2015 in Review: Music Releases at Will Not Fade


It has been a great year for music, and I’ve struggled to keep up with everything around work and study, but I’ve settled on the follow as my top three musical releases of 2015:

Toe Hear You coverToe – Hear You 

The perfect album for almost any occasion. It’s light and summery with great instrumentation. Brilliant instrumental music that stands out from the rest of the crowd.


Koji_-_Fury_EPKoji – Fury 

This infectious EP that had me hooked from the moment I heard it. Koji’s new shoegazy sound really works for him. I can’t wait for more.


Gary Clark Jr Story Sonny Boy Sim cover artGary Clark Jr. – The story of Sonny Boy Slim.

Clark was stunning when he played Wellington in May. He previewed a few new tracks that had me excited for the forthcoming album. and the wait was worth it. Clark made this album on his own terms, and you can hear the difference when you compare it to his promising, yet lacking, début album. The album presentation is also stunning, including a cool etching on side D of the gatefold 2LP vinyl edition.


I didn’t make time to review these, but the following three are also well worth a listen


caspian-dust-and-disquietCaspian – Dust and Disquiet.

Post-rockers Caspian were once one of those bands that started quiet and slowly built up throughout the song. They have really turned it up a notch with Dust and Disquiet, with heavier songs that demand attention.


refusedRefused – Freedom.

The hardcore legends have made a comeback. It’s not Shape of Punk to Come, but it’s still awesome. They’re due to play in Wellington, and in Auckland at Westfest next year, and I really hope that this still happens in light of the Australian Soundwave Festival cancellations.

third-eye-blind-dopamine-artworkThird Eye Blind – Dopamine.

One of the quintessential 90’s bands prove that they’re still current with this upbeat rock album.



Of course, there were many more albums and EPs that deserve a mention. Have a browse through our album reviews to see what else Will Not fade covered this year. Which albums did you listen to the most this year?

Joseph James

Album Review: Toe – Hear You

Toe Hear You cover

It has been a great year for post-rock. Wellington has recently been visited by some greats like This Will Destroy You, sleepmakeswaves and Mogwai. And some brilliant albums have been released by bands from all ends of the spectrum worldwide.

The latest such release is Hear You, the third studio full length from Japanese rockers Toe.

Although I would classify Hear You as post-rock, it isn’t a strictly instrumental album. In fact, many of the songs include singing, like the tracks ‘Commit Ballad’ and ‘Song Silly’. Some songs are softly cooed, some are rapped. There are both male and female singers, making the sound all the more diverse. The singing is also predominantly Japanese, but I think I can identify English in “Song Silly”.

This first half of the album sounds like one big song that slowly evolves. The second half is where things begin to mix up. ‘Time Goes’ actually sound more like rapping than singing, backed by some funky guitar, bass, and organ. The next song, ‘オトトタイミングキミト’ follows up with the hip-hop feel, this time with jazzy piano parts.

The crisp drumming throughout the album is standout. In fact, the busy drumming during breakdown in “A Desert of Human” is probably the best moment on the entire album. At times drummer Kashikura Takashiit hangs back, waiting. But when the time comes his playing is urgent and hurried, adding pace and filling the emptiness in a tasteful way. He plays around the timing with drags and shuffles, and makes the most of space with varied rolls, fills and flourishes. There is a very math-rock approach, adding colour and vibrancy to some otherwise straightforward sounding songs.

Hear You has a clean, cohesive sound that is soothing but engaging. It is predominantly percussion driven, with jangly picking and light strumming from the guitars. That said, even though there is a ongoing sound saturating the album, it is also incredibly experimental and subtly diverse. Take the track ‘G.O.O.D L.U.C.K’, for example. It contains tabla drumming, whining Kanye autotune sounds and cheerleader chanting. And somehow it all works in together. There are so many intricacies and subtle layers that only reveal themselves on repeat listens. It’s a short album – the 11 songs only add up to 40 minutes of material – but it’s a case of quality over quantity.

Hear You may be shortbut it’s so good that you’ll likely find yourself listening to it on repeat anyway.

Joseph James