The end of a favourite band can be tough – especially when they’ve been around since your teen years and you’re definitely not a teenager anymore. It’s not like their music is going anywhere, but there’s a sense of loss that comes from knowing that the sounds so familiar to you will never come together again for something new, or for live performances.

I’m unlikely to be alone in saying that the voice of William Ryan Key has, over the years, come to feel like home to me. There is deep comfort to be found in those warm and distinctive tones, and captivating, soulful lyrics; Key’s return to music with debut solo EP ‘Thirteen’ earlier this year could not have been more welcomed.

Six months later, second EP ‘Virtue’ feels like another universe. The gently atmospheric introduction of ‘The Same Destination’ leads into five of the strongest tracks Key has written in a twenty year career; the assured and delicate work of someone who has truly settled into his new identity as solo artist. Key’s influences are broad, but his love of ambient instrumental melodies of artists like Explosions In The Sky and Hammock are evident – it’s moving in ways that are hard to put into words, opening a doorway into Key’s world where colours swirl and harmonies swell in perfect motion.

‘Virtue’ is a heartrendingly beautiful collection of songs, the perfect remedy to a frantic and intense world. Trust me when I say that it calls for a set of ear-enveloping headphones and all the time you have spare. This EP represents a new chapter for Key, and for us too; a wonderful and altogether personal journey into a new musical atmosphere. Yellowcard fan or not, this is an adventure you’ll want to be a part of.


WRK will be touring the UK with This Wild Life from Tuesday 29 January, starting in Birmingham and ending in Brighton on Saturday 9 February. Full information on dates and tickets, including VIP upgrades, are available here.

Have you ever had a band you are so overwhelmed by, it frankly offends you that they aren’t more well-known yet? The band with seemingly boundless talent and an electrifying live show to go with it? Well, in case you’re yet to have the pleasure – let me introduce you to Normandie. Hailing from Sweden – the home of All Good Music – the four piece are gearing up to release the follow up to their 2016 album ‘Inguz’, and have now unleashed the first single of their new era.

‘Ecstasy’ is, in a word, huge. A heartbeat rhythm, drizzled with electronic elements, gradually intertwines with harmonies and keys in the build up to the most anthemic alt rock chorus you’re likely to hear in 2018. And that’s saying something. With a post-hardcore style breakdown that will give you chills and crashing drums like waves on a stormy day, Normandie have taken what they do best and gone one (or ten) better; uplifting, pop-infused rock with a gut punch of heavy right when you most crave it. A band with a sound this refreshing can’t – and won’t – stay under the radar for long.

Oh, Australia. How do you do it? Is there something in the terrifying crawly creatures lurking in every corner, or the obscene temperatures at all times of the year? Maybe not, but something is helping generate a seemingly endless stream of new music from our Antipodean friends these days, and it is glorious.

After a rough end to 2017 that saw cancelled tour dates and a member ejected from the band, it’s onwards and upwards for With Confidence and the first single from their upcoming album ‘Love and Loathing’ is a perfect fresh start. With an opening cough that’s reminiscent of a certain early All Time Low song, ‘That Something’ continues where debut album ‘Better Weather’ left off. Super poppy, full of positivity, and over a steady riff, enchanting harmonies that beg to be sung along with. Jayden Seeley’s voice is as irresistible as ever, as is the Four Year Strong-esque gang vocal buried at the start of the chorus. Why don’t all songs have this? If ‘That Something’ is anything to go by, we’re in for a treat when the full album is released in August.

There’s no question that With Confidence are among the sugary sweetest of their genre, but we all need a rush sometimes. This is the best possible way to deliver it.

If you haven’t heard of The Faim yet, don’t worry – you’re about to. Not least because I haven’t shut up about them recently (absolutely not sorry) and I’m on a micro mission to spread the joy everywhere. Like cholera, but fun. Despite the band having released only two tracks until now, word seems to be spreading rapidly with or without my enthusiastic assistance – and for good reason.

“Burned lips when the wind blows / black tint on the windows” come Josh Raven’s clipped tones as the irrepressibly poppy and addictive ‘Summer is a Curse’ kicks into a glorious groove. It’s hard not to compare his vocals to Panic! At The Disco’s Brendon Urie, with the same versatility and incredible tone, yet they are still very much his own. Managing to be both upbeat and incredibly chilled, all staccato keys and seductive drum beats; ‘Summer is a Curse’ is an easy-listening stonker of a pop tune.

The band will be playing festivals like Slam Dunk, Camden Rocks and Download, supporting PVMNTS from 21 May and headlining shows across the country. Their live show is electric and it’s unlikely you’ll be able pay less than £10 to see them for long, so catch them if you can. The only thing I’m cursed with right now is listening to this on repeat for the next month. And that’s not so bad. This is a band to get seriously excited about.