By Volume Mixtape, July 7 - By Volume

The kid that went down isn't dead; he just can't find his phone. The Hold Steady - Almost Everything

Introducing By Volume’s second mixtape! We promised not to go iconoclastic, you know, in the bad sense of the word — no ’80s revival next to Swans. We lied. July’s set of songs will make you feel a quixotic sense of joy; you’ll dance, but then we hope you’ll fist pump, and then, I don’t know, maybe twiddle your feet in bed?

Our last mixtape felt around for a sense of 2013, but a lot’s happened since, you know, twenty days ago. In this one, Ali Ashoor tries to find less conflating hip-hop to talk about in a musical landscape that birthed Yeezus, bringing us words on Danny Brown’s newest single. Rudy Klapper spreads his nostalgia adoringly, extending it to the present day with a song from pop-rock veteran Sean Nelson. Robin Smith talks folk punk, again,and Tayyab Amin has things to say about Willis Earl Beal.

That and much more makes up a disorientating soundtrack for your summer-sun days. Get ‘em while they last, yeah?

Danny Brown – Kush Coma (feat. ASAP Rocky and Zelooperz)
Earlier this year, producer A-Trak astutely stated that “rap went from glorifying selling hard drugs to glamorizing their effects.” If our Adderall Admiral wasn't exemplary of this trend before, there shouldn’t be any lingering doubts after the lead single of Danny Brown's much anticipated Old. Flickering keyboard swirls and dissociative percussion have Danny “going down in an elevator ninety miles an hour,” his torrential flow battling against Skywalker’s psych-obstacles. A$AP Rocky and Zelooperz are flung through the course as well, but it’s Danny’s show, a virtuoso display of how he’s become the most beloved underground rapper in years. - Ali Ashoor
Sean Nelson - Make Good Choices
I don’t think good pop-rock will ever go out of style. Sean Nelson, of ‘90s alt flashpoints Harvey Danger and ‘00s indie also-rans the Long Winters, has never had a problem filling that need; his songs are quaintly straightforward, all melody and point-A-to-point-B song structure, but there’s always been something invigoratingly vicious about his hooks. Mostly it’s that voice, so unself-conscious it’s almost intimidating,vocals that turn from casual to vindictive with a moment’s notice, phrases that rot black with venom within a verse, seemingly only restrained by the good decorum of a proper pop song. Nelson’s vagabond travels through the music industry haven’t dulled his caustic wit since “Flagpole Sitta” crashed the airwaves – “Make Good Choices,” the title track off his debut solo album, is refreshingly candid, subverting the easy melodic guitar rock with a virulent kiss-off. “Your face was perfectly straight / you said that basically / most people hate their friends / I say it depends,” Nelson sings as temperatures rise and the guitar rebels in the background, before reverting back to Nelson’s mantra: “I have so much, so much, I wanna tell you / and nowhere to begin.” No problem, here, Sean; I could listen for days. - Rudy Klapper
Willis Earl Beal - Everything Unwinds
The ever-intense Willis Earl Beal premieres a new chapter in his life following on from his rustic lo-fi debut, Acousmatic Sorcery. Plenty has changed for Willis since, and it's evident in his music. “Everything Unwinds” is less brash and more cautious, perhaps wiser, as Beal opts for a porch-rocking-chair style over the usual deranged street busker demeanor. His musings seemingly tail off in the manner of the song title, with background hums carrying his mystifying riddles off into the surrounding vacant space. - Tayyab Amin
Ghost Mice - House on Fire
Free Pizza For Life, the touching memoir written by Chris Clavin about his homemade Plan-It-X label, is strikingly nomadic: it’s about following the scene you fall in love with wherever you go, or else making it up as your car makes miles. Clavin moved from his hometown to cherished Bloomington, living in his car when he had to, stealing pizza for the game of it, and shaking off the barrier of a permanent bedroom. Shelter, the new split release from his folk-punx veterans Ghost Mice and Pat the Buny’s third and most self-loathing band, Ramshackle Glory, is a snapshot of his label’s freewheeling spirit. On “House on Fire”, Clavin watches the roof over his head collapse, shrugs, and gets on the road. - Robin Smith
Big K.R.I.T. - Meditate
"Meditate" is a fitting title for such a contemplative song. Granted, K.R.I.T. has been here plenty of times before; this is just the same poetic introspection seen through fame's veneer. Expressing his taste for solitude -- even as this peace is frequently found at the bottle's end-- he continues his growth into one of hip hop's most eloquently honest personalities. - Dylan Siniscalchi
Merchandise - Anxiety's Door
One of the reasons “Anxiety’s Door” is such a stunning entry in Merchandise’s large repertoire is because it characterizes the band’s charm with such accuracy. The ebb and flow of the post-punk influenced song trades off with Carson Cox’s blithe singing, creating an atmosphere concocted for the most detail-oriented listeners. The new Totale Nite EP is another one of Merchandise’s works that artfully combines woe and bliss, but nowhere does the mixture sound as poignant and mesmerizing than on “Anxiety’s Door.” - Eric Loose
Jon Hopkins - Open Eye Signal
"Open Eye Signal" opens serenely. The beat builds from syncopated blips to a more tangible rumble as Hopkins weaves with a master's hand, his synths elegant and emphatic yet subtle enough to catch you off guard. And when it hits its peak, about half way in, it feels completely unexpected, but breathtaking. - Dylan Siniscalchi
Owen – Coffin Companions
Another lullaby about mortality, Kinsella? I so plaintively want to shake my head at you, but then you feather strum that acoustic guitar of yours, whisper a Morrissey reference in my ear, bring out a damn harmonica, and I’m predictably enamored. Guess I’ll hop in that coffin, you nauseating charmer. - Ali Ashoor
Jenny Hval - Innocence Is Kinky
Jenny Hval's "Innocence Is Kinky", opener to her new, provoking album of the same name, takes our vision and subverts it. It's inspired by trash living, in violent pornography or mind-numbing reality TV, and the lethal combination of the two: the sex tape. Hval treats these like falsified studies of the body. "That night, I watched people fucking on my computer" she states in candid spoken word, as if it's nothing more than a scientific fact. What "Innocence Is Kinky" does is give its listener new visions, ones that recreate neglected bodies into something real. No more hurtful fantasies. - Robin Smith
Run the Jewels - Sea Legs
While Run the Jewels is planted firmly in the realm of battle rap and hardcore hip-hop, "Sea Legs" harkens back to El-P's penchant for atmospheric pieces influenced by rock science fiction and electronic music alike. Lyrically, it's on point, featuring Killer Mike's trademark southern flow as well as El-P's own complex internal rhymes. Run the Jewels is available free from Fool's Gold Records in what may be the kindest hip-hop gesture ever. - Sobhi Youssef
Pixies - Bag Boy
I can now fully comprehend the urgency behind Frank Blank's move to release a new Pixies song a mere fourteen days after Kim Deal quit the band. He needed us to hear the track's hold-your-breath moment at 1:38 when the "bag boyyyyyyyyy" hook drops --- equal parts flattery, heresy, and "don't worry folks, we got this" reassurance for everyone still praying for a proper comeback album from indie rock's irreverent godfathers. Because while that vocal part was sure-as-shit written for Deal and she most assuredly isn't singing it (the Bunnies' Jeremy Dubs impersonates her disturbingly well), it's the juicy, sonic soup beneath "Bag Boy" that Frank's jazzed about --- the menacing soft/loud dynamic, the guitar whine cutting into your head space like a dentists' drill through laughing gas, and Black's whacked-as-fuck one-liners ("Like a small bird, pretty/ While it’s crapping on the new day"). "Bag Boy" could be just another futile yank on the chain that "Bam Thwok" was in 2004, but maybe it's the one that finally gets the monster's engine revving. If Black knows the answer, he isn't telling. On that last comeback attempt, Kim swooned: "I can hear the buzz of modulations of the universe/ But you're the first to make me feel it." Now Francis only babbles: "I’m not feeling your buzz/ I only smell your crock of stew." If nothing else, the Pixies sound insane again. Yummy. - Jeff Goodwin

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