Once a week at roughly 12pm Pacific Standard Time on Monday, a gentleman by the name of Clark Dinnison releases a mixtape of 10 carefully curated songs that are making big waves on his radar. This is Noon Pacific.
Noon Pacific // 178
“Your Call” by Duck House — With clear, bright guitar, a calm but driving beat, distinctly synthetic synth tones (redundant as that is), and appregiating flourishes, this song plays rather like a love song to electronica of the ’80s — the fond memories of a genre that’s moving on.
“House For You” by LOYAL — A very rhythmic tune — piano, guitar, bass, and drums alike underpin the atmospheric electronics and reverb-heavy, overlapping vocals with their repetition and insistency.
“BBBlue” by Olivver the Kid — Despite, or perhaps in support of, a vocal-heavy performance, this is a big song. A steady rock-influence drumline propels a complex network of guitar and synth atmospherics, atop of which the vocals are quite at home.
“Like it Better” by Chris Malinchak — A level of twitchy glitches more at home in dubstep help this house tune stand out.
“Dedicated” by Mavis Staples — A real left field pick, R&B and soul goddess Mavis Staples (with the help of M. Ward and Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon) gives us what can only be described as indie-Americana. The laid back track touches on soul, rock, and even country, all with a surprisingly modern indie vibe.
“But Now A Warm Feel Is Running” by Fhin — Aqueous in its overall feel, this is a really interesting track. Almost schizophrenic in its sound, it has house bones with dreamstep synth, autotuned R&B vocals, and extra sounds (was that a sward being pulled from a scabbard?) that defy genre placement.
“Love Like That” by Mayer Hawthorne — This fast-paced, almost urgent, song plays like a cross between funk (complete with big, chorus-sung choruses) and indie synth pop. It’s unexpected, but damn is it enjoyable.
“Drugs” by Private Island — Speaking of unexpected, this is a track sounds like a Santana-esque psychedelic rock tune filtered through the modern indie scene. Big luxurious guitar solos are paired with surprisingly bright plucked parts. A synth chip here, some silky vocals there.
“West” by River Tiber feat. Daniel Caesar — An R&B delivery pulled straight out of the ’90s laid over a sparse bass-and-keys track much in the same vein, with a layer of low-key, pulsating synth sounds.
“Haven, Mass” by Bon Iver — An emotional , slowly building, and vaguely inspirational indie rock track. Built largely around a sparse piano line, a really nice drum part kicks in part way through. Throughout are subtle synth effects, so subtle they often fade from recognition.
Stand Outs: Mavis, baby! The songstress is able to keep her iconic, smoky voice relevant without rejecting her past. She steals any show, including this one. “Love Like That” follows it up, thanks to its unexpectedness and the talent with with the group blends genres. Bon Iver rounds out the top, if only because its so unlike what’s usually found in the mixtape.
Let Downs: The only real letdown this week was “West”. There’s nothing bad about it — in fact, the highly repetitive lyrics and abrupt end make it quite intriguing, in its way — but there’s nothing sonically that differentiates it from any of the thousands upon thousands of other R&B tunes that sound just like it.
The Verdict: Overall a strong mixtape, with respectable representation of the indie/synth pop genres and a few very unexpected surprises.
Noon Pacific, a labor of love, is updated with a new 10-track mixtape every week. Sign up here — it’s totally free, and you’ll get an email notification every Monday when the new tape goes live.