Mixtapes, “Ordinary Silence” LP

NSR093The longer Mixtapes has been around, the more I appreciate them. The group has an innate ability to write pop songs that rock. The harmonies on Ordinary Silence can certainly be sugary-sweet, but offset by lyrics like those in album-opener “Bad Parts,” when Maura Weaver sings “I want to break their fucking heads.” It’s a band that traffics in contrasts.

Just for example, Ryan Rockwell‘s vocals get a little nasal, but they counter Weaver’s nicely on the dual harmonies, smoothing out as they do her voice, which cuts like a clarion. Both singers, however, manage to sing softly and sweetly on acoustic tracks such as “gravel (interlude).”

By the way — big thanks to Mixtapes for minimizing the acoustic numbers on this release. With the exception of the interlude, this is an electric record all the way through. While I appreciate the tonal differences the change instrumentation offers, the band’s insistence on featuring acoustic numbers on every release has a tendency to muddle what to expect.

The band’s essentially a pastiche of pop-punk, culling the best from the ’90s boom. They lift big guitars from classic-rock influenced alternative acts, introspective lyrics from the more emo bands, and galloping drums from … well, everyone on Epitaph in 1996. Mixtapes know how to craft a song with big choruses, finger-pointing verses, and quietly crooned intros. Their songs are basically engineered for sing-alongs.

Take a look at “You Look Like Springtime” — sing-along intro, bouncy middle for jumping up and down, handclaps around the start of the last quarter, and jesus fucking christ, how can you not have this song stuck in your head? It’s nigh-insidious, dammit. “Swirling” is pretty much riffy prettiness, as well.


Ordinary Silence can be gotten from the No Sleep Records store on a pressing of 700 on grape ice cream vinyl. The 200 on Coke bottle clear were only available in the 2013 No Sleep subscription series, and the 300 hot pink have sold out. Banquet Records has 300 on fence brown, and Hot Topic has 500 on ice cream cone. Damn, right?