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).”
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Mixtapes’ “Maps” to see vinyl release

Basic CMYKTechnically, this is the first physical release of Mixtapes‘ debut recording, period. It’s been available only as a digital download since its release early last year, but it’s now coming out as the a-side to an LP from Animal Style Records. The b-side to this LP, which will be entitled Maps & Companions, is the Companions EP.

Companions features re-recorded, full-band versions of Maps‘ acoustic tracks “And If We Both Fail?,” “OrangeYellow,” and “Soups Whatever,” in addition to new songs “6 Quarters” and “I Accept That.” Animal Style hopes to have the LP – limited to a pressing of 500 – available in time for the Fest next month. Pre-orders will be posted soon to the Animal Style site, with a pressing breakdown as follows: 100 on orange/yellow, 200 on red, and 200 on clear with black.

Mixtapes’ Maps is still available as a pay-what-you-like download from Death to False Hope.

Direct Hit!, “Domesplitter” LP

cover-domesplitterDirect Hit!
(Kind Of Like Records)

Here and there, I’ve been hearing about Direct Hit!. They’re a pop-punk band on a small label, meaning somebody in the group posts to the Pop Punk Bored, but as with most acts that only release stuff digitally, I found it hard to get excited. Occasionally, a band like Mixtapes or somebody will manage to intrigue me enough to download, unzip, and load into iTunes, but most bands get passed by. However, because of Mixtapes, I finally heard Direct Hit!, since both bands’ first physical release was a split 7″ on Kind Of Like Records. I was more impressed by Mixtapes’ songs, but Direct Hit! managed to interest me enough to keep an ear out.
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Free music to soundtrack your holiday weekend

Before I step away from the computer for a glorious three days of over-indulging in sun, booze, and fire-cooked meats, I wanted to share some free tunes that’ve found their way onto the Internet over the past few days. There’s some good stuff for you to play while in the car, at the beach, or next to the grill.

loseyerdamnmindFirst, we’ve got a bunch of new stuff from Evil Weevil. The record label’s got previews of six upcoming releases and artists, including perennial Rock Star Journalist faves the Hussy.

Although not a new track, this number from Cement Tomb Mind Control ought to further convince you to buy the LP, as well as whet your appetite for their upcoming single (singles, actually – they’ve got a couple coming out on Slovenly Records’ imprint Black Gladiator later this year, as well). More info about those releases, including tentative dates, is at the Evil Weevil blog.
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Pre-order two new 7-inch slabs o’ wax you must own

cover-mixtapes-hope-is-for-peoplePerennial favorites down here in the Nuthouse basement, Mixtapes, have yet another 7-inch on its way. Due out May, it’s entitled Hope is For People, and will be out on Animal Style Records. You can, of course, pre-order that sucker via the label’s store.

The pressing is limited to 500, with 200 each on pink and blue, and 100 on white. Preview the whole thing via the embedded Bandcamp widget below.

IKEBE702Also up for pre-order and preview, this next 7-inch (actually, a 45) comes from Ubiquity Records. Funk and soul heads already know that anything Ubiquity puts out is worth your money (just go buy everything they’ve done with Shawn Lee or Clutchy Hopkins and thank me later), and this new release comes from the Brooklyn act, Ikebe Shakedown.

Playing what can best be described as funk African boogaloo, their single “Tujunga” (also limited to 500 copies) comes out a week after the new Mixtapes, on May 10. Pre-order it from Ubiquity and stream the a-side below. If you like it enough, you can get a full-length on June 7.

Ikebe Shakedown – “Tujunga” by Ubiquity Records

Mixtapes, “A Short Collection of Short Songs” 7-inch

A Short Collection of Short Songs
(Animal Style)

Of the two vocalists in Mixtapes, Maura’s voice is the one I like best. It’s no knock on Ryan, who sings just fine, but her voice is distinctive, whereas he has the standard “pop-punk vocal” tone: slightly raspy, slightly nasal, but in tune and on key. Maura’s voice stands out in the same way Lauren from the Measure [sa]’s does. It’s difficult to put into words, but when you hear either of those ladies sing, you know you’re hearing a voice you’d notice anywhere and listen to anything it sang.
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Mixtapes have another release coming

cover-mixtapes-collectionRock Star Journalist is fast becoming a Mixtapes fansite. What can we say? We love the poppy punk from this Ohio foursome.

Coming fast on the heels of the announcement of their split with Direct Hit! (out soon on Kind of Like Records) is the announcement of another 7-inch. This one’s a solo release entitled A Short Collection of Short Songs, and is due out November 30 from Animal Style Records.

The six-song vinyl EP is limited to 500, with 100 on Orange/Yellow, 200 on Lime Green, and 200 on Electric Blue. Pre-orders will be announced shortly, but you can use Tweet For A Track to get a download of the song “I’m Like” right goddamn now. Do it — I just got done listening to it, and I’m going to do it again.

If that’s not enough Mixtapes for you, and you can’t wait to get your mitts on either A Short Collection of Short Songs or their split, you’re in luck. Their original from the Direct Hit! split, “I Was A Teenage Poltergeist,” can be had on the new (free!) compilation from Kind of Like Records, in addition to a whole bunch of great pop punk from the Dopamines, the Measure [SA], and so on. Take a look at the tracklisting and download that record, called Kind of Like A Comp at this link.

The Mixtapes / Direct Hit! split rocks your turntable

cover-mixtapes-direct-hit-splitMixtapes blew my mind when they put their first release, Maps, online earlier this year. Writing about it for Wayward Blog, I said:

The band plays music that will draw you in, reminding you of that first time you heard one of those songs like the Replacements’ “I Will Dare” — a song that hits you in the gut, making your jaw drop.

You sit there, in front of your speakers, wondering why the hell this band isn’t currently the hot shit on Pitchfork.

Since then, they’ve released another Internet release, Thought About Growing Up (via Death to False Hope), and now they’re putting out their first physical release. It’s a split with Milwaukee’s Direct Hit! on Kind of Like Records, which should be out next month.

I’d suggest picking it up as soon as you can get your hot little hands on a copy. The bands each contribute one new song each — Direct Hit! does “Werewolf Shame” and Mixtapes have “I Was A Teenage Poltergeist” — and then they each cover the other’s song. I might be biased, but Mixtapes do the better job here. They show a lot more enthusiasm and verve than do Direct Hit!, taking the “Werewolf Shame” lyric “I don’t wanna hear ‘why don’t you cool it?'” and giving it some serious pathos. It’s a damned shame this short slab of pop-punk won’t be out until next month, as it’d be the perfect addition to any Halloween soundtrack.

MP3: Mixtapes, “Werewolf Shame”