Noon Pacific

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 // 182

  • “Young You” by kakkmaddafakka — Not their first appearance on Noon Pacific, kakkmaddafakka’s name belies their sound. Bright pounding piano, bass that really moves, skillfully executed drums, gurgling guitar, a unique and pleasing vocal performance. Just a really nice tune overall.
  • “Run” by TOURIST — A driving house-esque four-to-the-floor drumline underscores very melodic synth and atmospheric vocals. This song ends on a rather energizing, electronics-heavy crescendo. Very enjoyable, but I’m left wanting a little more than I got.
  • “Lou Lou” by Albin Lee Meldau — With rich, sultry, soulful vocals overlaid on gently fingerpicked guitar, pensive piano, and reserved drums, this is an extremely pleasant tune. The refrain of “Lou” is a bit overused and, at just over 2 minutes long, the song is over before you’ve even had a chance to fully appreciate it.
  • “Smoke Signals” by Hotel Garuda — Opening on static and a slowly chanting choir, this tune builds quickly — unique, nearly experimental, drums kick in with the vocals before shifting gears, for a second time, to a piano-driven house style with radio pop hooks.
  • “Shinethru” by FloFilz feat. Ivan Ave — Jazzy guitars start the show, joined soon by a hip-hop drum beat and funky bass. FloFilz’ rhymes are strong — he rocks an easy flow, energetic but relaxed, that’s suited to carrying his well-constructed narrative.
  • “Souvenirs” by Swimming Tapes — Indie rock with a definite surf rock vibe. The guitar is bright and jangly, the drums hit a laid back groove and hold it throughout, and the vocals are smooth and soothing, with just a hint of reverb. This song embodies what, in my mind as a New Yorker, is the ethos of the entirety of Southern California.
  • “I Know (Astronauts, etc. Cover)” by Harriet Brown — An R&B, almost easy listening, song. Heavily electronic, it doesn’t try to disguise the fact and makes no apologies for it. The breakdown, comprising of roughly a third of the track, is lush and tropical and beautiful. Some of the effects used are a little wacky but somehow they work.
  • “The Magician” by Andy Shauf — I was distinctly unimpressed by the opening, about 20 seconds of nothing but a single strummed guitar chord and a single piano note. But then woodwinds kicked in! And strings! It was a slow start, but when this tune picks up I’ll be damned if it isn’t mournful and beautiful as anything. Vocals like a cross between Elliot Smith, Jónsi Birgisson of Sigur Ros, and prime-era John Lennon/Paul McCartney float along in what is really a big, lush, vibrant song.
  • “Crazy (Jawster’s Waxy Rendition)” by Gnarls Barkley feat. Titi Stier — Another one with a deceptive beginning — this take on Gnarls Barkley’s mega-hit “Crazy” (the anthem to my post-college-freshman summer) starts as an almost Josh Groban-esque jazz remake (albeit with a dash of funk and a zippier tempo). And then the chorus comes, the bass is dropped, and we’re in a dubstep or dreamstep tune with trilling acrobatic vocals skipping around in it. Should it work? No. Does it work? Yes. Yes, it does.
  • “Blue Window” by Duñe x Crayon — With big throbbing bass and synth matching many of its notes, electric organ, plucky guitar somewhere between jazz and blues, smooth falsetto vocals, a bit of tasteful woodblock accent, and… is that crickets? This track is complex and silky and smooth, like a guilty pleasure.

Stand Outs: How am I going to pick standouts out of this bunch? I think the absolute worst thing I could say about any of these songs is “Yea, that’s pretty good.”

Let Downs: None. Zero. Zip. Sure, I like some of these songs better than others, some much better than others. But the fact is that none of these songs deserve to be branded as a “Let Down,” in the context of Noon Pacific or out of it.

Verdict: Noon Pacific // 182 was big. Ten tracks and every one was a winner. I’ll be cycling straight through this mixtape for a long while to come.

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.

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