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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.

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Coyote Black Tonight! @ the Baltimore House

Soft, Sweet and Sexy Rock n' Roll- Coyote Black, take claim to "Slop Rock". This Hamilton three piece has stories to tell with a warm inviting vocal and unforgettable musical elements, just like skipping stones over lake Ontario. Describing themselves as music "your mom will love" we couldn't agree with them more, Coyote Black vibes for all ages. Take a listen to their self titled EP and groove to the opening track "Ocean Black" it makes your body sway with a wholesome vocal, guitars that strum and pluck aromatically to a homegrown whistle. See them tonight @ the Baltimore House with Aukland and Boy With An Atlas. 

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Walrus @ the Burdock

Psychedelic pop rock from Halifax, Nova Scotia, that's  Walrus. Super lo-fi no nonsense chord bangin' rock. The good stuff! Fresh off an NXNE performance of their own, these fellas are hittin' the road for the next month goin all the way around the Maritimes, Quebec, Ontario and New York. The first tune on their EP "Glam Returns" is called "Banger" which is is through most of it until it drops into a total maxin' n relaxin' shoegaze. They have some early Tame Impala influences I'd say. Lucky for us they're back in Toronto on July 7 at the Burdock.-Kris "Big City" Gies

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Big Name Actors

Big Name Actors are a rock trio based in Toronto. Although part originally came from Halifax, NS. They combine Maritimes pop rock with 90's grunge for an excellent musical combo. They released their EP "Morning Sun" in May of 2014. The opening tune "Talkin To Myself" starts with a rumbling drum beat which the bass joins in simply n' smoothly. The guitar kicks in with some mini-shreds over the thumpin' rhythm as the song continues to build. It all comes together with a smooth chorus followed by a tight breakdown/bridge. Cool, catchy tune! See them July 3rd @ Bovine Sex Club with our friends Flamingo Bay and The Ballroom Babies.-Kris "Big City" Gies

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Meeko Cheech EP Release @ Handlebar

We are gearing up for Meeko Cheech’s latest EP out this Saturday June 27th. Toronto’s weirdo rockers give their listeners a heavy cognet dark progression of their multi-instrumental synth-psycho rock with their latest EP, Miss Bolivia. The single is an epic tale of sound with a stereophonic vocals that whisper to a dark adventure of guitars & drums that fold in and out to wicked synths & organs. We are totally hooked! See them Saturday @ Handlebar bring it all in! Go to their bandcamp on Saturday and hear the entire EP.

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