The guide offers a critical view of what's hot for the following week.

Belle And Sebastian, Brighton Dome, Brighton, Friday, February 3
Named after the French children's TV show and formed in an all-night cafe as an art school project, Glasgow's reluctant troubadours have come a long way since their limited-edition debut Tigermilk caused a stir ten years ago. Poised somewhere between Nick Drake, bold Sixties pop and lush Northern Soul, the band combine bucketloads of charm, glorious harmonies and wry self-deprecating lyrics from the prolific pen of frontman Stuart Murdoch. Latest album The Life Pursuit, the band's seventh, sees the band moving towards a bigger sound, fulfilling the "surprising muscularity" John Peel detected after their Glastonbury gig in 2002. Starts 7.30pm, tickets cost £18.50. Call 01273 709709.

Katie Melua, Brighton Centre, Brighton, Monday, February 6
Hoping to maintain the musical intimacy Katie Melua strives for and her fans thrive on, all her shows during her third UK tour will be presented in a theatre-style setting in larger arena venues. This is a heartening move and will maintain her close connection with the audience, a connection all too easily lost in venues like The Brighton Centre. Fans of the 21 year-old Georgian songstress can look forward to live renditions of songs from Piece By Piece, Katie's second number one album, including the beautiful I Cried For You, as well as old favourites from her debut LP Call Off The Search. Starts 6.30pm, tickets cost £24.50-27.50. Call 0870 900 9100.

Nate James, Komedia, Brighton, Thursday, February 9
Discovered by the nation's R 'n' B tastemakers, Nate James burst onto the British music scene in late 2004. He quickly cemented his reputation with a series of high energy live shows with his band, including a sell-out headline slot at London's Jazz Cafe and the triumphant follow-up at the Shepherd's Bush Empire in front of a crowd of 1,500 fans. Described as "one of the finest soul singers to come out of the UK in years", with a distinctive vocal talent, a powerful stage presence and a sound which combines classic and contemporary soul, his success was recognised with two nominations at the 2005 MOBO awards including Best Newcomer and Best R 'n' B artist. Starts 8.30pm, tickets cost £9. Call 01273 647100.