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 // 210
- “Something Special” by Slowes — A slow electropop tune. The vocals — higher pitched with the tiniest touch of whininess in them, plus a haunting, deep echo — could be at home in an indie rock outfit, or even a psyche rock one, and add a unique element. The instrumentation is dominated by a number of synths which mostly hang back in atmospheric territory but occasionally make hazy, wavery surges.
- “Off & On” by dickystixxx — This is a respectable, if not necessarily notable, dance track. It’s got a fairly classic EDM programmed drum track, keyed synth, and others to boot, and radio-ready, R&B-inflected vocals (a little breathy, a little falsetto).
- “Something In the Water” by Tom Grennan — Two guitars start us off — one a clean, clear, jazzy chirp, the other possibly an acoustic being strummed. Vocals kick in, and they’re hard to place — they’ve got a gritty soulful bluesiness (think a slightly more reserved Nathaniel Rateliff) but are undeniably reggae in cadence. The tune gets big, almost operatic, in the choruses.
- “Artist Type” by Brandyn Kaine — I’m sure I’m not the first to make this comparison, but this sounds like Twenty One Pilots via a dreamy electropop lens. It’s smart, articulate, concise, and moving. I find myself saying these things despite myself — I want to hate it and bash it, but I simply can’t.
- “Tides” by Swimming Tapes — Indie rock guitar — both strummed and plucked — open this breezy summertime tune. Groovy classic rock base, steady reserved drum. This is a straight-up indie psyche rock kind of tune, no muss no fuss — a little nostalgic, and a little modern, too. Which, frankly, I’m a little bit of a sucker for.
- “Walk Out On the Water” by Royal Canoe — Chanting, unorthodox percussion, booming bass, sultry vocals, some synth touches (or is that an electric violin?). This is a deep, layered, complex tune. It’s like the male, moodier version of tUnE-yArDs.
- “Midnight Mischief (Tom Misch Remix)” by Jordan Rakei — R&B vocals over what I can only describe as non-traditional, occasionally discordant synthpop. This is really interesting — the vocals and the percussive foundation are pretty standard but the middle, the guts, of the tune… there’s trilling whistles and, the main element, a slowly wheezing synth (or another possible electric violin), like some creature’s mournful dying cry. A Theremin-like sound comes into play and, in the final third of the song, so does an improbable and very brief glam rock-styled guitar solo. It makes no sense and very confusing; it makes so much sense and is perfect.
- “Certainty” by Temples — Industrial drums and an unidentifiable buzzing (could be synth, guitar, or bass) give way to a really quite stirring ‘90s sort of video game sound. The bass is all over the place, in an awesome Flaming Lips sort of fashion. And the flourishes — synths and guitars both pop in and out in unexpected places, making their beautiful tiny cameos. It’s like Nine Inch Nails meeting MGMT or early-era fun. meeting Flaming Lips meeting Kyle Dixon (Stranger Things composer). This song is driving, verging on hectic, but it’s beautiful and stunning and grabs you from the very first note.
- “Mine” by Tony Pops — This is pretty straightforward synthpop, albeit a little more busy — close to too busy, at times — than most. It brings to mind all the standard modern synthpop acts to hit big in the mid- to late-oughts — Passion Pit, Pheonix, et al.
- “Swimming Ft. James Vickery” by Joe Hertz — Here we have what seems to be a mashup of a smooth modern R&B tune, complete with breathy vocals and fitting percussion, and a dubstep song, complete with drops and wubwubwubs and associated sounds. And, despite a brief sense of oddity right at the first drop, is really quite good.
Stand Outs: Tom Grennan’s soulful bluesy grit with jazzy touches in “Something In the Water,” Swimming Tapes’ nostalgic and modern indie psyche rock in “Tides,” Royal Canoe’s eclectic, quirky layering in “Walk Out On the Water,” Jordan Rakei’s moody mournful beauty in “Midnight Mischief (Tom Misch Remix),” and Temples’ mix of just about everything under the sun into a wonderful, enticing whole in “Certainty” are this week’s stand outs.
Let Downs: Nothing in this playlist was bad, not a determination I make often or lightly. Yay!
Verdict: Noon Pacific // 210 was a really strong list. The genre mix is good, the tunes are new and unique and adventurous, and nothing bombed. I’m a very happy boy listening to this mixtape, and I expect I will be for quite a while to come.
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.