Anything But Ordinary, Mixtapes Make Some Awesome New Noise

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

The moments when a band is recording a new studio album can be remarkable, under the right conditions. With the right songs, the right producer or even just the right moment and energy, the music that the band records could end up being the stuff which, years later, will be regarded as the first big break they enjoyed in a celebrated career. Nothing is ever guaranteed, of course, but the band may discover that they're really onto something and start running with it at a certain point in the proceedings. Such is exactly the kind of moment that, according to co-singer/guitarist Ryan Rockwell, Mixtapes had while they were recording what would become Ordinary Silence. “When we first decided to go into the studio, we weren't planning on making a full-length record at all,” remembers Rockwell of the sequence of events which ultimately yielded Ordinary Silence. “We were planning on making an EP for the summer but, as we were writing, we loved what we were coming up with and noticed that the music was going in a slightly different direction from what we had been doing. We got really stoked about the music so, instead of wasting the songs on an EP which can be easily forgotten, we kept writing and discovered that, somehow, there was an album there!”

“It was really cool and we were really excited at what we had and really didn't feel like we could keep Ordinary Silence limited to an EP,” continues the guitarist. “I mean, we write a lot but this was a focused record and we wanted it to be special. Everything on this record was written and sequenced specifically for this record.”

There's no way to argue that Mixtapes haven't been prolific since forming in 2010. In just three years, the Cincinnati-based band has recorded and released two full-length albums, four EPs and one compilation – but there's also no way to argue that Ordinary Silence doesn't stand out as a very special album. From the moment Rockwell and co-singer/guitarist Maura Weaver throw down a Stratocaster/Telecaster torrent to open “Bad Parts,” listeners will know they're being hit with a record which proves that Mixtapes have reached a whole new level in their careers. All of the music that Mixtapes released before this was a necessary preamble to show where the band was coming from, but now they've arrived; now they're bigger, louder, and Ordinary Silence is, very simply, the best set of songs they've written to date. Standout songs like “C.S.S.,” “Happy And Poor” and “I Think I Broke It” all revel in snide-but-sweet sentiments (check out lines like “I never yell much, I'm not any better I just don't really care/ I've tried to make it up for years I swear” from “C.C.S.” and “I feel young, I feel restless/ I'm a fool, and I'm reckless/ But I'm poor and I'm happy at least most of the time/ And it's fine with me” from “Happy And Poor”) because they're the sorts of things which just feel right, and Weaver and Rockwell articulate them perfectly; whether the duo really blasts them out or carefully insinuates them, listeners will begin to feel as though no one else ever captured these kinds of songs quite right after they hear Mixtapes do it on Ordinary Silence. “We didn't want to totally abandon what we had already done on our other records,” explains Rockwell as he outlines what the band's plan was walking into the sessions, “but we really made a conscious effort to let many of our non-punk influences – bands like The Hold Steady, The Promise Ring, Superchunk and The Replacements – come out and try new things and expand what we've been doing.

“We wanted to step up the quality of the music and lyrics, but we also wanted to make it louder and more raw,” continues the guitarist. “We also wanted to vary tempos a lot more. I don't want anything we do to be tailored towards any trends, I just want it to be loud and honest and I think we really did that on Ordinary Silence. I think we did everything we set out to do, I love how the record turned out.”

With Ordinary Silence out now and generating very positive reviews from 'zines including Dying Scene, Sputnik, New Noise and Under The Gun, Mixtapes have already started to see the first drops of what feels like it might be a tidal wave of praise on their current West Coast tour, but the recent announcement that the band will be helping close out the final dates on Warped Tour beginning on July 23 implies that the band will also be in a prime position to really help their fan-base grow before the summer's out. “We've already been on the road a bit, and response has been way better than anything we've ever done,” enthuses Rockwell at Ordinary Silence's early reception. “The record just came out and people already know the words to some of the songs at shows. It's pretty overwhelming! It's really cool and that we're getting to take this record to Warped Tour is really, really exciting for me. We're playing the Kevin Says stage for twelve dates, and I think it will be rad. After that, while nothing's totally confirmed yet, the plan is to do more shows and more promotion the album – we'll be defiling the pop punk scene in any way we can but, for the first time in a little while, we really want to stay out of the studio for a bit. I mean, we've been recording a lot over the last three years, and we'd really like to show people what we can do onstage! I mean, if we get inspired we won't not record because of that, but we are happy with Ordinary Silence and want to tour and let people hear it.”


Mixtapes are on tour now. Click here for an updated list of upcoming shows.

Mixtapes – Ordinary Silence – "Bad Parts" – [mp3]
Mixtapes – Ordinary Silence – "C.C.S." – [mp3]

Further Reading:

Mixtapes – Ordinary Silence [Review]
Mixtapes – A Short Collection Of Short Songs [7'' Review]


Ordinary Silence is out now. Buy it here on Amazon .

Comments are closed.