By Volume Mixtape: June 20, 2013 - By Volume

I knew we'd never write. somehow that seemed alright. This counts as calling three years out. The Wrens - 13 Months in 6 Minutes

Hello! Welcome to By Volume’s first mixtape! I would have said “weekly,” or “monthly,” or maybe even “yearly,” but who really knows when we’ll get you the next?

We’ve been live for a good two months now, but before we were this grown-up, battery-powered and recharging website – back when we were more of a bit-part magazine with a cobbled together website as our recycling bin – we doted on the mixtape. We armed ourselves with YouTube playlists and listed album recommendations on our sleeve; behind the scenes, we exchanged the odd mixtape between ourselves, including an infamous theoretical “favourite songs ever” swap involving two staffers. Neither budged to the other’s side, which is one way a mixtape can be beautiful, really: in stubbornness and in authority. Bonus anecdote: that mix included George Michael and Guided By Voices. We’ll try to be less (more?) iconoclastic from now on.

So now we’re back, with a new, easily navigated type of mixtape: song links, song descriptions, song titles. The internet has made it a little more accessible, maybe, so you don’t have to ask your friend and mentor for information on who made Track 4. But we like to think it’s also made it more personal, in a way. It’s like we’re shipping you our music taste.

Our first mixtape includes Adam Downer on the majestic Pop Winds (trust him on this one), Jeff Goodwin answering some of Twigs’s wonderful questions, and Tayyab Amin gushing over one of his favourite Dean Blunt tracks. We hope you find something special, and if you do, let us know! E-mail us! We live on your validation.

Pop Winds - Earth to Friend
The title track off Pop Winds’ incredibly brilliant Earth to Friend slips on like a favorite sweater. Its serene, breathy harmonies go down like hot cocoa; the melancholic, three-note guitar phrase gives with the familiarity of a favorite chair; the chorus pops like a firework, complete with a starry-night backdrop and a warm blanket to watch it under. In so many words, the song feels safe, a slice of dream-pop that doesn’t create a fantastic lie with excess. Rather, it colors reality with a beautiful hue, contextualizes the present with a pat on the shoulder. - Adam Downer
Mount Kimbie - Meter, Pale, Tone (feat. King Krule)
King Krule and Mount Kimbie have revealed themselves to be one of the most fitting duos as of late. On Kimbie’s newest, Cold Spring Fault Less Youth, Krule’s verses add an element of depth and personality to the pulsing electronics and tingling percussion. Krule’s presence on two of the album's tracks only further highlights the budding artist’s ability to pick and choose perfect complements for his sound, and nowhere is that more clear than in the laid-back give-and-take of “Meter, Pale, Tone.” - Eric Loose
Bibio - You
Cut, paste, shudder and break. That’s the formula for “You,” the deceptively lazy, ragged single off Bibio’s superb Silver Wilkinson. It’s Dilla brushing up against the Commodores, new bumpin’ and grindin’ with the old, a helter-skelter mix of soul, hip-hop and glitch thrown together so erratically that its beauty only really crystallizes at the end. Baby making music for the laptop crowd. - Rudy Klapper
Dean Blunt - Brutal
On a piano piece echoing Mariah Carey's “The Roof," Dean Blunt laments, “It has gone away, and I'm still here.” His recent album, The Redeemer, finds the shadowy, almost mythical producer heartbroken and broken down, and on "Brutal" he's at his most vulnerable, battling with himself to come to terms with life moving on. The coughing during the second half adds a completely new sense of realness and honesty to the song. - Tayyab Amin
Twigs - How's That
Twigs relishes being the "unGoogleable woman," but that luxury will soon be a lost cause. On the heels of last year's sinuous self-titled EP comes "How's That" --- a smoky, amorphous shroud of synths, metronome beats, and the R&B nightingale's shadowy coo. From the shapeless ripple of the music's trip-hop sensibilities to the video's black-on-white fractals referencing Mezzanine's foreboding album cover, the track recalls Massive Attack's ominous, urban sensuality. But unlike the guest vocalist divas who've rotated through that Bristol collective's line-up, Twigs is the obvious centerpiece of this project. It's a foregone conclusion --- when you bring this level of prickly, liquid-sex intensity to the proceedings, anonymity becomes impossible. "How's that feel?" she asks. It's a simple question with an even simpler answer: "That feels good." - Jeff Goodwin
Dungeonesse - Drive You Crazy
It's all in those hi-hats. Seconds after Jenn Wasner utters it - "I'm gonna drive you crazy" - they hook in, setting a mission statement of sorts for Dungeonesse. Through lush, surprisingly intricate beats and one hell of a front woman we shall create a wonderland of pop. "Drive You Crazy" is just the start. - Dylan Siniscalchi
The Max Levine Ensemble - The Last of the Assholes
Spoonboy is an enduring pop-punk craftsman, one who knows how an earworm really infiltrates: with meaningful things to say, without their condescension (he'll never make a song less verbose than it should be, so enjoy singing along to lyrics you thought you'd never be capable of reciting), and with a shit-tonne of heart. "The Last of the Assholes" is a long list of excuses from loved ones, going on for an unnerving amount of time without ever losing its vitrol. Spoonboy uses the song to reproach encounters with misogyny, which might lead you to ask what a dude's right is spear-heading a challenge to the patriarchy - only "The Last of the Assholes" is fire, a song so attached to its topic it's hard not to feel the anger rising. - Robin Smith
Lightning Dust - Diamond
Lightning Dust’s 2009 release Infinite Light was a dark, whirling affair that proved far more affecting than initially expected. The group works best when Amber Webber’s voice cuts through the fog, offering moments of illumination to the humming instrumentation. And this is what “Diamond,” the first single from the forthcoming Fantasy, does so well, Josh Well’s wurlitzer provides a steady, pondering riff that feels equal parts Beach House and Chromatics. Over the top of this is the best Webber has to offer: a wonderful ear for melody, and just the right pangs of emotion to give the song a certain brightness, something lively and warm. - Keelan Harkin
The National - Pink Rabbits
The piano drops like a signal: we, along with Matt Berninger, are white girls cluttered among white girls, sitting in our fading chairs on a pleasant New York night. This is the realm "Pink Rabbits" creates, all 30s stateliness and 60s laissez-faire. The National sound vibrant in this world - let's hope they never leave. - Dylan Siniscalchi
Surfer Blood - Demon Dance
Summer beckons indie rock bands vying for your attention, a match up of who can best channel the sunny, feel-good vibes of the season. Surfer Blood are the frontrunners so far, with “Demon Dance” as their calling card. It has all the qualities of a great summer jam: carefree chord progressions basking in the sun’s heat; bouncy rhythms recalling early Weezer; boyish vocals rising in pitch for a contagious chorus; playful non-sequiturs (“come on baby let me connect to the server”). An instant earworm. - Ali Ashoor
The Dodos - Substance
The Dodos craft a cut that shifts oddly from a lop-sided beat, through majesty and out to a mellow collapse. The dynamics of "Substance" make it an apt closer, wherever it's sequenced on Carrier - when those horns give way to the calming guitar strokes, it's a moment of pure, dissolving beauty. - Adam Knott


Miley Cyrus - We Can't Stop
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Kanye West - Yeezus
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White Lung - Deep Fantasy
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David Sitek/Tinashe - Xylaphone
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Cursive - I Am Gemini
Cursive - I Am Gemini
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Great Cynics - Like I Belong
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Nicole Atkins - Slow Phaser
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James Blake - Overgrown
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