Obscure Sound: Best of February 2011

This is a wonderful day. February is no more, and finally we can bid farewell to the dullness and bitter cold of the month. Suitably enough, I was sick for the majority of it. Now that March is here, it is hardly surprising that I feel infinitely better. Being able to keep my windows open throughout the day makes me feel less stressed, for whatever reason. Despite the consistently miserable tendencies of February, the month was as exciting musically as any. Radiohead was certainly the big artist last month, announcing and releasing their eighth LP in that short span. I thought it was OK… nothing amazing. Later this week, we will feature a second look at the album by another writer. Multiple opinions seem warranted for an album this polarizing.

Apart from Radiohead, February was a month dominated by up-and-comers. I gave Dirty Beaches’ debut full-length significant acclaim, so I urge everyone to check him out if you haven’t already. Speaking of great new nostalgia-heavy artists, Noah’s Ark Was a Spaceship bring us back to late-’80s alternative-rock on college radio with several excellent songs off their new album, Hanga-Fang. Then you have Unknown Mortal Orchestra, with their refreshing take on ’60s psychedelia and funk. The Rural Alberta Advantage and Coma Cinema sit more in the contemporary cutting-edge vein, but you can certainly hear more past-inspired awe in Silver Swans’ work, which echoes glistening ’80s post-punk with enjoyable accuracy. The compilation is rounded out by a new track from popular art-rock duo The Kills, and a classic offering from The Beach Boys. I have been on an extreme Brian Wilson obsession as of late, and his breadth of work continues to amaze me. If there is any artist whose music can get us ready for warmer weather and great music, it’s him.

01. Radiohead – Separator (post)
02. Dirty Beaches – True Blue (post)
03. Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues (post)
04. Noah’s Ark Was a Spaceship – I’m Not a Father (post)
05. Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Ffunny Ffrends (post)
06. The Rural Alberta Advantage – Stamp (post)
07. Coma Cinema – Business as Usual (post)
08. Silver Swans – Holidays (post)
09. The Kills – Satellite (post)
10. The Beach Boys – I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times (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. Here is another up-and-coming that dominated my February…

    Standing Shadows just came out with their new EP, “The Silent Revolution.” I found out about them from all the buzz they are getting on iTunes and Myspace ahead of their SXSW show (Cedar Door, 4:10pm). You can check them out on the Alternative New & Noteworthy Bands on the iTunes front page or click here to download: http://bit.ly/standingshadows

  2. I think it’s enough to say that Radiohead’s latest CD is OK. there isn’t really anything that could be said about that. they had better CD’s thorought their career. but they can’t always be the best, right?

  3. There is an event called Sunset Sessions Rock! in June in San Diego. It gives indie alternative bands a chance to play in front of big radio stations from across the country, music supervisors from film, TV & ads, video game programmers, managers and record labels. It costs some dough to play (like 2-8k), and you have to actually be good enough to get picked, but it’s an once in a lifetime chance to get in front of all these music industry people that can completely launch a bands career. February’s SS had 45 bands play to 800 music biz people. Check out info at http://www.sunsetsessions.org to see how to get your band in.

  4. great list. fleet foxes completely owned my february! toro y moi and alex winston’s latest releases also were dominant for me in feb.



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