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Ashbury Keys / Press

“Ashbury Keys “Do You Know Who You Are” EP - 7 out of 10 The Texas trio, Ashbury Keys has taken a page from British bands like Coldplay and U2 giving the title track “Do You Know Who You Are” a rich, stadium sized sound. The EP then goes through a logical sequence of events; get the girl, lose the girl (because your a terrible guy) and wallow in self pity. “Hey Girl” is a pleasing melody and character study about a girl “posting her photos while cruising around” with a rich guitar rhythm in the chorus. “Terrible Guy” is a interesting rocker, with lyrics mentioning all the vices he has and “Goodbye” is a power ballad that continues our story where he repeats the apologies to end up with a “Lonely Sunday.” This final ballad starts slow and builds up to a bombastic approach (again the comparison to early U2 works here). While the concept here doesn’t exactly break new ground, the guitar work is impressive as always. The Ashbury Keys continue to be a band to k”

“With the rolling drum opening of Swimmer, this is a great introduction to some American Rock. Wake Up has an R.E.M sound. This is an acoustic song, more laid back, a very nice cruising song, then the guitars kick in. Then it goes up a gear with Oh My God, a slight Punk edge regarding the lyric tone with the heavier guitar riffs. With Hero and Break, the band have a nice EP with great guitar riffs, fine vocals and a well produced EP. The EP is nothing outlandishly fresh, but its nice to listen to and a great release package from the band. The band are coming over from the states this year to perform at the IPO event, which is a music festival every year at The Cavern Club in Liverpool, England.”

“Next up at the pub was our second opportunity to see Houston band Ashbury Keys (www.ashburykeys.com). Once again we saw a really energetic set of fantastic power pop music and the stand out song for us was “Hero”. The vocals were strong throughout the set (although a bit drowned out as the guitars were turned up for the last 2 songs), the guitar playing rocked, and the drums really banged out a great beat. They seemed really at home playing in Liverpool over the last couple of days and we are glad we caught them. We managed to listen to their EP in the hotel and it was great too.”

“Ashbury Keys, (www.ashburykeys.com) from Houston, Texas were up next. This band suited the Live Lounge stage, delivering a fantastic energy filled powerpop set. The audience had dwindled again, but Ashbury Keys gave it their all and we really liked what we heard. The guitar was great and the vocals sounded great. Their energy reminded us of The Gaslight Anthem, and we got a copy of their latest EP, which we look forward to spinning. This is a band we hope to catch again at the IPO.”

“A straight up pop rock band from Houston who have garnered multiple nominations as one of the best bands of the city! On their latest CD, Growing Up, you'll hear trendy pop-rock music and love song lyrics with a sound not unlike Weezer meets The Cars, and that will meet with your approval! Currently returning from a brief hiatus, they've just released a brand new EP, called Wake Up, and are ready to bring their powerful brand of melodic rock to Liverpool!”

“This Texas based band Ashbury Keys has been nominated for the best pop/rock band by Houston Press Awards,"Growing up" is their 3rd independently released album and it?s produced by Alan Doss of Galactic Cowboys fame who also played keyboards on the album. They play powerpop the British way with lots of vibes from bands like Oasis,Stereophonics and Supergrass but with a little American touch to it. I must say that it?s quite an enjoyable album but what?s the deal with the Elvis cover of "Suspicious minds"?!,totally unnecessary if you ask me........a song that lightens up things a bit is the Cheap Trick-ish "Holiday" (bring out the cake lads). They are truly worthy a check up.”

“Ashbury Keys, Wake Up: Keep an eye on Ashbury Keys. The Houston trio's Wake Up EP is a reminder of that odd point in rock history when straight-up-the-middle bands like Semisonic and Matchbox 20 somehow got passed off as "alternative." You can hear flashes of the Wallflowers in "Wake Up," Weezer in "Hero" and blink-182 in "Oh My God," but Wake Up does not sound dated or derivative at all. There's very little grunge, just solid songwriting, catchy hooks and choruses, and at least one ballad ("Break") begging to soothe a bunch of young girls whose bumbling boyfriends just can't ever seem to get it right. Catch Ashbury Keys at Fitz in June.”

“Tons of tasteful guitar work, sugar-sweet harmonies, booming bass and energetic drumming and sensual, but aggressive vocals fit snugly into the ear canals filling them with pure pop pleasure. Fans of Splitsville, Butch Walker, Fuzzbubble and Fastball check this one out! Some of the songs fall into Collective Soul-cum-Gin Blossoms-via-a-bit-of-Blink 182 but despite the commercial reach they have, there`s absolutely nothing wrong with the colorful blendings on them. The guitars rock and are turned up, but are never at a loss to nail catchy melodies into the floating of passions of their special brand of pop.”

“Ashbury Keys' drive to become a full-fledged pop-rock force has taken a significant step forward with the release of Dancers, the Houston band's second CD and the first recorded by the complete live lineup. Whereas part of the appeal of Ashbury's self-titled debut lay in the '50s-style simplicity of much of the material, Dancers keeps the structures stripped down but boasts a distinctly modern feel; a buried punk-pop replaces the subliminal doo-wop ambience. Ashbury Keys' Dancers generates sizzling pop-rock. Excellent songwriting and singing, however, remain the mainstays of the Ashbury Keys sound. Front man David Keys is possessed by a most generous pop muse. On songs like "Better Than Nothing" and "Someday," the combination of instant hooks, a simple melody and lovelorn lyrics has rarely worn better. Each track stands exactly where it needs to be to get the girls (and the boys chasing them) listening with rapt attention.”

“The title track has a more visceral appeal. With its fluffy '80s vibe, the tale of drugs, rock and roll, and jailbait in G-strings is rendered into a pretty harmless romp. "Wanna Be Down" is the disc's most driving rocker, pairing a heads-down groove with the closed-circle lyric "sometimes I don't wanna be like you / but I know I want to ask you why." "Vietnam," on the other hand, features one of the album's strongest melodies but combines it with an overly obscure metaphor about extending yourself only to get your legs chopped out from under you. Then again, maybe it's literal… Regardless of the lyrics, though, Keys's vocals are strong and poppy. Alex Tittel's lead guitar work is flashy enough to catch the ear, yet always sensitive to the music. His tone could be bottled and marketed to any number of bands attempting to make sincere, commercially viable rock. Much the same can be said of the rhythm section of drummer Darwin Keys and bassist Bill Walter.”

“When the harmonies of the Keys brothers and Walter are thrown into the mix, the final piece of the puzzle snaps neatly into place. For many bands, background vocals seem either obligatory or overly stylized. Not these guys. The blend of voices in Ashbury Keys is a vital component of their sound. Moreover, Will Hoffman's full, clean production allows such a natural phenomenon to occur easily, accurately projecting the material rather than squelching or distorting it. Even the songs that don't grab your attention immediately do so after a few spins. It's tough to find a guitar-pop CD as consistently good as Dancers. If you want to be ahead of your radio, buy it now.”

“As fine of an example of guitar pop as you`re likely to hear. Yearning , yet confident, and with hooks around every corner, there`s absolutely no reason Ashbury Keys isn`t already pouring out of your radio.”

Paul Nimon - Houstonian Online

“This self-titled debut from local pop songwriter Ashbury Keys has been quite some time in the making. As such it's both a study in the value of woodshedding one's material before emerging publicly and a potential answer to the existential question: If a tree falls in the woods and nobody hears it, does it make a sound? After a couple of very short-lived attempts to get things off the ground under the name Space Monkey, Keys finally seems to have his campaign legs under him. His gigs around town are both frequent and well promoted. And Keys is as fine an avatar of guitar pop as you're likely to hear locally in some time.At this record's most up-tempo, on such songs as "Boat to Mars" and "Los Angeles," the Keys sound is not too far removed from the rawness of Matthew Sweet or the contemplative jingle of Nick Lowe. A little of the self-conscious artistry of Sweet is missing, as is some of Lowe's Briton bravado, but the delivery here is sharp and concise. Keys is definitely his own man.”

“The real gem of the disc comes on "Color of My Eyes." Yearning yet confident, midtempo without being plodding, and with hooks around every corner, it is both a songwriter's and a casual radio listener's dream. Upon repeated listening, nearly all of Keys's songs can be found to have something to recommend them for the top of the heap. And those that don't fall short simply because they sound too much like Morrissey B-sides. Not quite yet, Ashbury. A veritable "who's who" of local talent contributed to Ashbury Keys, yet they manage to sound like a cohesive whole, a feat due at least as much to the strength of the material as to the abilities of the players. Further, with a solid live lineup in place, Keys should finally get heard outside his practice room.”

“Staying on the Front Stage, The Ashbury Keys had an extra slot due to another band’s no-show. Again the drummer did his stuff standing up, which meant his hair was brushing the low ceiling. What a storming set they did – much the same as their Live Lounge performance but to a bigger and much more enthusiastic crowd. The place was jumping, literally. Again the stand out songs were “Hero” and “Suspicious Minds” which had everyone up and dancing. You couldn’t fault this performance – strong bass line, great guitar, thumping drums, an engaging front man, good vocals and tight harmony. All the ingredients to deliver fantastic stuff.”

“Ashbury Keys, Album Review. Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 7/10 Going back to the beginning of a band’s career can seem sometimes as if you are resurrecting a forgotten beast that’s been left to graze on green pastures for too long. In groups that have been part of your life seemingly forever, it’s a chance to wallow in glories, of half remembered gigs that you attended before they struck it big and the cost of going to see them became too expensive as more and more corporate claws wormed their way into the soul of the band. The music is a memory of mates long since buried or who have fallen by the way side as you move away promising to write but never quite finding the right time or the right words to tell them.”

“Ashbury Keys, Dancers. Album Review. Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * * Somewhere between Ashbury Keys debut album being unleashed and the release of Dancers in 2001, the Texas Power pop trio took a trip from very good into the territory of the outstanding band they would become. As with many debut albums it is but a small glimpse into what the group will eventually offer the world. Some of the greatest ever bands, the mightiest of musical oaks, all started with a nod towards the inevitable power they would hold over their audiences and Ashbury Keys have proved not to be an exception. The initial outburst of the debut piece continued to grow, perhaps at a fairly more accelerated pace than thought and would still have to go some to outpace any of their peers but Dancers doesn’t disappoint, it radiates warmth and a growing respect for the band and their brand of music which would see them become one of the greats of Texas.”

“Texas brothers David and Darwin Keys are joined by bassist and vocalist Bill Walter on this new EP. It’s got a blended sound, just add equal parts of Foo Fighters, Noel Gallagher and Taking Back Sunday. Each of the five tracks give us solid hooks and loud guitars, starting with the pounding drums and guitars of “Swimmer.” And these guys can still do the melodic as evidenced by “Hero” with its great minor chord shifts. The bands versatility is displayed through the punk beat of “Oh My God” or the ballad-like start of “Break.” And if you want to hear more, then listen the full length LP Growing Up. 7 out of 10”

“Ashbury Keys, Growing Up. Album Review. Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 9/10 Ashbury Keys last, for now, full album was released back in 2004 and as with their debut release, the follow up Dancers and the E.P. Wake Up that was to come, the music that this power-pop trio creates is of such a high standard, a cornucopia of quality that it feels such a shame that Growing Up was the last big piece of work by this incredibly likeable band. The reason that as a listener or indeed if you had become a fan in the time it took Ashbury Keys to become one of the biggest bands to come out of Texas you might feel slightly aggrieved at next year marks ten years since they last produced an album is because they are seriously that darned good and a prolonged time between major recordings, although warranted so that groups don’t burn out, can leave people frustrated.”

“Ashbury Keys, Wake Up. E.P. Review. Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * * The gentle refrain of well observed lyrics and well played music is not a usual thought when people think of Texas or its arts side. Although Pantera and Bowling For Soup, arguably two of the better known bands that British audiences will be aware of, divide music opinion, one with their own particular brand of Thrash Metal and the other for their party driven image, they still have a considerable following. Out of the Texan haze comes the three-piece, Ashbury Keys, proving that neither do you have to play superbly fast and loud nor have disdain heaped upon you by a section of the public to be considered cool and interesting. Their latest E.P., Wake Up, sees the band, David Keys on vocals and guitar, Darwin Keys on drums and vocals and Bill Waters on bass and vocals; go through their five tracks with comfortable precision and a talent that rather foot-tapping and hugely enjoyable.”

“ARTIST - ASHBURY KEYS EP REVIEW - WAKE UP GENRE / STYLE - ROCK COPYRIGHT 2012 - ASHBURY KEYS In America, it is time for THANKSGIVING. A time for people to travel near and far to be with their Family and stuff our faces. It doesn't matter if they moved away temporary or permanent. It doesn't matter if they are miles or minutes away. It doesn't matter where they are coming from or going to within their lives. It doesn't matter who they voted for or who they voted against in the last Presidential Election. It is a time for Families to join together and give thanks for their family and our country. Brothers and Sisters, Aunts and Uncles, Dogs and Cats, West and East come together to break some bread, break some wind, fall asleep during a football game (Great Game #37), then maybe get filmed together having a fist fight for the next episode of COPS (sometimes not in that order).”

“Staying in the Live Lounge, next up was Texas band Ashbury Keys. They performed here last year and we loved them. Their drummer does his stuff standing up, an unusual way to play, but boy, was it effective. The harmonies that come from this trio of Texans is amazing and the two really stand out songs in their set were “Hero” and a brilliant cover of Elvis’ “Suspicious Minds”. This might not be traditional "Texan Blues", but it was a blistering rocker of a set.”

“If it is a band that you only came across in the last year and you are looking through their back catalogue after taking in all they have to say in the last couple of albums, the feeling that you recognise is one that doesn’t have the same emotional attachment as perhaps the listener has been listening to for 10, 20 or 30 years. The listener though, like the group has to start somewhere, the genesis has to be heard so you can appreciate where they are now. In Ashbury Keys’ case, the raw power and the quality that has come from the Texas band’s last couple of recordings is evident as far back as 1999 when they released their self-titled debut, the only thing missing is the gentle refinement that comes with experience.”

“The trio put several more notches of energy into this recording, which may always be the case with every band, but there is something else as well. Away from the possible hype that would have inevitably started to surround the group like several grizzly bears circling a campsite because they smell meat being cooked, the album cleverly highlights a growing belief in Ashbury Keys sound, their own confidence and faith in their songs and what they could put out with some degree of certainty that the public would enjoy it. Tracks such as the openers Angry and Out Of My Hands represent fully what the listener will come to expect in the future but the pivotal change is there on the songs Better Than Nothing, the title track of the album Dancers and Stay Here With You all combine with power, lyrics that set to beguile and the beginning of what can only be described as a richness of depth that would come to fruition later in the groups discography.”

“Thankfully the four recordings do add up to some excellent output so at least the fan can get their Ashbury Keys fix and perhaps the coup-de-grace of them all is the third release Growing Up. It sizzles with aspiration, charms with precision and ultimately leaves the right desired effect which all albums strive for, leaving the listener keen for more. From the mouth-watering openers of Eye To Eye and Dream, Growing Up steadily builds up a picture of a group who know they have worked damned hard, kept their faith in what they do well and come out on top. The music comes across like a prize fighter growling in the corner of a ring, staring at his opponent and daring for him to keep his shorts clean for at least three minutes, this is an album that doesn’t let the listener off the ropes all the way through its course.”

“The five tracks flow pleasantly and with some great vision and the tracks Oh My God, Hero and Swimmer especially draw on some real depth of character that seems out of reach till you hit the West Coast region on the American music highway. It does seem unfair sometimes that the East Coast has its sophistication and adaptability and the West Coast its fluidity and charm and the southern middle portion can be seen to languish far behind all the other areas of America but in Ashbury Keys that distinction may soon change. This Texas trio is a real taste of Western Rock and Roll with a touch of undiluted Southern Comfort which stirs the soul. By far one of the best bands to come out of the state for a long time, Ashbury Keys combine the power of well written lyrics with the Lone Star state sensibilities that make the music of that area unlike almost anything else from the United States of America.”

“Most family members, especially siblings, have a tough time being in the same room for more than 5 minutes. As I started to write this review on the EP "Wake Up," I noticed that the band Ashbury Keys include two brothers from the Houston Texas area; David Keys (Vocals & Guitars) and Darwin Keys (Drums & Vocals). I started thinking of some of the great groups like AC/DC, Halestorm, Heart, The Jackson 5, LeVert, Oasis, The Osmonds, and Stone Temple Pilots all of whom have or had siblings in them. If it is difficult for friends to work together in a band, one can only imagine how it must be with family. I also wondered if Bill Walter (Bass & Vocals) felt like he is always in the middle. Like someone in between a store front and the "Black Friday" mob without rules running at him. Those who wake up as early birds to go fight the crowds, know what I am talking about.”

“The Texas power pop trio are amongst the giants of music of their state and in terms of West Coast America, a goliath that gets better with every release and whilst the finesse, the assurance may be missing compared to the latter releases, the debut album stands out as being enjoyable, a significant piece of work which has the hall marks of the likes of Green Day at their absolute shining best in their early days. The touch of punk, the greatness of rock in the urge to just get up and play the songs is stamped all over tracks such as Losing Touch With You, the bubbly Colour of my Eyes, Something’s Wrong and Darling Dear all stand out as songs so good, so alive with honest ability that looking back as a listener or a fan does, it is easy to see where the natural progression started.”

“Some second albums, the fateful offering to an audience that can neglect a band when in search of a new immediate fix, crash and burn, others though take the band on another step, the journey only just beginning, in Ashbury Keys’ case, it is most positively the latter.”

“Even the cover on the album, the Mark James written and brilliantly delivered by Elvis Presley, Suspicious Minds gets a Southern states going over and whilst some covers leave the listener feeling off kilter and pining for days gone past, this version feels clean and enticing. Growing Up is essentially that, an album that saw Ashbury Keys take that budding raw talent shown on their debut album and become fully rounded and excellent musicians. For the moment all we are left with is memories but things can change.”

“Wake Up is well worth dipping your toes into and once the music is playing you won’t have any choice but to wake up and take in a great act to come out of Texas.”

“A straight-up pop rock band from Houston who have garnered multiple nominations as one of the best bands of the city! On their latest CD, Growing Up, you’ll hear trendy pop-rock music and love song lyrics with a sound not unlike Weezer meets The Cars, and that will meet with your approval! Returning last year from a brief hiatus, they released their Wake Up EP, and have been going strong since! They are now ready to bring their powerful brand of melodic rock back to Liverpool for the second year in a row!”

“Anyway, Let's dig into the review of WAKE UP: "Oh My GOD" This is my favorite tune off of the CD. Hyper and a distorted. The spinning punk riffs, injected into a cleaner pop style. Clear vocal style meet the lower income punk lyrics which could be used in the 1970's. "I need a job, but times are tough... the holidays are looking bad these days." Sad, but true in the 70's and today. "Swimmer" Musically and Lyrically is perfect for Radio. Like most good tunes it is musically basic but catchy. It is poppy and bouncy yet it has a gritty guitar that goes along well with the mixture of distorted and clean vocal presentation. It has a grunge feel to it. "Wake Up" A look into the mirror with serious introspection about personal development. The singing is clean, clear and heart felt. The chorus: "I'm older... but I'm trying..." Sounds like something most people can relate too. It very well describes the work in progress we all go through. It is called Growing Up.”

“Great sassy and in your face guitar work, the element of knowing what Ashbury Keys were to become make listening to their debut album not the slightest hard work but more of a testament to sticking to what you believe in as a band, acceptance in many things is all, In the arts it is as close as some might get to a belief.”

“Ashbury Keys - Wake Up This five track disc offer edgy guitar driven power pop full of hooks that will worm their way into your brain so days later the riffs will be running through your head at random moments. Each track is a lesson in well constructed tunes. The stand out track for me is Oh My God with it's slightly more punky tone.”

“Sister Sledge are true sisters, the Pointer Sisters were also sisters, The Allman Brothers had a couple of brothers in it, but The Doobie Brothers weren't brothers at all. The one thing those original artists have in common with the Ashbury Keys is that their latest EP "Wake Up" welcomes you, just like you were family coming home for Thanksgiving. However, if these guys have conflicts like most families, you will not know it when listening to this nicely written, well recorded, and produced CD. Most of it has basic chord structures, but in this case simple is better. The lyrics are memorable and current. The style of this music collection is evolving from song to song mostly in the Rock/Pop range with some Grunge thrown in. Maybe not full Grunge. Grunge sometime has reluctant taste of punk. This EP does have a slight punk attitude under current that flows throughout. Not at all reluctant, not over done to kill the pop component. It is just there and it works very well.”

“The recording process sometimes must contain over dubs, cross overs, punch in & outs which can be done inside the studio to enhance the musicians performance. It is easier and sounds cleaner today with technology, than it did in many years past by splicing reel to reel feeds. Sometimes even with today's tricks, even a three piece band may not sound in sync or uniform when the music is mixed down. The musicianship on "Wake Up" by the Texas trio of David Keys, Darwin Keys and Bill Walter, sounds like one big happy family. A nice recording and mixing was done on the Wake Up EP. The song writing musically maybe boiled down and basic, but it is fun to listen to.”

“Actor Kevin Bacon is in a band with his brother, named The Bacon Brothers. Before he was in the "Funky Bunch" or an Hollywood star, "Marky" Mark Wahlberg sang with his brother Donnie Wahlberg as one of the original members of New Kids On The Block (guess he didn't have "The Right Stuff" to stay). I don't know the future of the the Ashbury Keys or the Key Brothers. What I do know is that "Wake Up" has some damn good music on it. You can mark my words : if the Ashbury Keys continue to travel down the same music path, they will have many more solid music contributions, like this one, in the future. When you mark my words, remember I don't like to eat crow. I eat Turkey. I got dibs on a Drum Stick and a Baseball Bat, I'm off to visit my Family. Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!”