Will Not Fade’s Best of 2016

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2016 in review

A lot of celebrities died in 2016. Lemmy, Prince, David Bowie, Leonard Cohen and George Michael all got a lot of attention for having passed away. It is sad, but all the people taking to social media to complain about 2016 signalling the apocalypse because of an election and some dead celebrities are idiots. 2016 was awesome. If  those people had chosen to listen to good music and attend great concerts instead of bitching about life on Facebook then maybe they would realise this as well.

Like every other year, 2016 gave us some outstanding musical releases. We were also blessed enough to have many talented bands come to town as well.

CJ had a great year. His band Ranges released a new album and a 7″ single on vinyl, and by the sounds of it had a great time recording and touring. His company A Thousand Arms released a free post-rock compilation called Open Language, and signed a partnership deal as the USA distributor for Belgium based dunk!records as well.

My year was incredibly busy, having finished university and working full-time as a teacher. Thankfully I found the time to fit in the odd review here and there, and was even asked to contribute to an Arctic Drones write-up! I’ve made some great contacts this year, which leads me to think that I may have some exciting doors opened for me in the future.

And we welcomed Murray to the team this year. He already has his own site, Relative Silence, but we connected over a mutual love of many prog-rock and post-rock bands so he was more than happy to contribute to Will Not Fade.

Best Live Act

After much deliberation, I’ve decided that Iron Maiden are the best live act I’ve seen. The stage set up, the theatrics, the musicianship and the brilliant songs all proved why Maiden have sustained such longevity.

It was a great way to start a bogan weekend, followed by Black Sabbath the following night in Dunedin, and Shihad after lunch in Wellington on Sunday.

Other incredible acts that stood out this year include Sufjan Stevens, Thundercat, Tortoise, Strung Out, Into. It Over It. and local heroes Jakob and Into Orbit.

 

Best Night Out

My friends all thank me for making them come and see The Beards play Bodega during their farewell tour. They only have one joke, but the joke remains funny.

Steel Panther was another comedy rock act that put on a fun show, albeit far more crass.

 

Best Album

There have been some strong releases this year. My favourite band Biffy Clyro gave us album number seven, and Run The Jewels and Nine Inch Nails have even dropped new content in the past week.

But I cannot stop listening to the new Into It. Over It. album, StandardsEvan Weiss went to a remote cabin in the woods with drummer Josh Sparks and the two of them messed around with sounds and effects and somehow it turned into this masterpiece. I even flew to Melbourne to see Weiss play in October [review] and it filled me with such joy to meet him and see him play. It’s an easy choice for me, ranking Standards in top position this year.

Best Personal Discovery

Technically they are not 2016 releases, but Julien Baker’s Sprained Ankle and Winter Dust’s Thresholds were two absolutely stunning releases that I discovered this year. Both have been on high rotate ever since I first heard them.

I also discovered Australian prog-rock act Cog this year. I was raving about The Occupants when they released their début EP last year, so it stands to reason that the band that spawned them would also be incredible.

2017

And as for the year ahead? I’m super excited to see Alexisonfire and Living Colour playing in Auckland next year, and am working on plans to attend the inaugural dunk!USA  post-rock festival in Vermont in October.

David Dallas previewed some new tracks when I saw him play at Victoria University during O-Week, and Solemn Sun dropped a new single “Bloom”, so I look forward to new albums from both acts. And of course the new Tool album is due… possibly… sometime in the next decade… maybe?


Thanks

It is hard finding the time to write and update this site, so big thanks to CJ and Murray for also contributing reviews and for both being a vital part of the Will Not Fade team.

Thanks to all the bands, labels and promoters who sent us music to review, arranged press passes to attend gigs or helped to set up interviews. It is humbling that people value my opinion enough to read what I have to say about music.

And thanks to you, the readers. Feel free to give me feedback about what you like, dislike, or would like to see more of.

Here’s to an even better 2017!

Joseph James

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