Obscure Sound: Best of August 2011

Autumn nears and so do my qualms about winter. Needless to say, it always seems like the best music and film arrives during the last one-third of the year. Award considerations aside, one gets the hunch artists want to end the year on a positive note rather than one of nothingness. A looming uncertainty can sometimes be the best source of inspiration. Combine this artistic spur with crisp days, pumpkin ales, and some football and you have some of my favorite moments. This month’s compilation offers a preview of that. New releases from Girls, Beirut, and CANT are some of the most buzzed-about kickstarts to the season, but don’t forget about emerging ones like The Wind, Pepper Rabbit, and J. Nolan as well. Not to mention, a familiar face in Bill Callahan released Apocalypse months ago, but we tossed a review up because – well – it just feels like an album for autumn.

The newcomer I’m most excited about is NewVillager, who released a very fun album the past month. Like TV on the Radio meets Man Man, the duo projects a perfect mixture of experimental pop and soulful rock. They should be big fairly quickly, especially with chaotically brilliant efforts like “Say the Code”.  In the hip-hop realm, J. Nolan touts the best delivery I’ve heard in awhile. The young and tireless rapper releases something new every month, each time time with improvement (even if it’s hard to top the lush electro-rap of “Cosmic Cruise”). Some garage-rock and blues can be found with the likes of You Won’t, The Stone Foxes, and Chappo, while artists of the more lengthily ambitious variety include old favorite Cymbals Eat Guitars and CANT, the solo project of Grizzly Bear’s Chris Taylor with appearances by Twin Shadow. Their album Dreams Come True sounds like a fall release if I’ve ever heard one. Some of these efforts, like the effervescent classic-rock sound of The Wind and The Drums, are not precisely aligned with the fall variety, but showcase the spurt of quality that is to be expected over the next several months.

Get back to the grind and enjoy the falling leaves with these wonderful efforts:

01. NewVillager – Say the Code (post)
02. Girls – Vomit (post)
03. The Wind – Sunshine and Peace of Mind (post)
04. Beirut – The Rip Tide (post)
05. Pepper Rabbit – Tiny Fingers (post)
06. J. Nolan – Cosmic Cruise (prod. One Love Beats) (post)
07. Woods – Out of the Eye (post)
08. The Drums – Let’s Go Surfing (post)
09. Warm Speakers – Where the Comma Lands (post)
10. Oh Ruin – The Pillow Where Your Head Does Lay (post)
11. CANT – The Edge (post)
12. Bill Callahan – Riding for the Feeling (post)
13. Chappo – Bodies Coasting (post)
14. You Won’t – Three Car Garage (post)
15. Cymbals Eat Guitars – Definite Darkness (post)
16. The Stone Foxes – Psycho (post)


Mike Mineo

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

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