Noon Pacific // 208 Reviewed

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 // 208

  • “Turn” by TEN FÉ — A little jazzy, a little funky, this tune could almost — almost — pass for a The 1975 slow jam. It’s a nice song — smooth and low key, but with a muted guitar that lends it both drive and a slightly dark edge.
  • “Summer Friend” by SOLITAIRE — This is a song that deeply channels Sting/The Police — from the bright, chirpy, cyclical guitar down to the cadence of the vocal delivery (if not the vocals themselves). And yet, despite strong similarities, it avoids devolving into a nostalgia track with just enough thrown in to keep things fresh and interesting.
  • “Precious” by Kevin Garrett — Smooth R&B vocal styles backed by moderate electronic elements like muted programmed drums (supported by alternative percussion), keys (that get big and full in the choruses), and a couple different synth sounds. The bass is really bumping at times but its hidden by an almost muddy tone that keeps individual notes a little hard to pick out. The whole package has an interesting haziness to it.
  • “Ferns” by Iris Temple — This is an interesting tune: R&B-styled vocals meet bones that are more indie rock and soul meets occasionally heavy electronics. Throw in some occasional jazzy piano and guitar, a frantic (comparatively speaking) nearly-rapped verse. I’m not sure it all works together, but I’m not sure it doesn’t, either.
  • “Seasons” by Klangstof — Falsetto vocals lightly distorted to a fuzzy haze, eerie guitar, rock-based drums, and bass with just a touch of funk to it, buzzing synth touches. This tune is dark, nearly sinister, and groovy at the same time. It’s like that first wave you feel after taking a big rip off a bowl before deciding how your high is going to go.
  • “Heart Wants” by Magic City Hippies — This track is super pleasant. On the surface level its indie rock, but it’s filled with deft touches of jazz, soul, R&B, Motown, psych rock, and more. The plunky piano is extremely familiar and the simultaneous open-hi-hat-and-kick-drum triplet accents are a technique straight out of The Flaming Lips’ “The Morning of the Magicians” (and a bunch of tracks from Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, now that I think about it).
  • “All Lost” by Jack Grace — Echoey off-kilter drums, sparse piano, plain but emotive vocals, and some synth flourishes that are simultaneously at odds and in perfect synch with the overall aesthetic — that’s what this song is, and that’s all this song is. It’s an excellent example of doing a lot, making a big impact, while using very little.
  • “Killer Queen” by FIL BO RIVA — While this isn’t a cover of Queen’s 1974 breakout hit (which I’m both saddened by and relieved about), it has a lot of merit. The vocals — a Tom Waits-Nathaniel Rateliff-George Ezra hybrid sound — are stunning in their raw emotive power. This tune shares the folk overtones that the group’s previous Noon Pacific entry did, but it’s got more of a rock feel than the last. It’s also got a slower tempo and more of a dark edge to it. Very intriguing listening.
  • “Aburoy” by TEK.LUN — This song opens up fast, right in your face with both African and Caribbean sounds. It’s rich, it’s textured, it’s vibrant, it’s lively, it’s pure musical goodness.
  • “Midgnight” by Jordan Mackampa — As with all of this artist’s songs included in Noon Pacific playlists (he’s been on it at least twice before), tasteful restraint is the watchword (watchphrase?) here. Its instrumentation is minimal, but there’s a beauty and a subdued power to it that is undeniable.

Stand Outs: Klangstof, Magic City Hippies, Jack Grace, FIL BO RIVA, TEK.LUN, and Jordan Mackampa all provided stellar tracks this week.

Let Downs: For the first time in a while, I’m not naming any let downs. The first four tracks were my least favorite of the batch, but they’re all perfectly good songs in their ways.

Verdict: Noon Pacific // 208 marks the playlist’s 4-year anniversary. And little was held back for this landmark edition — after a few good-but-not-that-good songs, the wow factor really picked up. Overall I’m super pleased: this is another edition of Noon Pacific that is going to get steady, regular play from me.

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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