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 // 186
- “Episode” by Gallant — An ‘80s minded soul/pop kind of song. The falsetto vocals of the verse are overused to the point where rather than impressive they become grating. The bass is the best part of this song, growling and plunking and ringing along. Focus on that and you’ll get through OK.
- “Someone That Loves You” by HONNE feat. Izzy Bizu — Despite getting bigger in the choruses — that banging piano goes a long way — this is really a pretty mellow track. The female vocals, while good, are nothing particularly noteworthy, pretty standard pop fare. Same goes for the pleasantly subdued male vocal counterpoint — they’re gentle and pleasant, but not much else past that.
- “A Change Is Gonna Come (Sam Cooke Cover)” by Her — Like Charles Bradley last week, this cut is another gorgeous example of the revivalist movement. The take on the King of Soul’s world-class original is both faithful and respectful, creating an end product that is more homage, really, than cover.
- “La Ritournelle” by Sébastian Tellier (Gilligan Moss remix) — Opening on nothing but piano and some really quirky drumming, this song had me from the second bar. Some sci-fi synth fades in and out, as do haunting, echo-y lyric howls. Then, at 2:32, the vocals kick in in earnest for about 35 seconds, shifting the mood briefly from an atmospheric and stirring experimental instrumental to a sort of modern funk or disco filtered through electronica. It returns to its instrumental roots and remains there until 5:41 when the lyrics kick back in for another 15 seconds. The drums remain richly textured throughout, really very impressive and easily stealing the show.
- “Crazy” by Lido — Like LISS’s “Sorry” last week (I think I might be starting to see a theme here), this track overuses autotune. Considerably so. It’s all I can hear. Oh, that and the apparent glass-shattering sound effect. And the cheesy programmed horns. And the complete disjointedness that runs through the song.
- “Tightrope” by Lovespeake — A light and quick-tempo’d modern funk/jazz sort of song, this track features great plucky bass, squeaky synth organ, Bee Gees esque vocals, and some really nice clear guitar. Not a lot to say about this one, but at least it’s all good.
- “Grown Up Kids” by birthday — Chirpy synth triplets start us off before some very fluid bass and vocals that remind me strongly of somebody but I’ll be damned if I can think of who right now. Drums are a good foundation, serving their head-bop-instigating purpose, but are otherwise uninspired. The bass here really does it, slinking up and down the notes in unexpected ways that almost feel like the sound a drop makes when it hits the surface of the water.
- “Feel Good” by Satin Jackets feat. Scavenger Hunt — The second male-female vocal tradeoff song this week, this one is a bit more successful. The female vocals have not a smokiness, and not a roughness, but a something-between-the-two to it that’s really quite nice. A sexy sort of sultriness. The male vocals are equally good, filled with a deep rich tone. The music is good, stirring even — the marimba in the chorus is a particularly nice touch — but mostly serves to bolster the vocals.
- “Most Of All” by JMSN — Smooth R&B tunes have featured heavily on Noon Pacific playlists recently, so it’s kind of a surprise that we didn’t happen across one until now. There’s nothing wrong with this song. The vocals, bass, drums, and embellishments (them strings!) are all executed skillfully and come together well. But it is another smooth R&B tune, and I’d like to take a break for a week or two (or three)
- “The House By Wilshire” by Sault Ste Marie — I’ve been looking forward to this track based on nothing but its title and the musician’s name, and right off the bat I’m pleasantly surprised. Gently picked guitar and throaty, soft male vocals (backed by haunting female ones) are a welcome change of pace. Booming bass drum and hand claps, not to mention a few electronic flourishes, kick in during the chorus. It’s light, airy, sad, and deeply hopeful all at once.
Stand Outs: Sometimes I have to think about what tracks I liked most. Sometimes, like this week, I know immediately. Her’s cover of Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come” simultaneously respects and plays with the original. Sébastian Tellier and remixer Gilligan Moss hold nothing back in their search for new experiences in “La Ritournelle.” And finally, “The House By Wilshire” takes the tried and true acoustic soft-song ballad and pairs it with something new to great effect.
Let Downs: Another autotuned disaster, Lido’s “Crazy” doesn’t even have a solid tune backing the autotuned vocals that I can use to try to redeem it. This track is bad in all ways, far below the quality I’ve come to expect from Noon Pacific.
Verdict: Despite featuring a lot of sounds recycled from other recent playlists, there’s a lot to love in Noon Pacific // 186. Just maybe skip right over the fifth track.
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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