Supersonic Festival 2011: Bands To Watch

Supersonic Festival is probably one of the most exciting festivals for experimental music to have ever graced British shores, and this year's edition is no different with a shed load of great acts. With the festival nearly upon us, TMF thought it wise to share with you what we're most excited about, and the acts YOU should definitely be checking out. Dominic Hemy and Freddy Palmer pick their particular favourites.


Pennsylvanian space duo Zombi have been at the leading edge of the krautrock revival for the best part of a decade now; their driving motorik rhythms and psychedelic synths both relive the past greats of NEU! and Kraftwerk, whilst simultaneously exploring new cosmic realms. This year's Escape Velocity album has seen the band return to a more stripped-down sound from whence they came, and so have reignited the nu-kraut flame once again. Check our review of their last album here! (DH)



The brainchild of former Mr Bungle and Faith No More stalwart Trey Spruance, Secret Chiefs 3 are a collective in the truest sense, with a member list reading like a who's-who of the experimental rock scene. Solely instrumental, the seven bands that contribute the music are as diverse and varied as their components, ranging from death metal to ambient to ethnic all in the name of blindingly good music. (DH)


One of the most prolific bands in the last twenty years (25 studio albums alone in just 17 years, including no less than four this year), Finland's Circle have been masters of reinvention as they remain top dog in the Finnish underground scene. Impossible to classify as an entity, the music has shifted all along the experimental and rock spectrum as they continue to remain fresh and exciting. (DH)


The Skull Defekts are a schizophrenic bunch hailing from Sweden, shifting as easily as they do from the harsh power electronics of The Black Hand to the massive riffs of this year's Peer Amid. Never dull and never derivative, the band revel in making music, no matter the label attached to it, and always adding their unique print to the final product no matter which far-flung edge of the musical universe that spawned it (DH)



From such a self-absorbed and stale scene as the US black metal one, the gem that is Wolves In The Throne Room is to be treasured indeed. The harsh black metal is infused with a grand beauty drawn directly from the vast landscapes of the rain-swept North West, and the ritualistic nature of the band's live shows is an uplifting and hypnotic experience. The band are ever growing musically, as the recent opus Celestial Lineage testifies clearly with its sweeping atmospherics and pitch-black despair. Check out a review of that album here! (DH)


San-Franciscan drone-duo Barn Owl are returning to Supersonic Festival for the second year on the trot, hot on the heels of their most recent album Lost In The Glare. That album saw the band moving ever farther into the dusty, spacious soundscapes they've made their name in, incorporating organs and drums into their beautifully sparse sound. Having packed out the cinema at last years festival where they played to a backdrop of strange visuals, it will be a real treat to see them on a bigger stage. Check our review of their Shadowland EP here! (FP)



This year's festival sees a very rare performance from German abstract electronic pioneer Alva Noto. His recently released new album Univrs is perhaps his best yet, mixing his tight rhythmic structures with industrial synth sounds to create hypnotic, mechanical drones. It may not be for everyone, but Alva Noto is sure to bring something completely different to the festival this year. (FP)


Teeth Of The Sea are firmly at the forefront of a psychedelic renaissance of sorts, with last year's album Your Mercury carving out a trippy sound all their own. Mixing kraut-rock with industrial rhythms and some rather inspired trumpet action, Teeth Of The Sea are flying the British psyche-rock flag and their isn't a better band that could be doing it. Miss these guys at your peril. Check out our review of their most recent offering here! (FP)


Will Brooks has paid a visit to Birmingham and Supersonic previously with his industrial hip-hop group dälek, but this year's festival marks the UK debut of his new project iconAclass. Treading a more traditional road this time around, while still retaining that exciting and abstract edge of his other act, iconAclass are sure to get heads nodding and bass thumping throughout the festival site. If latest record For The Ones is anything to go by, this year's audience are in for a right treat! Check out our review of their debut album here!

Supersonic Festival 2011 runs from 21st - 23rd October 2011 at the Custard Factory in Birmingham

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