This is the first year that I’ve named a band of the year. If you’ve paid any attention at all to what I’ve posted on Twitter, Instagram, or even here, it should be a no brainer.
So officially, Can You See the Sunset from the Southside’s band of the year for 2011 is none other than Mixtapes. Yeah, that’s Ryan, Maura, Mike, and Boone. I can’t think of a more deserving band in 2011 (but I also didn’t think it would really be fair to include Mixtapes’ debut Maps on my year-end list 2 years in a row, so…
So 2011, it began with Ryan from Mixtapes sending me 3 of the songs from what would end up being their Hope Is For People 7” in January or something like that, a few missed connections and then us (that’s me, my wife, and my kids) discovering that the people in Mixtapes were some of the friendliest and most genuine people we’ve met and that they also love pizza and Reese’s cups.
I saw Mixtapes live 4 times in 2011 (5 if you count them playing acoustic in my living room) and that’s because they spent almost the entire year on the road garnering themselves quite a bit of buzz in the process. My family spent a lovely October afternoon eating pizza with Ryan and Maura in Chicago separate from any touring the band was doing, just as friends. Both my daughters (ages 6 and 2) can sing more than a few Mixtapes songs and whenever they hear Mixtapes on the stereo refer to them as “friends.” It’s pretty cool.
I guess we should also talk about the sheer volume of music that Mixtapes released in 2011. By my count (and if you count the vinyl re-release of Maps) the band released 32 songs on 4 or 5 separate releases: Castle Songs (2), Hope Is For People (6), Maps & Companions (15), and How To Throw A Successful Party (9). They’ve put out a handful of great music videos as well.
If you still aren’t convinced, this video of their last 3 songs from Fest 10 should give you at least a little idea of the sort of year it’s been for Mixtapes. Not only are they amazing songwriters and hilariously entertaining, Mixtapes are also amazing people. They’re currently writing for a new full-length that is due to be recorded in January 2012. I’m positive it won’t be anything less than epic.