Don’t take this the wrong way, but it takes a lot to get me excited. It makes me sound like a horrible music fan, but very rarely am I truly hyped on something enough that I am actually anticipating it’s release. Sure, hearing that one of my favorite bands has got an album in the works is always good news – but most of the time I won’t bother marking my calendar. It might be a bad memory, it might be laziness (or maybe I’m just terminally chill) but most of the time I’ll just end up listening to it whenever I get the chance. However, such was not the case with Run For Cover Record’s newest compilation, Mixed Signals. I was waiting for this baby to drop from the moment I saw Tigers Jaw‘s contribution to the comp was streaming on Run For Cover’s website. And I’ll tell you what, I was not disappointed. I was hyped.
The comp opens with Polar Bear Club‘s “Killin It“, the only song on the album that’s been previously released on another record. It’s a great starting point for the comp as singer Jimmy Stadt’s peals of raspy vocals intertwine with choppy, choked guitars on this “whoa-oh” riddled track. “Killin It” is followed by “Seahorses“, Balance and Composure‘s effort for the comp. Fans of the band’s recently released “Separation” will not be let down when they hear vocalist Jon Simmons’ signature lament-like style of voice, complete with all the warbled worries and weepy guitars so pinnacle to the band’s sound.
Tigers Jaw follows up with an absolutely enchanting tune aptly named “Distress Signal“; an emotionally charged and simple piece of work that is an absolute triumph for back-up vocalist and keyboard player Brianna Collins. Her haunting keys and ethereal, smoky voice compliment the song perfectly, and any huge Tigers Jaw fan (like myself) will definitely get a lot of mileage out of this one. Next up, Hostage Calm steals the show (or the album, rather) with their stand-out track “The M Word“, which has been on repeat in my room for the past week. A little bit Beach Boys, a little bit post-hardcore, “The M Word” is what would have happened if The Beatles started up in this decade. Although it’s a departure from the band’s typical sound, their major-mode-on-the-outside, minor and melancholy on the inside style is still completely present. The Menzingers also provide a poppy yet pissed off song called “Irish Goodbyes” which, by use of energetic guitars and a snap-to tempo, makes feeling bad and getting high alone sound like a damn good time.
“Basset St” by CSTVT is a scratchy garage-rock anthem that fans of any early Saddle Creek records release will definitely dig, and the song “Cursed” by Daylight which follows is in the same way a perfect compliment to its predecessor. “I’ve Got an Idea…” by post-hardcore outfit End Of A Year Self Defense Family is a sad little gem that sounds like a relationship ending, and it’s shiny guitars juxtaposed with solo-artist Caroline Corrigan’s smooth voice will have many heads bobbing. “Texts and Tomes” by Daytrader is a regretful and sad but overall enjoyable effort, and Make Do and Mend‘s addition to the comp, “Coats” is a riotous, raspy, quick-as-a-whip piece that packs plenty of punch and attitude into it’s 3 minute frame. “Die Alone“, a perfectly accented alt-country tune is wonderful. I’m not typically into anything that has a country twinge to it, but this twang-a-lang ballad by The Tower and the Fool is the mid-west at it’s mid-best. Finally, The World Is A Beautiful Place and I Am No Longer Afraid To Die closes the comp with a bittersweet, dreamy song entitled “To The Janitor, To The King“. It’s Bob Dylan-esque vocals and twinkly, gentle guitars are a lovely wrap up to an album that is so diverse yet cohesive, it could be called a masterpiece.
The Final Word: Overall, this album is one of my favorite records to be released all year. It’s a must-have for followers of the label, and anyone else who wants what is essentially a pre-made, kick-ass mix tape of excellent music. I strongly advise buying it, listening to it, and loving it forever. Yes, it’s that good.