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 // 185
- “Baby” by KINGDM feat. Kevin Garrett — Smooth electropop with touches of R&B in the vocals and classic rock in the soaring guitar solo about three quarters of the way through, this is a really interesting track. Throughout, the varied synths are the stars but everyone plays quite nicely together.
- “You Think I Don’t Know (But I Know)” by Charles Bradley — In a shining example of the emerging revivalist movement, this cut could easily have been recorded in the ‘60s. It hits that beautiful intersection of rock, soul, and truly classic R&B, the kind of stuff I grew up listening to thanks to my mother. The whole affair is deeply redolent of Otis Redding.
- “I’ve Fallen For You” by Tom Redwood — This track opens on upbeat, even chipper plucked guitar notes (which could actually be programmed synth, jury is still out), ever so slightly off kilter, that shift to full-on pulsing synth in the same melody. Sort bursts of repetitive, airy vocals complete the picture, making for a tune easy to lose yourself to.
- “Money On Me” by SNAKEHIPS feat. Anderson .Paak — Staccato rhymes over synthy beats that are at once oceanic in flow and hectically glitchy. Fading out a mere minute and a half after kicking off, this song is a real tease. The good kind. You know what I’m talking about.
- “Call” by Ben Beal feat. Cole Bauer — Another very short song, this one opens on a quiet organ bit that for just a moment I could’ve sworn was “Here Comes the Bride.” Sparse drums kick in, then some synth, and deep bone-felt bass. They all fall into a wonderful kind of unsyncopated cacophony, like all the parts are being played correctly but just slightly off time. It’s really quite mesmerizing.
- “Used To Be” by Beauvois — A really rather gentle song, a quiet but present four-to-the-floor drumline helps to ground the flurry of delicate synth and near-whispered vocals that are floating around. Big, bass heavy choruses help to keep the balance.
- “Sorry” by LISS — This song has a little bit of everything — marimba, strings, programmed drums, clear rich vocals. It also has some things, like autotune, in overabundance. I get the motive to it, but it kind of grates on me. The music though, if you can listen past the artificial vocal squawks, is very well executed.
- “I’m Not Right” by XY&O — This song is very much an ‘80s tune, but without that heavily artificial undertone to the synth that most ‘80s songs have. Even the vocals have an ‘80s vibe, that feeling like the singer has a pretty high opinion of themselves and is working to make it known in their singing. If these all sound like insults, they’re not — I’m into the tune, though admittedly in a low key way.
- “Closely” by Empty — Heavily reverbed guitar, downtempo but danceable drums, synth in the choruses that sing like whales, and a breakdown that’s downright dance rock, this song is really something else. It’s both stimulating and deeply relaxing.
- “Energy” by Austin Paul — In a somewhat ironic twist, the song called “Energy” is probably one of the most laid back on this week’s playlist. It’s got its energetic moments — like some really interesting playing-around on the drums — but for the most part the sounds are purely soothing.
Stand Outs: Charles Bradley belting out throwback tunes with nothing but modest self-assurance in “You Think I Don’t Know (But I Know),” SNAKEHIPS teasing us terribly in “Money On Me,” and Ben Beal and Cole Bauer’s artful idiosyncrasies steal this week’s show.
Let Downs: LISS mars an otherwise stellar tune in “Sorry” with an unnecessary overuse of autotune (I couldn’t get passed the artificial vocal squawks), and XY&O’s “I’m Not Right,” while superficially enjoyable, just isn’t terribly interesting.
Verdict: A lot of the tunes in Noon Pacific // 185 are pretty similar to each other (I doubt I could tell you the difference between Beauvois and Austin Paul right now, even having just listened to both their cuts a number of times this evening), unlike the beautiful diversity of Noon Pacific // 181. That said, many of the songs are rather good, and some of them are even quite good. Overall I am not disappointed.
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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