By Volume Mixtape, September 27 - By Volume

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

Wander the line between Autumn and Winter with our September mixtape, a cavalcade of pop gems where pop has various suffixes and we share the best of our personal playlists. Whatever your sensibilities, we’re confident you’ll find something in the next 9 tracks to love. Enjoy.

Cloudy City Tours (☆LIGHT SPEED) by Snorlax
Though not a chiptune track in the strictest sense, this is the most interesting array of video-gamey sounds I've ever heard. After two minutes of a sweeping, inoffensive snythpop build-up peppered with whimsical cartoon noises and vocals vocoded beyond recognition, a trappy finger-snap introduces the groovy bass. For a genre that I've dismissed in its entirety as a novelty with no replay value, it's actually irritating to me how good this track is. - Nick Mann
Neko Case - Ragtime
So, yeah, "Ragtime" is pretty much Neko Case's first Broken Social Scene moment. That voice, those lyrics: the hallmarks of classic Neko are still here in spades. But there's also something else in the song that really reminds me of that large Canadian ensemble; undoubtedly it's those swaying horns that lift the second half of the track into a really great climax. Besides being a solid standalone song, "Ragtime" is also a great closer to Neko's latest release. Its lazy, lilting melodies sway half-anxiously under the weight of the rest of the album, but those horns in the climax bring the song, and the album, to a semi-transcendent finish. It gets stuck somewhere in the middle, never reaching for something too epic, that would be cliche, but instead it resounds with the remarkable ability to sound fresh and new, while almost dozing off into blackness. - Keelan Harkin
Janelle Monáe - Q.U.E.E.N.
Janelle Monáe has always been an enormous proponent for the alternative, more importantly the complete liquidation of the term, through unabashed adoration of one's self. She simply has always been proud to let her colors fly, no matter who may disapprove. "Q.U.E.E.N." is Monáe with her chromatic plume on display for all to see. She graciously rides the curvaceous bassline of the song's first half, sopping in 80s swing, into the 70s string breakdown (think Motown) through to a sendoff of boom-bap 90s infused Wu-Tang-esque political rap. Janelle nails it at every single turn, creating an essential bounce, an undeniable uniqueness that gleams through past all her obvious influences. And as a stand-alone track, once "Q.U.E.E.N." is separated from it's dystopian, Metropolis-inspired world Monáe occupies within her music, it rings even clearer as a intricate, instantly catchy and endlessly enjoyable tune from an incredibly talented and motivated artist. - Dylan Siniscalchi
William Onyeabor - Good Name
Everything about this is brilliant. Tentatively labelled 'Electronic' on the Soundcloud page of Luaka Bop, the world music-oriented label of former Talking Head David Byrne, “Good Name” is a synth extravaganza appearing on a forthcoming compilation of William Onyeabor's work. The Nigerian space-funk myth disavowed secular music and disappeared, rendering much of his music difficult to legally license. Caribou, John Talabot and Dâm-Funk are but a few of the musicians commissioned to work their magic on Onyeabor's legacy, though the ten minutes of “Good Name” is completely original. It's no wonder the sound was unique to Onyeabor in '70s Nigeria, keys with melodies that take you for a spin and electric riffs that leave you in the dust. There's a prominent message among all the joy, as the song begins, “A good name is better than silver and gold / And no money, no money, no money, no money, no money can buy your name.” - Tayyab Amin
Maya Jane Coles - Wait For You
Maya Jane Coles’ new collaboration with Tricky, "Wait For You" is a haunting, slow-burning number. The guest vocals begin barely audibly, as Coles slowly builds ambiance via suppressed synths and a constant mechanical pulsing sound. Elements are added as the vocals become clearer, first a snare, then occasional flourishes of throbbing bass. The track grows and builds towards an entrancing groove in which Coles displays her true mastery as a producer of the deep house aesthetic, even gracing the latter half with backing vocals of her own. Coles’ catalogue of impressive songs grows with every new release, and “Wait For You” is sure to go down as a highlight. - Adrian Hertzberg
Blue Sky Black Death - II ft. Child Actor
"II" is the second of a whole five tracks that comprise the forthcoming Glaciers LP from the ever-innovative Blue Sky Black Death production duo. 2012 saw the pair experimenting in the realm of cloud rap and trap techniques, teaming up largely with Seattle's master punchline MC, Nacho Picasso. "II" diverges from this path, converging back to a more familiar territory of a dream pop come trip-hop hybrid explored on 2011's Noir. Child Actor lends her reverb-laden vocals to further enhance the ethereal atmospherics, her tone imparting a sense of near child-like wonder. Coming in at a whopping eleven minutes, "II" is a harbinger of an evolving compositional methodology that finds BSBD exploring dynamics and transitional sections more effectively than their prior formula allowed. Glaciers drops October 1st on Fake Four Records. - Sobhi Youssef
MadGibbs - Harold's
Perpetually between records, Freddie Gibbs is still able to keep us perpetually salivating at his flow. Gangsta Gibbs' and his long-await debut ESGN may have arrived to a bit of a whimper earlier in the year (it wasn't anything great), but his recent work with Madlib should hush any who claim Gibbs is slipping. Deeper is the third collaborative EP from the duo since 2011 and "Harold's", the first single, is all swagger and smiles. The beat is clean, like the type of shit that would effortlessly slink out of car speakers in the heat -- its a shame this is being released so late in the summer season, it deserves to be blared out open windows. Gibbs himself, as to be expected, in still in champion's form, adhering to Madlib's beat like a sap flowing down bark, its natural and just meant to be this way. - Dylan Siniscalchi
Bayside - Killing Time
A 2-year-vintage song that implores urgency; about time we got 'round to it. But "Killing Time" is the eponymous, colossal closer to Bayside's 2011 album, an alt-rock track so single-minded, weighty and immense that it holds off all comers. The opening riff is enormous, and the song maintains a palpable tension and force despite its medium tempo, but it's the chorus' last line that devastates: "I'm half-way to happy now, and I always mistake it for progress!" Clench fists, grit teeth. Repeat. - Adam Knott
Man Man - Head On
Man Man is still considered an experimental pop group, so far as it goes, but with On Oni Pond, their sixth album, that moniker is mostly an academic one. There’s still something thrillingly unhinged about the band, a picaresque blend of Honus Honus’ carnival barking, rusty with whiskey, and the band’s instrumentation as improvised and unexpected as a high wire act, dark and deranged. On Oni Pond, however, continues the transition into the pop mainstream hinted at with 2011’s Life Fantastic and Honus’ work with Nick Thorburn in Mister Heavenly, and, wouldn't you know it: they’re goddamn naturals. “Head On” is almost heretical in how straightforward it all is, these bouncy Brill Building chords and a major-key chorus lift that feeds directly into your feet and your brain. There’s still hints of the gypsy weirdness and disjointed mechanics that give Man Man their distinctive flavor, but it’s buttressed by a surprisingly robust sense of structure and those hooks, subtle and clever yet unencumbered by nothing more than a simple need to hit those bliss notes. Liberating and sweetly vulnerable, it’s a fine primer for the rest of the record. - Rudy Klapper

Shuffle

stoneymorethananimals
Stoney - More Than Animals
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mccartney-new
Paul McCartney - New
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4m9z8xpgdpqxuvouj4iltnzly.500x500x1
A$AP Ferg - Shabba (Remix)
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Home-Truths-1440
The Cape Race - Home, Truths
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disclosure-settle-artwork-4.16-1
Disclosure - Settle
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wave-forms
Islands - Wave Forms
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likeclockwork
Queens of the Stone Age - ...Like Clockwork
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valtari
Sigur Ros - Valtari
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