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 // 197
- “Back Pocket” by Vulfpeck — This song is stunning. Deep, big funky bass, smooth rapid-fire falsetto vocals, a number of synths, percussion that personifies the concept of controlled chaos, and is that a clarinet? Together these elements form a rich, lush, endlessly enjoyable tune.
- “Keep On Pushin’” by OKAY-KAYA — This song starts off with an arena-rock worthy reverby guitar tone, and then defies the expectation it just set by becoming a sparse downtempo blues ode of sorts. Gorgeous vocals, perfectly punctuated bass, strange electronic drums sounds that shouldn’t work but do. Synths pick up in the chorus, rounding out the sound.
- “Save The World” by Saux — This is very much what you would think of (or at least what this East Coaster thinks of) when you think of chilled out SoCal vibes. It’s a sound that comes up a lot on the Noon Pacific email. Here, though, a gorgeous layering of textures helps to keep this feeling fresh.
- “I Need You” by Slowes — Smooth. Sultry. Sexy. Grooving drums and sustained piano form the primary bedding for the vocals, joined by at least two different synth tones in the chorus. That’s all you need — take ‘em and chill for a few minutes.
- “Everybody Needs Somebody” by Surfalot — This is a great synthpop tune — it’s light and airy, with elements of funk and rock. Squelch in the synth, chirp in the guitar, a Phoenix-like tone in the vocals. It’s just super pleasant listening.
- “Can’t Blame” by biLLLy — Staccato, metallic guitar opens this tune, a really unique sound. Funky base says “hello” for a few notes, before making way for synth and programmed drums for the verse. Sounds and textures build steadily, resulting in an excellent, full-bodied tune. The lyrics of the verse, however, leave something of a bad taste in my mouth: Lines like “You’re so dependent on me … and how can I blame you baby” make me think that somebody needs to take a minute and get over themselves.
- “U No I” by Cleavage — Instrumental synthpop? I guess that’s what you’d call this. Simultaneously peaceful and driving, this is a gorgeously atmospheric and layered tune. Enough said. (My only complaint is that, at less than 2:30, it could definitely be a little longer.)
- “Flee” by Crayon feat. Ann Shirley — Dominated by stunning, slightly raspy vocals and slick, slinking bass, and with straining synths in the chorus and an unexpected handclap breakdown, this is a gorgeous, soulful song.
- “Paranoia” by Viigo — The vocals here aren’t anything particular special. Luckily, it’s not an a cappella tune — there’s a lot of great sounds to make up for it. A little R&B, a little synthpop, a lot likable.
- “Alright” by Young Summer — By far the rockin’-est song on the list, this track is in downright alt rock territory, albeit with a considerable electronic bent. Gorgeous, light synth appregiate through the background of what could almost be a top 10 pop song from the ‘80s.
Stand Outs: Honestly, all of these tunes stand out. Every single one of them. Which means that…
Let Downs: …for only the third time, I’m declaring Noon Pacific let down-free! Despite a couple lines of iffy lyrics and a single plain jane vocal performance, everything here was super solid and enjoyable.
Verdict: Noon Pacific // 197 is an excellent playlist, virtually fault-free. It doesn’t have the eclectic mix of genres that I love to get from Noon Pacific — overall it’s a heavily mellow, chilled out mixtape — but every tune was a delightful joy to listen to.
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.