Obscure Sound: Best of Dec./Jan. ’11

December’s features were cut short by the ‘Best Albums‘ feature, so I decided to cram two months into one for this compilation. I think it makes this one twice as good as the average one on here, headlined by the first big successes of 2011. Destroyer, Smith Westerns, British Sea Power, and Cut Copy are the first big names to release an album in 2011, all doing so with critical acclaim. Three of the four are featured in this month’s compilation with some of the highlights from those releases. Add to that some new efforts by other familiar faces like Memory Tapes, Akron/Family, and Times New Viking and there is little to complain about thus far. If 2011 continues in a positive direction like this, we could all be in for a great year.

Even aside from the popular names, other names like Woodsman, Grass Widow, and Tennis are generating buzz as well. There is yet to be a breakout new star in 2011, but a couple of these artists produced exceptional debuts and sophomore releases that should provide them with some well-deserved recognition. I’m just hoping that February comes and goes quickly… in my opinion, it’s easily the worst month of the year. The weather absolutely sucks, the only sport on TV is basketball, and illnesses are flying around with malicious intent. I was unlucky enough to catch one early last week and am still battling it. The last time I was sick before this? Last February. There’s just something about the month that makes my body weak. Good thing music is not affected by the miserable qualities of a given month. It’s one of the only things that acts as an enjoyable compass in times like these.

01. Destroyer – Chinatown (post)
02. Smith Westerns – All Die Young (post)
03. British Sea Power – Mongk II (post)
04. Akron/Family – So It Goes (post)
05. Bullion – I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times (Beach Boys) (post)
06. Memory Tapes – Today Is Our Life (post)
07. Times New Viking – No Room to Live (post)
08. Woodsman – I Can’t Move (post)
09. Soft Landing – Pendleton Woolen (post)
10. Young Prisms – I Don’t Get Much (post)
11. Grass Widow – Fried Egg (post)
12. The Mountain Goats – Damn These Vampires (post)
13. Tennis – Pigeon (post)
14. Young Galaxy – We Have Everything (post)


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. You should definitely start spotify playlisting these, I’d much rather just give them a suscribe than a full download.

  2. Smith Westerns are certainly growing on me, I really enjoy “Weekends”…Another band that’s kind of similar that has an EP available and out is Foster the people…I’m sure they’ll be up here soon…check out their website fosterthepeople.com/music and hear them out

  3. Just happened upon your site when looking for music blogs and there’s some nice stuff here but the recordings are terribly distorted, perhaps over compressed or maximised? Please don’t think I’m being an asshole but I’m an audio engineer so perhaps a little more fussy than most people. Maybe the problem is with this particular month so I’ll download some others to make sure. Also the Smith Westerns track crashes my machine each time I play it. Despite this, it looks like a great site and I hope to check out more of the music soon.

  4. Just a quick follow-up to the previous comment, my apologies as the track is not crashing my machine, it must have been a gremlin. It is still too distorted though!

  5. that’s odd Michael. is anyone else experiencing these problems? it might be that your ears are simply too good 😉
    these tracks are generally 192kbps MP3s, and while MP3s are certainly far from lossless quality, it shouldn’t sound too distorted like you mentioned. but if any others experience this, please let me know and I’ll look into it. it could be a variety of different factors

  6. Very rare & nice soundtracks. However Smith Westerns track is not playing for me..
    What can be the reason?

  7. Eliz,
    could be because their label pulled it. I was linking directly to their file, so the free trial period likely ended. it’s worth a purchase though.

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