Embryonic (Warner Bros)

The Lips are reborn &ndash; with freak-outs in place of songs

Caught in the net: Storyteller bares his soul

The novelist Jonathan Lethem once remarked: "Who was it that said, 'All art aspires to the condition of music'? It's like the pure art. I just try to make the prose as musical as I can."

The return of concept album

Concept albums used to be the most hideous emblem of conceit in rock bands, so why are they now acceptable? By Fiona Sturges

Observations: Dancing under the covers at new Shoreditch club night

The chirps, buzzes, choral harmonies and fuzzy bass-lines of the Los Angeles synth-pop duo the Bird & the Bee's cover of Rihanna's floor-filler "Don't Stop the Music" epitomise the soundtrack at Cover to Cover, a new club night in London's Shoreditch. The idea behind the night, held in the Queen of Hoxton on Curtain Road, is piled on zeal for great cover versions. We're not talking Mike Flowers on "Wonderwall", more Ian Brown murmuring through "Thriller" or "Billy Jean", or the Bronx – a hardcore outfit from Brooklyn – bouncing along to Prince's "I Would Die for You".

Album: Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band, Between My Head and the Sky (Chimera Music)

Advancing age clearly poses less of a barrier to pop success than in previous eras, as the recent chart placings of Bob Dylan and the Beatles can confirm.

Caught in the Net: Nu-folkers bare their teeth

You could call it the alt-folk answer to the 80s supergroup Traveling Wilburys. Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst, My Morning Jacket's Jim James, M Ward and the much-in-demand producer Mike Mogis have teamed up to form a new band called (with collective tongue in cheek) Monsters of Folk (left). The quartet's self-titled debut album arrives in late September. In advance of that, their first roar has arrived. Called 'Say Please', it largely dispenses with the folk and goes for more of a mid-tempo country rock feel. They're giving it away for free at www.monstersoffolk.com – all you have to do is say please, or more accurately, type "please". Granted, the Traveling Wilburys comparison is glib, but to compound it a little, consider this: for the group, Jim James is calling himself Yim Yames, for reasons unclear. It's a pseudonym he has also used for another recent project – 'Tribute To', a six-track EP of George Harrison covers, he of Traveling Wilburys among others. It gets a physical release on 4 August, but a digital version of it can be found at www.yimyames.com.

Album: Iron And Wine, Around the Well (Sub Pop)

Sam Beam's output as Iron And Wine has been so scattered across various formats that he's the exception that proves the rule about mop-up compilations of outtakes and B-sides not being worth the bytes bitten off to burn them.

DVD: The Flaming Lips, Christmas on Mars, (Warner Bros)

A woman incubating a foetus in a yolk sac? A marching band with vaginas for heads? It could only be the Flaming Lips' movie debut. It's Christmas Eve, and the crew of a Mars research base are going slowly mad.

MGMT, The Forum, London

Of all the Brooklyn exports to the British music scene, MGMT span the most musical generations with their blend of Sixties synth-fuelled psychedelia, Bowie influences and rock. That tickets for tonight sold out in June and touts are selling them for £100 outside is testimony to their meteoric rise.

Mikachu - wacky pop for now people

She trained at the Purcell School, and now Mikachu counts Björk as an admirer. By Marcus O'Dair
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Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn