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 // 180
- “Waiting” by HELO — Real groovy funk with a dash of modern neatness. Pleasant but ultimately not particularly notable.
- “Crystals” by The Dean — Beautifully executed rapped lyrics over a track that, frankly, defies categorization — a little funk, a little jazz, a little r&b, a little of every but the kitchen sink.
- “Cruel Game” by Vokes — This track has an indie-pop or electro-pop kind of vibe, with a big, surprisingly heavy and rocking bridge. Light, airy, great for listening.
- “DX7” by Dabuell — An unabashedly 80s nostalgia track. With just a touch of funk influence, though, and silky but subdued vocals, it manages to stay entertaining.
- “Grave Digger” by Matt Mason — The type of modernized folk with an edge of rock gritty blues to it that is serving Hozier so well (love him or hate him, he’s kind of killing it) somehow manages to leave this track feeling hollow and disingenuous. It’s got great potential but misses the mark ever so slightly.
- “In The Air” by Ten Fé (Star Slinger Remix) — This song is very much in the house tradition, and yet somehow misses the mark. It is, more or less, the same 2 bars of music repeated for about 4 minutes. It closes on a really quite delightful outro, but it’s too little too late.
- “Animals” by Coast Modern — Reminiscent of Arcade Fire (particularly in the group chant choruses), this track features unique touches — like a nearly constant 8th note clap and what could only be castanets — that keep it interesting even as it stretches out.
- “Don’t Feel Like” by JATA — Smooth R&B vocals over synth that in turn bubbles, chirps, and fuzzes. I don’t think these sounds are supposed to work together, but here they most certainly do.
- “Carl Sagan” by Night Moves — If you took Phoenix and upscaled their pop chart ambitions to somewhere around Adele levels, you might get something like this. We might count this tune as “easy listening” in a few years, when millennials start having midlife crises.
- “With You Forever” by Haliia — Heavily distorted vocals mingle with soft, even delicate, atmospheric synth and a hyper-sparse beat. A real slow burner, the song is well over three quarters done by the time your patience is finally rewarded with an escalation. And what an escalation it is, giving just enough but withholding all the same.
Stand Outs: Haliia’s “With You Forever” is astounding in the way it maintains simplicity without sacrificing nuance. “Cruel Games” by Vokes is, plain and simply, good listening.
Let Downs: The plainness of HELO’s “Waiting” can’t be saved by its funk sensibilities, and Night Moves’ “Carl Sagan” is awfully pop-derivative.
The Verdict: Noon Pacific // 180 gets props for adventuring outside of its genre comfort zone and finding a few real gems in the process.
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.