Exciting new group from Canada quickly gaining wide critical acclaim from the likes of Pitchfork , Drowned In Sound, and The Line Of Best Fit. It's understandable, too, taking influence from early(ish) Animal Collective, sometimes sticking an electro beat on it, and singing with all their brilliant female might.
Playing: Saturday - upstairs of Komedia, 15:15 / Horatios, 19:45.
BRAIDS - Same Mum
Bit of a tricky one, given that Mazes play at the same time as bands like Art Brut, White Denim, and Yuck but if you don't see any of them, definitely come see these. A Manchester/London/bit of everywhere band who released their debut album A Thousand Heys not too long back. I rated it five stars out of five for a magazine - top blend of lo-fi indie rock and 60s pop vibes.
Playing: Saturday - Green Door Store, 21:50.
Mazes - Most Days
Possibly my favourite live band, Wrexham four-piece Gallops make math-y post-rock with an almighty thud. Expect to see me stomping my feet at the front like a twat, but expect to follow suit pretty quickly.
Playing: Friday - Prince Albert, 15:00. Saturday - Green Door Store, 15:00
Fear Of Men
My prediction is that Fear Of Men will be the band everyone leaves Great Escape talking about. A new band from Brighton, they've already put a cassette out on the brilliant label Sex Is Disgusting and are being increasingly hyped in the blog world. It's female fronted, it's lo-fi, it's fashionable, it's excellent.
Playing: Saturday - Shipwrights Yard, 12:15 / Green Door Store, 19:10.
Fear Of Men - Phantom Limb
The dude behind Milk Maid both has a very big beard and used to be in Nine Blacks Alps, but neither of these things are very important. What's more important is that this music is good, backed up by having released on the brilliant Suffering Jukebox. For fans of Lovvers, Mazes, Spectrals, Kurt Vile etc - expect lo-fi 'indie rock' kinda stuff.
Playing: Saturday - Green Door Store, 20:30
Milk Maid - Can't You See
Us Baby Bear Bones
Brighton female-led band making stripped back folk-y ish sounds. Hairs on the back of your neck kind of stuff.
Playing: Saturday - Life, 20:00
The Joy Formidable
Expect big sounds (and lots of bass drum) from Wales' noisy, shoegazy, female-fronted indie rock threesome. Certainly worth trying to squeeze into a small room to see, as anyone who's listened to their Atlantic Records released debut The Big Roar will agree.
Playing: Thursday - Hectors House, 22:30
The Joy Formidable - Austere
Certainly one of the most hyped bands of 2011 so far and understandaly so, California two-piece Cults make cutesy indie pop. If you want to see these, get there early. This will be busy.
Playing: Thursday - Horatios, 22:15
As boring as this type of comparison is, anyone who likes fast-paced, psych-y experimentla pop along Everything Everything or Man Man lines will like this Newcastle four-piece.
Playing: Saturday - Queens Hotel, 13:45
Mammal Club - Otter
Certainly one of the bands I am most looking forward to seeing, London's Still Corners make intelligent, haunting pop music. Every time I've tried to see them live in the past they have managed to evade me. Hopefully Great Escape is my time!
Playing: Friday - Audio, 20:45.
Manchester might be ebst know for Oasis twatty lad rock, but acts like D/R/U/G/S/ are helping to change that perception. Expect exciting, intelligent electronica. And maybe some e.
Playing: Saturday - Audio, 20:45 / Concorde 2, 23:40
D/R/U/G/S - Love / Lust
The Victorian English Gentlemans Club
Cardiff arty rock two/three/four-piece. They've got a new record out on This Is Fake DIY Records soon, so expect lots of new material as well as the older, dark-pop classics.
Playing: Friday - Pav Tav (downstairs), 22:00
The Victorian English Gentlemens Club - Parrot
Obviously there are tonnes of other bands playing. Stuff like Art Brut, Yuck, PS I Love You, Idiot Glee, Frankie & the Heartstrings, Seams, Echo Lake, Christian AIDS, and Suuns. Some of them probably go without saying. Still, to see the festival's full line-up (and to check that I have written all the times and venues correctly), head here.