This Week’s Top Picks – 9th November

Ryan Keen – Back to the Ocean

by Luke Botham. 

This shows the cover of Ryan Keen's album. It shows a cartoon scene of boats riding on the sea towards the horizon in the night.If you’ve not heard of Ryan Keen, then it could easily be argued that your ears have missed out –big time. This year’s been a pretty amazing year for the Devon born singer/songwriter. Not only has he been on tour, had his music played multiple times on radio 1, and toured the UK, but he’s also received rave reviews and released a new EP just this week.

He’s an incredibly talented guitar player, and the calm and rhythmic way he uses it supplements and compliments his voice so well. His lyrics too are amazing, if you listen you can genuinely hear them pouring from his heart. They’re super personal and could be related to by so many people, and these are also perfect for his soft, calm, soothing voice. The obvious highlight of this EP, of course, is Ryan’s collaboration with Newton Faulkner on Reflections in the Water. Their voices, whilst slightly separate, do almost become one perfect uber voice on this song. And it’s amazing – it really proves both artists’ talents as singers and shows the Ryan Keen is a name you should be watching out for. If I had to compare him to anyone, aside of course from Newton, I’d say he has some slight similarities to Ben Howard, and that’s really nice to hear!

For more info on Ryan, you can check out his Facebookor follow him on Twitter.


My Chemical Romance – Number One

By Paul Battison.

American alternative rock band, My Chemical Romance, have been branded as a lot of things over the years. From post-hardcore, to ’emo’, to pop punk—what they’ve always consistently been is unique. They seem to reinvent themselves and their sound for whichever new album they are releasing. However they appear or sound though, most importantly, one thing always stays the same: their fans stay loyal. For their latest release then, a double sided single called Number One, things should be no different and there’s a good reason for this which I’ll get to.

This is the cover for My Chemical Romance - Number One.

Number One is part of a ten-song series of material called Conventional Weapons which will be released over the next five months. All of the material is previously unheard and on first listen, it sounds like My Chemical Romance have drew inspiration from their previously released albums which will please fans of the band. The A-side single, Boy Division, could quite easily sit alongside songs such as Give ‘Em Hell, Kid and Thank You For The Venom on their 2004 hit album, Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge. It’s a punk rock song which brims with energy angst filled lyrics. The B-side single, Tomorrow’s Money, would be more comfortable sitting on the band’s last studio album, Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys. It’s very upbeat and catchy and after only a couple of listens, you’ll find it sitting comfortably, laid back feet up, inside your head.

Number One is a solid release from the band and leaves you yearning for the next installment in the ten-song series. My Chemical Romance reinvent themselves so often, you’re often left with the question of “what next?” from band. With this release, it’s no different. They have so many styles and personas they can call upon when writing music, which direction the four-piece act from New Jersey is going to take next, is anyone’s guess.

You can find out more about the band by checking out their Facebookor following their Twitter.


Christmas Songs!

by Luke Botham

This is the cover for Now that's what I call Christmas 2012. It shows these words bursting out of red wrapping paper.

You might have read this title and had to look twice. But you’re not seeing things – this year’s first big Christmas album, Now That’s What I Call Christmas 2012, was actually released earlier this week.  It’s jam packed with everyone’s favourite Christmas songs, and let’s be honest, who can listen to the likes of Last Christmas and I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day and resist singing along? And even though it’s been released rather early, it is nice to see an album full of merry and seasonal tunes dropped in to the charts in comparison to some of the slightly grimmer songs that are out this week.

The only thing really bad about this album is the age of some of the tunes, which really are miles past their sell by date now! But there are a few people trying to remedy this situation this year. 90s boy band Backstreet Boys have released a brand new Christmas song –and it’s their comeback single! Whilst it is very cheesy, it’s surprisingly rather catchy, upbeat enough to work as a Christmas song, and you’ll almost definitely have it stuck in your head for hours after a few listens.