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
Arts and Entertainment
Banksy's 'The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' in Bristol
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Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

Voices
Stephanie first after her public appearance as a woman at Rad Fest 2014
voices

Arts and Entertainment
James Blunt's debut album Back to Bedlam shot him to fame in 2004
music

Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'

News
news

Endangered species spotted in a creek in the Qinling mountains

Life and Style
tech

Company says data is only collected under 'temporary' identities that are discarded every 15 minutes

News
peopleJust weeks after he created dress for Alamuddin-Clooney wedding
Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010
films

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

Sport
football West Brom vs Man Utd match report: Blind grabs point, but away form a problem for Van Gaal
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Prices correct as of 17 October 2014
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album