Songwriters

Walter Nichols

Here's something fairly different. It's not indie, it's not psych, it's not electronic (except in the most technical sense), hip-hop or beat: it's the compositional music of multi-instrumentalist Walter Nichols. It's fascinating stuff, music that is both obviously deeply technically advanced and that comes at you in forms and lengths and with style that is far from typical radio-ready pop-structured songs, but which also manages to be not overindulgent, tedious or impenetrable. It pulls the fun side of pop and modern music, not shying away from less stereotypically "classial" instruments but instead including things like synths, looping machines and saxophone (and much more), but it ditches the typical "song" rulebook and also pulls from the focus on technical mastery and experimentation and the willingness to use lengthy, complex structures that composed music tends to have. It's a best of both worlds scenario, really.

I can tell when I listen to Nichols' pieces that there's a lot going on here that, as someone with what's obviously much more limited music theory knowledge than the composer, I'm not fully comprehending or being totally aware of, even while I can still point out to particular elements that seem singularly complex or impressive. Yet, as a student of music history and the relationship between the so-called "high" arts and popular art, I know that what Nichols pulls off here is not easy to do at all, this walking easily between the two worlds of technical composition and music that's modern and fun for anyone to listen to. .

As a plain listener, playful and rich are the words that come to mind when listening to Nichols' latest work, the succinctly titled W, which you can hear below in full. Moods are built and played with and never overdone or hammered too hard home, one track is very much a new flavor from the last and yet all work together conceptually and stylistically. It's glimmering and beautiful at times, harsh and nicely grating at others, and in all a real work-out for the brain.

If you want to push your boundaries a bit, or are already the type to be intrigued by music that isn't tailor-made to slide right into your preconceptions of fun, modern music but which still has the ability to find its way into that part of your brain (rules be damned), give Nichols a try with W below. It's well worth a little time to see if it clicks, because if it does, you'll have some quite nutritious new brainfood to get yer noggin' snacking on.

   

Jonny Debt- Waiting "Love"

Canadiana with a tinge of party-pop, Jonny Debt’s Waiting “Love” is begging you to break out the flip flops and mixed drinks, and play some hooky away from work. Really channeling his inner John Butler, his electric banjo strumming and country-jam band bring a good-times, slacker-rock meander into a fun pop song. The video, one-half party and one-half love-yearning soul search, is a fun venture split between the band jamming with some Jonny Debt-merch sporting co-eds, and a seemingly time and space traversing quest for a mythical long lost love. Wardrobe had a fun time on this shoot. If you’re looking to check this act out, they’re playing at the Midem festival in Cannes, France, and then embarking on a bar-hopping tour of southern Florida!-Cody Wright

   

Lila Rose Celebrates Album Release at the Independent 5/7

San Francisco based art rock singer/songwriter, Lila Rose will be celebrating the release of her album, WE. ANIMALS. The event will take place tomorrow on May 7th. Apparently, the new live show is comprised of a full multimedia rig including 3D mapping onto a structure that Lila will be singing from...that's exciting news. It's always good to learn that something new and innovative is going to emerge right before your eyes! Lila is a pretty gutsy performance artist, so you should definitely be ready to experience something a bit off the wall!

The downtempo, indie folk musical outfit, LYNX and talented folk artist, Mariee Sioux will be supporting Lila Rose tomorrow night. Support awesome local musicians who bust their tails to create awesome and elaborate shows for your inspiration and entertainment.

   

Alex Mason @Junction City Music Hall

Alex Mason is a blues, folk-rock singer/songwriter with cleverly written and thought provoking lyrical content. His EP "Wistow Lows" is just a small taste of his talents; the entire EP is loaded with energy and punch, all-the-while showcasing his booming, gritty, stop-you-in-your-tracks voice! He's playing solo 04/30 @ Junction City Music Hall w/ Emmy Rouge and Hierophant, you won't want to miss it! So, make sure to take a listen to his EP and head on out to the show!-Courtney Chalapenko

   

Deli Sneak Peak: Squirrel Flower

Singer-Songwriter Ella Williams, under the moniker Squirrel Flower, is releasing a new album Early Winter Songs for Middle America this Saturday 3/21. She was kind enough to give us a little sneak peak of the album, filled with tastefully short and dreamy songs. Early Winter Songs is a clear and deliberate portrait of Williams’ time in Iowa while attending Grinnell College, before returning to Massachusetts. It sounds damn cold there, I’ll just leave it at that. Mostly a solo electric guitar and her voice, Williams mixes in sparse field recordings that allude to the stark setting that inspired these songs. Lyrically, her style is poigniantly honest and authentic, never cluttering the meaning with strained analogies, just honest observations. It’s an impressive debut, and we’re thrilled that she’s back around Boston. Check out the haunting mostly a'capella track “I Won’t Walk Inside,”  it vividly illustrates the setting that inspired these songs.  You can also stream the charming tune "What Was That," or download the album here after 3/21.  - Paul Jordan Talbot