Contest: New Sony PiiQ Headphones

congrats to Marc, Hans, Andy, Mariesa, and Sam! your PiiQ headphones will be on their way soon. thanks to all that participated; more soon!

We are giving away FIVE sets of the new “PiiQ” headphones from Sony. Currently running in five different styles ranging from $15 to $100, the design beckons urban culture more than hip independence, but the universal appeal for sound quality is loud and clear.

I had the chance to check out the Giiq model for a week. To be fair, I only host contests if the prizes are of actual quality. These headphones certainly abide by that standard. The Sony name immediately supplies some security, while the wide variety of styles and colors is a great retreat from the conventional “black” or “white” purchasing options. Designed by Rui Morisawa, the sleek look of all five brands is a definite appeal to a skating or urban lifestyle. But when it comes to the actual audio quality, the price is well worth it. The $50 Giiq is cushioned for comfort and sports a great design, which could make many think the $50 price tag is for the look alone. Not true. The audio quality is comparable to many headphones in the $100 price range and is a perfect fit for both long walks and studio adventures. While the Marqii, Giiq, and Triqii are too big and bulky to serve as workout headphones, the Qlasp and Exhale models are a great alternative for workouts. I have yet to try the others, but the Giiq model is excellent. I can only assume the others are just as great, albeit with different intentions of use. Some are clearly lounging headphones with impeccable audio quality, while others capitalize on portability and do so with sleekness and audible consistency. Each one excels in its different use.

These are the five different types of Sony PiiQ headphones you are eligible to win. Check here for pictures and more detailed information:

* Marqii™ – ($99.99) Build quality. Cush feel. Supreme sound. Slider stay-power – inspired by snowboard lock, fasten it tight to fit your crown. Flat detachable cord to prevent tangle and quick unplug.

* Giiq™ – ($49.99) Hi-Fi without the heft. Flex motion cups and slick-skinned cord doesn’t crimp your style. Neodymium, the strongest permanent magnet known to humankind, delivers a crystal clear, robust sound.

* Triqii™ – ($29.99) Wears like a favorite deck or pair. Scar-resist skin stays neat through thick and thin. With big bass boost and super sound clarity.

* Qlasp™ – ($24.99) Lobe linger is a good thing. Crystal clear, in-ear sound. Clips on and hangs tough through all your tricks, flips and whatever.

* Exhale™ – ($14.99) Big beat bluster in a bud body with a secret, sound-boosting motif. Only the masq knows…

So, how do you win? It is very simple. Comment on this post, providing a brief account of your favorite album from this year thus far. Keep it short and concise… essentially, just supply a recommendation. If you show me something new and worthwhile, then your chances of winning are certainly increased. The objective of this should be to win some prizes and spread the love for some great new artists in the process. It’s a win-win, in my mind.

In addition to your submission, it is important to supply your REAL e-mail address when prompted in the comment form. If you win, this is how you will be contacted. At that point, you would just tell me where you want your new PiiQ headphones shipped and it will arrive there ASAP. If you do not reply within 24 hours, a new winner will be chosen. Best of luck!

For more information, check out the PiiQ Facebook page.

Mike Mineo

I'm the founder/editor of Obscure Sound, which was formed in 2006. Previously, I wrote for PopMatters and Stylus Magazine.

Send your music to [email protected].


  1. My favorite album so far this year is The Chemical Brothers’ Further. I fell for The Chemical Brothers when I was in high school. One day at the mall, when I had never heard them before, I randomly picked out the CD Exit Planet Dust to buy. I knew I had picked a winner within the first 30 seconds, the guitar rift was fantastic!

  2. Janelle Monáe – The ArchAndroid. Debut album is an adept and uncategorizable melange of R&B, hip-hop, dance, jazz, glam rock, and funk.

  3. Favorite album of the year: Clive Tanaka y su orquesta “Jet Set Siempre”

    It’s a tape cassette that you can order from his website ( Four tracks per side. Side A: For Dance is so fun and energetic. Each song flows really well. I can really only say it’s like a toned down Daft Punk. Still upbeat, but not quite as fast. Each one track is more of the same. Side B: For Romance, is more laid back. It’s pretty jazz inspired and laid back. A lot of instrumentation and flowing. Definitely check it out. It’s only $6.

  4. The Summer Pledge

    You are you

    Woodbridge Records

    This is a great Detroit band that I like more every time I see them. Doing very well for themselves too I guess. Touring pretty much coast to coast for most of July.

  5. I would have to say my favorite album this year was “Tomorrow, In a Year” by The Knife, it had the haunting electric sound of the old stuff, but also featured more of an ambient feel with some new opera and classical elements thrown in the mix that made a beautiful album i’m sure i will never get tired of.

  6. I would highly recommend Portugal. The Man’s latest release ‘American Ghetto.’ This record was created just for the fans and therefore isn’t being toured for but the lyrics are highly personal to lead singer John Gourley and it was all created with guitars, synths, and drum loops which brings back the sound that PTM startde off with a few years back.

  7. This is like picking a favorite child. Thus far my favorite album this year is Local Natives-Gorilla Manor. Nothing too obscure I don’t think. I can listen to the album in it’s entirety without skipping a track. Saw these guys as SXSW as well and the album was conveyed so well live that after, I couldn’t stop listening. I respect these guys for being so good and making good soulful solid music. Sun Eyes is my favorite track.\

    I love you OS

  8. Hi, I really like the Lorn album ‘Nothing Else’, it’s like Nosaj Thing or Flying Lotus but a lot harder/futuristic.

    Maybe you like it too. btw. keep up the good work

  9. The best album of the year is without a doubt MIA – Maya 🙂 That’s the best combination of pop hooks, hard distorted rhythms and biting lyrics. Her music is suitable both for dancing or listening. Definitely worth checking.

  10. The Whiskers put out an album called War of Currents. It is fantastic. It’s fun and eclectic, yet somehow sad and deep and despite this never seems unnatural. They have long songs with cryptic lyrics that take many listens to unravel. It is one of the only albums of the year that I consider to be true art. It only gets more interesting through listening rather than more boring. (This is probably cheating, but I wrote a whole blog review here:

  11. Sleigh Bells – Treats! The first track, Tell ‘Em, starts out with some serious guitar, the vocals kick in and then the bass… forget about it, I am sooo hooked. I love it when a song comes on and you automatically know the band. There is no mistaking who they are, even if you’ve never heard the song before. That is the Sleigh Bells sound, unique and in a league of its own!

  12. My favorite album of the year is Frightened Rabbit’s “The Winter of Mixed Drinks.” I first heard about the band a couple of years ago when “Modern Leper” was included on a compilation on this website. I bought the new album earlier this year and had a chance to see the band at Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro, NC. It was a packed show and they performed almost everything off of their three albums.

  13. i’m completely intrigued with crystal castles’ 2010 self titled album. they’ve transcended the house/mini rave/electro niche that they were born from, and in turn produce a record that is as fluid as it is creative. it’s definitely worth some exploration. !!

  14. Lakefield – Sounds From The Treeline

    Lakefield is a 5-piece indie pop/rock band hailing from Vancouver, Canada. Their debut album, “Songs from the Treeline” is a perfect blend of girl/boy vocals, swirling care-free melodies and epic transformations.

    The album was released under a Creative Commons License and can be listened to in full on their site

    Similar Artists: Stars, Death Cab for Cutie

  15. It is tough to pick a favorite but I will go with my first instinct and say that Kurt Vile’s Square Shells ep is so far my favorite. It is hard for me to peg down exactly what it is that I find so compelling about Kurts music, maybe the way he drenches his sound in reverb, or his obtuse songwriting, or just his dead pan-ish delivery. But I think it has alot to do with the time that I received the album; I was in the hospital on a morphine drip and listened to it three times in a row. It just seemed to put me in another world, somewhere I had never been musically and I have not looked back since. This was not the first Kurt Vile album I listened to and I love the majority of his output but this one is my favorite. Honorable mentions would be Active Child and Big Boi.

  16. For me the best album of the year, hands down, is Teen Dream by Beach House. Beautiful, powerful, and very accessible for new fans while at the same time a nice move forward for the hardcore base.

    But my FAVORITE album is the self-titled debut by Fang Island. Give it a spin and you’ll feel like a kid on summer break, happy and carefree.

  17. Without a doubt my favorite album of the year is Cerulean by Baths. hands down full of awesome.

  18. with out a doubt The Roots- How I Got Over is the best album ive heard so far. even if you dont like hip hop or r&b, its just an amazing mix of artist. at the end of the day you forget what your musical preference is cus your head is bobbing along anyways.brilliant.

  19. “Sounds of Wonder,” a compilation that will blow your mind. believe it.

  20. Loveless Unbeliever by The School.

    60s-inspired pop, perfect for summer. Very sunny and clean-sounding.

  21. Hey Mike! You know what album is great?

    Artist: Team Ghost
    Album: You Never Did Anything Wrong To Me ep

    From former M83 member Nicolas Fromageau……if you like M83, it should be right up your alley!

  22. One of my favorite albums from this year is Trilogi by Fredrik. A big step up from their previous album. Still got the great layered folk sound, but a little darker and atmospheric.

    However, my definite favorite is Gorilla Manor, but that was already listed above.

  23. A Badly Broken Code by Dessa (of the Doomtree crew) is my favorite album of the year so far.

  24. Favorite album would definitely be Surfer Blood: Astro Coast. This album shreds beyond belief and commands harmonies with a beauty I’ve only imagined in dreams. Taking influences from the Beach Boys and The Shins, this album is wondiferous.

  25. The Books :: The Way Out

    Why buy a self help tape, when the books make music to accompany one? Delicious.

  26. “something new and worthwhile”

    Columbus-based folk quartet, Saintseneca’s 2010 second EP release “Grey Flag.”

    Despite its brevity, it’s a strong and consistence album with lots of promise for future releases.

    Also, one of the best live acts I’ve seen this summer. I’ve seen them twice so far, and each time – the first time a smaller audience, the second a larger audience – they’ve managed to fully engage the audience encouraging foot-stomping and singing-along with their homemade instruments. Rather than simply listen, one actually feels the music.

    And I know you asked for just one recommendation, but I’m just gonna throw out a few other albums just because: “Summer of Love” Hanoi Janes, “Mines” Menomena, “Maintenant” Gigi, “Treats” Sleigh Bells, “The Monitor” Titus Andronicus.

  27. I keep going back to the Soft Pack’s CD – I saw the band last year in front of maybe a couple dozen people and they never relented… while not the most aggressive band or anything like that, they don’t stop throughout the CD and it’s consistently my favorite “rock” record thus far in 2010.

  28. I don’t think I can strictly stay within the bounds of my favorite album of the year, but I can tell you my favorite abulm of recent.

    Snake Mountain – Don’t Surf Zombie Beach

    Their sole reason for this bands unification was so they could play at a local crusty punk joint called Bar Bar. This sweet spot in Denver gives bands the special treatment with a neverending bar tab. Snake Mountain’s goal was to play at Bar Bar get a free bar tab, and use their original moniker (“Free Mustache Rides”) on a band flyer that would read “FREE MUSTACHE RIDES TONIGHT AT BAR BAR!!!!!”

    With 6 epic songs one titled “It’s About Time You Got Sexy” this cd has unmatchable wit to a fast pace that should melt your face!

  29. I think that Ruth Garbus – Rendezvous with Rama (Autumn Records) is a hidden diamond in this year’s discography. A little obscure and amateur sound but worth checking.
    Spy zone is my favorite track.

  30. By far, my favorite album of the year is Grape by 100 Monkeys. I love it because every song is completely different, so it’s easy listening to the cd through the first time without blurring the songs together.

    Their band is independent, but is growing and growing. All the band members are really great people, and I want to help promote them in every way possible. I think this website would be a good way to help spread their music around, because it’s full of people who want to find new, good music.


  31. My favorite album is “Gypsy Heart” from Lizzy Rain, Minneapolis.
    I found her in 2009 ( ..and thanks to WMHB 89,7FM!!) but it rocks still.
    Very interesting and quite unknown.

  32. Best album, hands down, is Plastic Beach by Gorillaz. With socio-politically relevant tracks that throw caution to the wind, and some pumpin’, LSD infused beats there isn’t a mind that wouldn’t be blown to pieces after the first spin. A refreshingly creative piece of work. I say, DIG IT!

  33. My favorite album of the year is “The Decline” by Elvyn. Amazing Power Pop that reminds me of Teenage Fanclub or Maplewood. Perfect Summer Listen.

  34. Like Ray posted, pick your favorite child!

    I’ve become a fan of John Butler Trio, who released April Uprising this spring. These guys were an unknown band to me until I caught a State Radio show. While looking at State Radio’s tour list, I saw they were supporting JBT. So of course I checked out John Butler Trio and came away very impressed. Fun, upbeat sounds with some good lyrics.

    Keep up the good work OS!

  35. The Goodnight Loving’s album The Goodnight Loving Supper Club. It’s like the jangly pop of yester-year but not trite or worn out. Now give me my headphones!

  36. I have two recommendations for 2010… one is sung in french and other in english. The english one would be Boxer The Horse with their excellent first length album called Would You Please which is a nice catchy well rounded album…any fans of The Modern Lovers, The Strokes or The Kinks should definitely check them out. One of my favourite french album so far this year would be Origami by the band called Le Couleur(from Montreal) with their nice quirky moody french pop sound that just makes me melt.

  37. Twin Hand Movement by Lower Den is a favorite of mine. Sure people label them “freak-folk” but I think it transcends that genre. It’s ambient without being obnoxious and surprisingly carefree. And not as weird as Devendra Banhart’s stuff. ’nuff said.

  38. They don’t have a proper full album out just yet but Tennis’ Baltimore EP is pretty great. It’s getting me through the summer haze….

  39. I’d have to say Backseat Goodbye’s-The wonder EP,a full album is going to be released august 31st named the good years,chad is really the only one behind backseat goodbye’s sound he does everything by himself and for years I’ve been listening to his music,it’s really feel good drive songs perfect for summer.He deserves a lot more recognition for the music he makes,also the poetry books he’s released and the running of his own store for backseat goodbye. Everyone should really check him out,he really recognizes his fans and seems really humble and like an overall great guy.

  40. My album of the year thus far has to go to Ariel Pinks Haunted Graffiti with “Before Today”.

    In the world of Indie rock it’s pretty safe to say that enthusiasts are used to having names of artists they “have to listen to” barrage them on a regular basis. We probably actually research about 30% of said names. Ariel somehow landed in my 30% first saw his name on a poster being held up by Girls frontman Christopher Owens in a alternate video for the single “Lust For Life”. So as I often do i punched his name into youtube and got ready to judge him based on the first thing that popped up, which to my dismay was “Politically Declined”. After 20 seconds i pledged i would never give Ariel another listen, yet mysteriously i found myself humming distorted to hell and back melody i had heard throughout the week. I ended up listening to more and more ariel, enjoying the melody and the ideas behind the music but being frustrated by the wave of homemadeness and distortion that almost served as a wall around the actual music.

    It seems as though my timing was superb as just as i was about to give up I got my hands on Before Today. While Ariel will always be an acquired taste, (what music isn’t), Before Today finds his music with the same strong melody’s and captivating song structures, accept now given the studio polish to be listenable and even accessible.

    (Btw I’m sure The Suburbs by Arcade Fire will steal Ariel’s spot on my list.)

  41. You should definetly check out Villagers – Becoming a Jackal, its a very good album with a lot of feeling. Specifically the song “Set The Tigers Free”

  42. The mixtape “Lazerproof” with Major Lazer and La Roux has a vibe unmatched by any other album dropped thus far in 2010. Both Major Lazer and La Roux are addicting by themselves, but this mixtape takes their music to whole new levels.

  43. My favorite album this year has to be Local Natives debut album “Gorilla Manor”. It’s rare to find a new band with such a well put together album! My favorite tracks have to be “Wide Eyes” and “Airplanes” the first two on the album. Great harmonies, amazing lyrics, interesting arrangements, and unexpected melodies that will keep you interested. Definitely check this band out if you haven’t already.

  44. My pick would be The Drums self-titled album. It’s got a beachy feel to it. It’s just a really fun album to listen to.

  45. In the classical approach of “. . . And They Have Escaped the Weight of Darkness,” Olafur Arnalds brings us to the sublime that the Romantics (Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley, and Keats) sought in nature and tried to exemplify in their poetry. This is not music that is merely heard and enjoyed; this is music that engages our deepest aesthetic sensibilities, that speaks to the very soul of our being. This is music not just as music, but music as art. This is music that ascends beyond this cave of shadows and approaches the Platonic form of Beauty.

    For the traditional fan of modern popular music, classical music is thought of almost exclusively in terms of the great masters of the past: Bach, Brahms, Mozart, Vivaldi, Beethoven, Bizet, etc. Of course, Arnalds is no Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, but he knows how to make music that moves the passions, that plucks the strings of pure emotion: in this album, melancholy and joy, sadness and serenity, sing themselves into being, into ourselves, as we listen, as ravenously we devour each note, hungry for more and more beauty. And so we weep because the melancholy is lovely, and we weep because we are made joyful, and we weep because we taste, we touch, we love, we even become the transcendent Beauty.

    Arnalds, in ” . . . And They Have Escaped the Weight of Darkness,” makes classical music that is as good as and even better than almost any other music being made today in the more popular genres.

  46. My favourite album so far this year is without a sheer of doubt, ”High Violet” by The National. I frankly believe no adjective will do a fair job to describe such a coherent album so I gracefully refrain from making any further comment. I strongly recommend it.

  47. My favorite album released this year was Kate Nash’s “My Best Friend Is You”. It’s pretty much the same as her usual stuff- witty, kinda pessimistic lyrics, but paired with mostly upbeat music.

  48. My favorite album this year has to be The Black Keys “Brothers” release. Who knew 2 guys from rural Ohio could rock so hard? They play garage rock to perfection and don’t forget they have NO bass player, amazing stuff. Guitar and drums, that’s all there is to it, mellow grooves and sultry singing are a deadly combo.

  49. I have something really different, and hope everybody likes it, ´cause I trully love them. It´s from Venezuela.

    There are two bands from here that launched new albums that I loved, the first one is from “La Vida Bohéme” these guys give their album (their debut album “Nuestra”) away for free in their myspace ( their music is amazing and so are their concerts, the lyrics and the indie-rock mixed with this feeling (that in general most venezuelan students and teenagers have, because of the political situation) of revolution, of union against the regimen (of something I can´t really describe in english, sorry) makes this album an amazing compilation, I recommend it fondly.

    The second one is also from Venezuela, as I said before, and it´s called Famasloop. They also give their album “3 casas” for free on their webpage ( on the download section. This band has a slightly different way of presenting the fun satire of mocking the government in their lyrics and their music is amazingly enjoyable, they opened up for Franz Ferdinand in Venezuela this year, that´s the first time I heard them, and I´ve loved their music ever since.

    Both these bands are very young, but in spite of this they´re going up very fast. Hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

  50. cafe con leche- Diego Paulo
    They’re a relatively unknown, summery sounding band with a lead singer with an extremely full voice. whats not to like?

  51. My favorite album so far would have to be the “Be So True” EP released by MillionYoung. Though Sleigh Bell’s “Treats” is a close second. Anyways, MillionYoung combines the beats and music I love from Neon Indian and combines the distant sounding voice of Washed Out. Be sure to check out the songs Hammock and Sunndreamm!

  52. Lots of great albums this year. However, recommending something “new and worthwhile” will be difficult to do for a site called ‘Obscure Sound.’ I’ll recommend a Canadian band that’s gaining much headway. They’re called The Pack A.D. They’re a “garage rock” pair from Canada who produce a great sound. You can stream them here: (Canadian music is fucking awesome but get’s no exposure across the border. Hang out on the CBC Radio 3 site and you may be amazed by how much good stuff goes on up here

  53. Favorite album of 2010 is “Tourist History” by Two Door Cinema Club.

    Released stateside in April, the album really is a culmination of efforts by the three-piece from Northern Island. 2008 brought us the first soundbites of what are now TDCC staples including, “Undercover Martyn” and “Cigarettes in The Theatre.” 2009 saw the band explode across the web – from this very blog to Kanye West’s own post – and this year has the band supporting their first LP with the likes of Phoenix and on the festival circuit.

    TDCC is rock you can dance to. It’s indie you can nod your head to. And it’s pop you can sink your teeth into. Only time will tell if this type of music will stand the test of time; until then, TDCC will have you dancing until the party’s over.

  54. Although it is not from this year. I would like the recommend Mew: No more stories Are told today I’m sorry They washed away No more stories The world is grey I’m tired Let’s wash away.

  55. I know this album is not new to OS, but Champ by Tokyo Police Club is the best album of the year. Champ is endlessly re-playable and each track adds its own distinct flavor to the album. Everyone I told about this album instantly fell in love with Tokyo Police Club.

  56. My favorite and most memorable album of this year is WHY?’s “Eskimo Snow”. I have a soft spot for them to begin with, because they’re from my home state of Ohio, but this album has truly anchored their place as the only band who can cover all my musical needs. They’ve already mastered the sound of indie hip hop in previous releases, but this one in particular shows off their ability to be true songwriters. Yoni Wolf’s lyrics are bare and truthful, and beautifully accompanied by two base instruments: a downsized drum set and a Wurzlitzer organ. Check out the first release, “This Blackest Purse”, the trio’s beautiful piano-driven tune whose message focuses on the trigger happy heroes of today.

  57. Toss up between “Wild Smile” by Suckers and “Apparitions” by Light Pollution. For that full on double rainbow all the way across the sky kind of day.

  58. I think one of the best albums that I have purchased this year would have to be Machine Dreams by Little Dragon. I am a big Hip Hop and Soul Head but Little Dragon has caught my attention due to it’s beats and lyrics.
    The electronic and almost soul grooves feels like your walking through some futuristic melodramatic metropolis.

    Even if I don’t win the contest let me know if you pick it up or want to hear a sample i have all their albums.

  59. Definitely have to throw this out there. Sacred for Sale by Tomorrows Bad Seeds has gotta be one of my favorites. They combine Hip Hop, Rock, Reggae/Ska, and Pop to sound somewhat like Slightly Stoopid and Pepper. But this is a great album, perfect to chill out to after a good or bad day. I find it easy to listen to and incredibly addicting. I find that the first 4 or 5 songs on the album really define the band. Each is so refreshing and dynamic. They have sick beats which compel people (and myself) to just keep listening. Gotta check these guys out and chill out to them!

  60. Avi Buffalo put out a pretty amazing self titled debut this year.
    They’ve been touring with Modest Mouse and that dude can shred… In a super poppy kind of way.

  61. White Magic – ceo

    Berglund takes his experience from previous work & now experiments with light&dark

    another perfect example of the Swedes’ mastery of elegantly crafted pop

    dance to stuff like “Illuminata”&”Come With Me”; chill with stuff like “All Around”

    really interesting how he incorporates the opening theme throughout the rest of the album

    short yet dense; stays fresh with every repeat listen without getting draggy midway

  62. My favorite album thus far has been Clinging To A Scheme, from The Radio Dept.
    Nearly every track is a home-run. The whole album, to me, has a very New York, urban feel to it, which I’ve really been digging.

  63. My favorite album this year has to be the Sparklehorse/Danger Mouse collaboration “Dark Night of the Soul”. As dark as the subject matters can be on this ablum, there is still something uplifting about it….Highly recommended.

  64. Dare I recommend something international and in Spanish? Juana Molina, from Argentina, sings in Spanish and at times in English. Her album ¨Un Segundo¨ is classy and driven by a mood that I find hard to express in words. Everytime I hear her, I imagine what it would be like to be around her while she is singing. She is one of the best Latina ¨folksingers¨ of the moment.

  65. Check out Sabbath Assembly’s “Restored to One”. Comes off as fresh and nostalgic at the same time.
    Very moody, haunting stuff. “Cult” pick of the year, without a doubt.

  66. I would have to say my favourite album of this year so far has to be SomethingALaMode by… SomethingALaMode. I’ve never heard such a good implementation of classical instruments in modern day electronic tunes. The entire album has this special vibe, wich makes me want to listen it again and again. And I happily oblige to my own instincts so I end up listening it again and again.

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