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 // 203
- “Outside” by TENDER — Sustained piano. Background noise. Synth. Bass that’s simple but big in the mix. This song grows into a real grinder — moody, sexy, laid back but with enough drive to keep you interested.
- “Gemini” by Hoops — This track is a little bit revivalist, very much occupying an early psychedelic rock sort of space. Chiming guitar, rambling bass, breathy vocals. It can drag just a little in the verse, but the upbeat, echoy guitar lines in the choruses help to keep things lively.
- “That’s Not Me” by CONDITIONER — With a guitar line that’s familiar in style yet somehow unplaceable and a very Caribbean-influenced rhythm section, this tune was hard to put a finger on… and that’s before the synth kicked in. The vocals have a distinctly indie rock tone. It’s a melding of influences that creates not just something that works, but a fully realized, cohesive whole — something truly unique to itself.
- “Something More” by RALPH — Heavily electronic (none of the previous tracks, despite all having electronic elements, were dominated by it), this track is very redolent of the ‘80s — it reminds me very much of the type of emerging synthpop of the age. Add to that modern pop-style vocals and you’ve got, if not a terribly unique song, a definitely well-put together and catchy one.
- “All4You” by The Palms — So this is an interesting tune. Many tracks on this playlist can be described as R&B with electronic influence or elements. This song is something more — it’s more of a seamless melding of synthpop and more traditional R&B elements. It’s more cohesive, more whole, than other R&B-minded electronic tunes.
- “So I Know You Care” by TOULOUSE — Strings start this song off, something we don’t hear too often here. Horns chime in, a very nice touch. This makes me think, for some reason, of early Regina Spektor — it’s a completely different sound, but there’s something about the vocal style and the quirky, in and out instrumental parts. But it builds, becoming lush and dramatic. It has a lot of different elements, but they all play beautifully together.
- “Find You” by BAYNK — Despite being an original tune, this song plays like a remix. An exceptional remix. That rapid fire bass tone is marvelous, and the world of sounds used to fill the gaps is extraordinary. The lyrics (basically just “I can’t find you” the whole time) can get a little stale, but if you close your eyes and let the music just take you…
- “Cut Me Loose (Ill Feeling)” by Obliques — Open on guitar tones that belong in a spaghetti western, the last place you’d expect this song to go is revivalist disco/funk. Yet that’s exactly what it does, and boy is it good. Classic rhythmic guitar, funky bass that plays along. Vocals silky smooth, with just a touch of smoke. Mmm.
- “Since You’ve Gone” by Loframes feat. Anoraak — Here we find some of the more heavily electronics-based music that is the mainstay of Noon Pacific. This tune, with the help of some economically picked guitar, is like a dream. It’s gentle, almost urgently so, an irresistibly atmospheric. A steady drumline, mostly 16th notes on the hi-hat, keeps you ground while the rest works to whisk you away to another, more peaceful place.
- “Rainbows” by YUNG ALOHA feat. YUNG BAE — Another revivalist tune, this one more of the R&B bent — that classic Motown style. It has the spunk bass, the gorgeously retro vocals, the falsetto backing vocals, even what sounds like flute flourishes. It’s deep, with deeper roots; its lush; its vibrant. It’s close to perfect.
Stand Outs: When I review a new installment of Noon Pacific, I write my thoughts live as I listen to the tunes — as I go, I mark songs that particularly stood out to me (for easy reference when I’m writing this bit). Last week there were four; the week before, 3. This week, there was eight. Eight tracks — four fifths of the playlist, virtually the entire thing — were outstanding songs. TENDER, CONDITIONER, The Palms, TOULOUSE, BAYNK, Obliques, Loframes feat. Anoraak, and YUNG ALOHA feat. YUNG BAE (despite a preponderance of yelling in their names) all displayed an understated mastery of making music that allowed them to present intriguing songs with truly unique sounds.
Let Downs: The only two songs I failed to mark as stand outs, “Gemini” by Hoops and “Something More” by RALPH, are not bad songs. They’re both downright good, in fact. I’d listen to either of them again, and I’d be happy about it. They were hurt, though, by the company they keep — compared to the rest, and regardless of their musicality, these two tunes lacked individuality.
Verdict: Noon Pacific // 203 was a phenomenal playlist. After a couple of somewhat disappointing weeks, I couldn’t be happier with the tunes presented here. One of the best Noon Pacific playlists I’ve ever had the privilege of writing about.
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.