Review: William Ryan Key – Virtue EP

William Ryan Key - Virtue

William Ryan Key has a lengthy history of songwriting that feels intensely personal. Whether it’s his solo work or his work with Yellowcard, you can tell that he’s writing from a real place. He’s never one who will shy away from the tough subjects or extremely emotional moments. That’s something to be admired. Every now and then, I’ll listen to something mainstream on the radio and at times, it doesn’t feel like there’s much personality to it.

With Virtue, William Ryan Key is focused on the intimacy of these moments that he’s writing about. You can tell just with the lyrics that these songs really mean something to him. Even when the title track builds up to a full band sound, it doesn’t look the personal aspect to it and that’s something I love about the EP.

Earlier in the year, William Ryan Key released Thirteen and I’m glad he went with two EP releases versus one LP. He’s able to focus on specific sounds for each one and do something a little different. Both are enjoyable, but not necessarily for the same exact reasons, which is great. It gives you different flavors of what he can do as a solo artist and still keeps the songwriting as the core focus.

As a sucker for acoustic songs, I loved “Downtown (Up North)” the first time I heard it. It starts with just the acoustic guitar and builds up to a more filled out sound, but not necessarily that full band sound that we hear in “Virtue.” The string section is a pleasant addition as the song goes on and it’s very reminiscent of Yellowcard’s ballads.

The closing track, “No More, No Less,” is the most experimental track on the EP, but it ends it with a bang. It has an intensity that the other songs don’t really have and I’m all for it. The musicianship on it is still enjoyable and it brings you a little surprise to close things out.

If you haven’t had the chance yet, go give this EP a listen (and Thirteen, too). You can also buy a copy on Amazon if you’re interested. I highly recommend this as it’s one of my favorite EPs of the year.

Playlist: A Page Unturned Shares Top LA Bands

A Page Unturned

A Page Unturned took some time to pick out their favorite LA bands and share them with us. Take a look and listen to their selections below.

Billie Eilish – “bellyache”

She has an incredible voice and such a cool persona. Always brings so much energy to the stage and puts no boundaries on her genre or creativity. – Ryan

I’m Her Own Words – “Cut & Dry”

My friend Daisuke showed me these guys in 2015 and I’ve been a fan since. I just dig their sound. – Ryan

NOFX – “Linoleum”

Who doesn’t like NOFX? They’re the definition of punk and continue to put out music today after almost 30 years. They don’t care if anyone likes it and that’s what punk rock is all about. – Ryan

Hoobastank – “Just One”

It’s not too much to say they made a big wave for Emo. The melodies are catchy and their music will keep being the standard for Emo music.

Jack’s Mannequin – “Spinning”

The singer Andrew was diagnosed in Leukemia in 2005. They released 2nd album after his recovery and the sound always told me how strong we all are and how amazing our life is. – Yoshihiro

Linkin Park – “Numb”

Nothing to say, they’re legends in long rock music history. Their music will carry on till the end of time. – Yoshihiro

Every Other Year – “One Day”

We were on the same bill as them at one of our shows recently and we thought they were a really good band. Brought a lot of energy and had really good tunes.

The Dickies – “Stukas Over Disneyland”

One of those classic punk bands from the 70’s and 80’s that my Dad showed me. Very catchy vocal melodies, intricate guitar riffs and some very funny songs. – Damon

Gardenside – “Blind”

A band from LA that a friend of my told me to check out on Spotify and I thought they were great! Hopefully we’ll get to be on the same bill as them one of these days. – Damon

Yellowcard – “Ocean Avenue”

One of those bands that we grew up listening to from our genre. They were an overall great band with catchy tunes and the violinist is awesome! – Damon

Playlist: Come Clean Share Top 10 Halloween Songs

Come Clean

Rob Hendley of Come Clean shared his top 10 Halloween songs. It’s a great way to get into the holiday spirit with Halloween just days away now. Check out the song selections.

John Carpenter – “Halloween Theme”
Halloween is my favorite Halloween movie. I used to be pretty afraid of Michael Meyers as a kid, but I still watched it anyway and I still watch the movies around Halloween, lonely tradition of mine I suppose.

Bobby Pickett- “Monster Mash”
I’ve always liked this song for as long as i can remember. I think most of us probably do and I don’t think I need to be too descript on why it makes my Halloween list. For some reason I have a very strong memory of hearing this song, walking through Lowe’s Hardware, and seeing their big inflated Halloween decorations display.

Alkaline Trio – “We’ve Had Enough”
I think Alkaline Trio will always be my #1 fall time band. They are one of my favorite bands ever and I love how they combine poppier punk music with darker, horror style imagery. Their imagery alone takes me straight to a Halloween feel every time.

My Chemical Romance – “Thank You for the Venom”
One of the little bit heavier hitting tracks from Three Cheers, I got into them around Halloween when i was a freshman in high school. I got a burnt copy from a friend, drew all over it, and walked around school listening to this track a lot through that period.

Beloved – “Into Your Arms”
This song just sounds like fall to me and fall may as well just be Halloween. I’m not sure why, but I remember playing this song all the time in my room, riding bikes in my driveway with it being sunny outside and not quite chilly but the leaves are piling up in the yard.

Set Your Goals – “Mutiny!”
I discovered Set Your Goals in high school. It was fall, around Halloween, and i had gotten a Mutiny! hoodie from a friend that I wore religiously, that paired with the “Mutiny!” music video where they dress up like land pirates and remembering specifically wearing that hoodie to explore some urban legend haunted spots around home definitely reminds me of Halloween.

Goalkeeper – “Nothing At All”
This is the newest track from some of our good friends in Philly. As we approach Halloween this year, I’ve been jamming this alot lately and I’m sure when i hear it in the future it will take me back to fall times and Halloween.

Mac Miller – “Life Ain’t Easy”
I used to work at a shop installing leather interior in cars. I worked beside a friend who got me into Mac Miller around fall/Halloween a few years ago. This song always stuck with me as an inspiration to keep pushing through hard times and reminds me of cold falls and needing to shut the bay doors so we could feel our hands.

Handguns – “Porch Light”
This is a song I would frequently listen to and I think i discovered it around Halloween, it reminds me of my old job mowing on a farm and feeling the cold air burn my hands and face as I mowed in the early mornings.

Modern Baseball – “Your Graduation”
I don’t remember when I discovered MoBo but the lonely halloween party footage from the music video is the only image I see in my head when I hear this song.