Strand of Oaks

Hard Love, Tim Showalter's latest release as Strand of Oaks, is a record that explores the balancing act between overindulgence and accountability. Recounting Showalter's decadent tour experiences, his struggling marriage, and the near death of his younger brother, Hard Love emanates an unabashed, raw, and manic energy that embodies both the songs and the songwriter behind them. "For me, there are always two forces at work: the side that's constantly on the hunt for the perfect song, and the side that's naked in the desert screaming at the moon. It's about finding a place where neither side is compromised, only elevated."

During some much-needed downtime following the release of his previous album, HEAL, Showalter began writing Hard Love and found himself in a now familiar pattern of tour exhaustion, chemically-induced flashbacks, and ongoing domestic turmoil. Drawing from his love of Creation Records, Trojan dub compilations, and Jane's Addiction, and informed by a particularly wild time at Australia's Boogie Festival, he sought to create a record that would merge all of these influences while evoking something new and visceral. Showalter's first attempt at recording the album led to an unsatisfying result—a fully recorded version of Hard Love that didn't fully achieve the ambitious sounds he heard in his head. He realized that his vision for the album demanded collaboration, and enlisted producer Nicolas Vernhes, who helped push him into making the most fearless album of his career.

Throughout the recording process, both Showalter and Vernhes maintained an environment that paired musical experimentation with a mindset that defied Showalter's previous studio endeavors: the atmosphere had to be loose, a celebration of the creative process and a reinforcement of the record's core themes. "In a time of calculation and overthinking, I wanted to bring back the raw, impulsive nature that is the DNA of so many records I love." And in keeping with that loose, hedonistic vibe that encompasses so much of Hard Love, Showalter looked to his best friend, Jason Anderson, whose musical prowess and expert shredding augmented the unrelenting energy that would become the record's backbone.

This uninhibited and collaborative studio experience led to the most dynamic album in Strand of Oaks discography, moving beyond Showalter's original concept for a singularly feel-good record to something more complex and real. For as much as Showalter wants this record to seem like a party, it's more than that. It feels like living. "You went away…you went searching…came back tired of looking" is how Showalter begins the title track, a sentiment that epitomizes Showalter's own mentality in beginning Hard Love. And as the record progresses, so do the themes of dissatisfaction and frustration with love, and family, and success, and aging, both in personal experience and songwriting.

"Radio Kids," Showalter's infectious, synth-driven ode to youth and a time when music represented something pure and uncomplicated, perfectly encapsulates his desire for escapism from both his adult responsibilities and a world he no longer recognizes. But if there's a sun in the Hard Love solar system, it's "On the Hill," a psychedelic, celebratory homage to three days in the excesses of that mind-altering Boogie Festival. "On the Hill" captures the true zeitgeist of how Showalter wants this record to feel. "It's like I had to fly across the world to find out who I was…it was all about getting loose, and connecting with people on a primordial level…letting go of all the bad things, losing your inhibitions, and figuring out what it means to be alive." The accumulating intensity that Showalter crafts throughout this flagship track seems to effortlessly achieve an almost hallucinogenic ambiance, with images of lighters being lifted, concert-goers embracing, and the magnitude of the moment eliciting nothing less than mass euphoria.

And then, there's "Cry."

"Eventually there's this crushing reality of what it means to hurt someone, what you did to hurt someone…you're not the victim anymore, it's not romantic, it's not a narrative…you just realize you're the cause of problems." This noticeable shift in the tone of Hard Love—a heartbreaking, piano-laden ballad with the chorus "Hey…you're making me cry"—is a sobering reality check in Showalter's universe. And as Showalter struggles to reconcile his youthful desires with the realities of adulthood, we're eventually led into the final death rattle of his pervasive partying, "Rest of It." With its loud, raucous arrangement of sing-along vocals and searing guitars solos, "Rest of It" emerges as Hard Love's flawless manifestation of an exceedingly fun, belligerently drunk night where you try to forego life's responsibilities and have one more good time.

Much of Hard Love was either written or conceptualized during Showalter's post-tour break, as he reveled in the memory of what he considered to be life-changing experiences. But it was during this period that he received devastating news: his younger brother, Jon, had suffered massive cardiac failure. "He was 27 years old at the time…it happened out of nowhere. I flew out [to Indiana] and stayed in the hospital for almost two weeks. They said he had a 10% chance of surviving and they had to induce a coma to prevent brain damage. Sometimes he would start to wake up and look me in the eyes…it was the worst thing that ever happened to me. But he got better. That's all that matters." In so many ways, it only seems fitting that Showalter's psychedelic journey, his awakening to drug-fueled excess, the loss of inhibitions, the inevitable reality check, and his subsequent last hurrah be capped with his darkest, most life-affirming experience yet. The title of the record's final track, "Taking Acid and Talking With my Brother," represents Showalter's last-ditch attempt at reconciling his personal life and his impulsions, crafting a clear connection between what were previously considered trippy experiences and the now extraordinary surrealism of witnessing his younger brother's medical emergency.

And as Hard Love comes to its conclusion, it becomes that much more obvious that the singer/songwriter has grown to something larger and more momentous, crafting a passionate, brazen, and fully realized rock and roll record that captures the escapism of sex and drugs while offering an equally sincere perspective on the responsibilities, complications, and traumas that punctuate our lives and force us to evolve. "Some records are built like monuments, set in stone…I want this record to be burned in effigy, I want it to be burned in celebration of the limited time we have on this Earth."

Strand of Oaks Shares “Everything” Video and Tour Dates

Today Strand of Oaks shares a brand new video for “Everything.” Animated by fellow musician Chad VanGaalen, the colorful, immersive, and illustrative world in the visual accompaniment for “Everything” follows a chaotic narrative, employing psychedelic effects while utilizing everyday imagery.

The track comes from Hard Love, Tim Showalter’s fifth LP under the moniker Strand of Oaks. Recording during much-needed downtime following the release of Heal, Hard Love is a record with influences culled from Creation Records, Trojan dub compilations, and Jane’s Addiction, Hard Love is available now via Dead Oceans.

In addition to releasing today’s video, Strand of Oaks will also be playing a string of North American tour dates, including several festival stops. Full list of dates can be found below.

Watch Strand of Oaks’ “Everything” video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xkY4isMi2Zc

Strand of Oaks 2017 Tour Dates
5/21 – Gulf Shores, AL @ Hangout Music Festival
5/27 – Allston, MA @ Boston Calling Festival
6/24 – Milwaukee, WI @ Radio Milwaukee Studios Festival
6/25 – Chicago, IL @ Logan Square Arts Festival
7/13 – Baltimore, MD @ Metro Gallery
7/14 – Charlottesville, VA @ The Southern
7/15 – Asheville, NC @ The Mothlight
7/17 – Athens, GA @ The Georgia Theatre (rooftop)
7/19 – Orlando, FL @ The Patio
7/20 – Tampa, FL @ Crowbar
7/21 – Miami Beach, FL @ The Fillmore Miami Beach *
7/22 – St. Augustine, FL @ St. Augustine Amphitheatre *
7/23 – North Charleston, SC @ North Charleston Performing Arts *
7/26 – Lousville, KY @ Louisville Waterfront Park
7/27 – Cincinnati, OH @ MOTR Pub
7/28 – Camden, NJ @ XPoNential Music Festival
7/29 – Camden, NJ @ XPoNential Music Festival
7/30 – Camden, NJ @ XPoNential Music Festival
8/04 – Montreal, QC @ Osheaga Festival

* w/ Jason Isbell

Strand of Oaks Take on ‘Conan’

There are two truths we hold near and dear to our hearts. The first is that Tim Showalter of Strand of Oaks is due a Pantene campaign (look at that impeccable mane and tell us we’re wrong). And the second is that “Rest Of It” unquestionably belongs in an arena. It’s the sort of heart-pounding, muscle-car, shot-and-a-beer anthem that deserves to be played as loud as possible, preferably with hundreds (thousands?) of people singing along.

Conan, it seems, would agree. A direct quote from last night’s late night performance, “That’s how it’s done! I love seeing you play.” Strand of Oaks brought the aforementioned rocker, “Rest Of It,” to Conan, somehow avoiding burning down the set. Don’t believe us? Watch it back along with a solo-electric + web-exclusive rendition of “Radio Kids” (below). And don’t miss this killer band on tour! Full list of dates at the bottom.

Purchase Hard Love:
https://strandofoaks.lnk.to/hardlove

Strand of Oaks Tour Dates:
03/30/17 Los Angeles, CA – Troubadour
03/31/17 Phoenix, AZ – Valley Bar
04/01/17 Santa Fe, NM – Meow Wolf
04/02/17 Nashville, TN – 3rd & Lindsley
04/03/17 Dallas, TX – Three Links
04/04/17 Austin, TX – Stubb’s Indoor
04/05/17 Houston, TX – House of Blues
04/07/17 Birmingham, AL – Saturn
04/08/17 Tallahassee, FL – Word Of South Festival
04/09/17 Atlanta, GA – The Earl
04/10/17 Durham, NC – Motorco Music Hall
05/04/17 Springfield, MO – Gillioz Theatre
05/05/17 Kansas City, MO – Uptown Theater – Middle of the Map Fest
05/06/17 Peoria, IL – Limelight
05/26/17 Allston, MA – Boston Calling Festival
05/27/17 Allston, MA – Boston Calling Festival
05/28/17 Allston, MA – Boston Calling Festival
07/21/17 Miami Beach, FA – The Fillmore
07/22/17 Saint Augustine, FL – St. Augustine Amphitheatre
07/23/17 North Charleston, SC – North Charleston Performing Arts
07/26/17 Louisville, KY – Louisville Waterfront Park
07/28/17 Philadelphia, PA – XpoNential
07/29/17 Philadelphia, PA – XpoNential
07/30/17 Philadelphia, PA – XpoNential
08/04/17 Montreal, QC – Osheaga Festival
08/05/17 Montreal, QC – Osheaga Festival
08/06/17 Montreal, QC – Osheaga Festival

Pull an All-Nighter with Strand of Oaks in the New “Rest of It” Video

Rest of It” is the latest slice Strand Of Oaks is serving off their forthcoming record, titled Hard Love. Out 2/17, Hard Love finds bandleader Tim Showalter caught between his hedonistic pursuit of rock ‘n’ roll transcendence and the mature demands of domestic life. With help from producer Nicolas Vernhes (The War on Drugs, Spoon), Hard Love harnesses Showalter’s unrelenting energy and channels it into nine of the most incendiary, ambitious songs in Strand of Oaks’ discography.

Pre-order Hard Love: strandofoaks.lnk.to/hardlove

Strand of Oaks will tour extensively in 2017, with dates throughout Europe and the US, including Boston Calling in May. They will also be returning to Australia in April to perform at The Boogie Festival, which inspired album track “On The Hill”. Find all tour dates here.

Praise for Hard Love:

“The best Dinosaur Jr. song Ryan Adams never wrote” – Stereogum on “Radio Kids”

“Just like that favorite song you’ve held onto for so many years, evoking memories of the past, ‘Radio Kids’ is the kind of song you want to listen to over and over.” – NPR Music

Strand of Oaks Announces New Album ‘Hard Love’ Out 2/17

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Strand of Oaks, led by Philadelphia’s Tim Showalter, will release its new album titled Hard Love, on February 17th of next year. On the highly anticipated follow up to 2014’s HEAL, Showalter confronts the struggle between overindulgence and accountability; while he yearns for rock ‘n’ roll transcendence, he’s also forced to confront the damage that pursuit inevitably imposes on his loved ones. With help from producer Nicolas Vernhes (The War on Drugs, Spoon) and guitarist Jason Anderson, Hard Love harnesses Showalter’s unrelenting energy and channels it into nine of the most incendiary, ambitious songs in Strand Of Oaks’ discography.

Our first slice of the new record, “Radio Kids” comes with a beautifully shot video directed by Christopher Good. NPR Music says,

“Just like that favorite song you’ve held onto for so many years, evoking memories of the past, ‘Radio Kids’ is the kind of song you want to listen to over and over.”

Hard Love walks a tightrope of emotions — from rock ‘n’ roll abandon to harrowing self-reflection — and Showalter has lived every minute of it. From a life-changing psychedelic awakening at the Boogie Festival in Australia (“On The Hill“) to his own domestic troubles (“Hard Love”) and the near-death of his brother from cardiac arrest (“Taking Acid and Talking With My Brother“), Hard Love is a sledgehammer of a record rife with unrestrained sonic expression.

Written and conceptualized during Showalter’s post-tour break as he reveled in what he considered to be a life-changing experience, the initial sessions for Hard Love were scrapped. Showalter brought in producer Nicolas Vernhes to capture the loose, hedonistic vibe he was searching for. “In a time of calculation and overthinking, I wanted to bring back the raw, impulsive nature that is the DNA of so many records I love,” says Showalter, who draws from his love of Creation Records, Trojan dub tapes and Jane’s Addiction throughout the album’s nine tracks.

But that rocking intensity is tempered by the wounded ballad “Cry,” a sobering moment of clarity that serves as the emotional fulcrum of the record. It’s this strain of honesty and self-reflection that helps mark ‘Hard Love’ as the most fearless work of Showalter’s career — a growing up record that lobbies just as hard for holding on to youthful foibles.

“Some records are built like monuments, set in stone,” says Showalter. “I want this record to be burned in effigy, in celebration of the limited time we have on this earth.”

Pre-order Hard Love: strandofoaks.lnk.to/hardlove

Hard Love Tracklist:
1. Hard Love
2. Radio Kids
3. Everything
4. Salt Brothers
5. On The Hill
6. Cry
7. Rest Of It
8. Quit It
9. Tacking Acid and Talking To My Brother

Strand of Oaks will tour extensively in 2017, with dates throughout Europe and the United States. Don’t miss this electrifying live show, see if your town’s listed below!

US Tour Dates:
December 1 – Arden, DE @ The Gild Hall
December 2 – Philadelphia, PA @ Boot & Saddle
December 3 – Philadelphia, PA @ Boot & Saddle
December 4 – Philadelphia, PA @ Boot & Saddle
March 10 – Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer
March 11 – Washington DC @ Rock and Roll Hotel
March 12 – Richmond, VA @ Strange Matter
March 14 – Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall Of Williamsburg
March 15 – Ithaca, NY @ The Haunt
March 16 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Club Café
March 17 – Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Tavern
March 18 – Chicago, IL @ Thalia Hall
March 19 – Milwaukee, WI @ Colectivo Coffee
March 20 – Minneapolis, MN @ 7th St. Entry
March 23 – Spokane, WA @ The Bartlett
March 24 – Seattle, WA @ Neumos
March 25 – Portland, OR @ Dante’s
March 27 – San Francisco, CA @ The Independent
March 28 – Santa Barbara, CA @ Velvet Jones
March 30 – Los Angeles, CA @ Troubadour
March 31 – Phoenix, AZ @ Valley Bar
April 1 – Santa Fe, NM @ Meow Wolf
April 3 – Dallas, TX @ Three Links
April 4 – Austin, TX @ Stubb’s Indoor
April 5 – Houston, TX @ House Of Blues – Bronze Peacock
April 7 – Birmingham, AL @ Saturn
April 8 – Tallahassee, FL @ Word Of South Festival
April 9 – Atlanta, GA @ The Earl
April 10 – Durham, NC @ Motorco Music Hall

European Tour Dates:
December 11 – Brussels, B @ AB – Huis 23
February 25 – Berlin, D @ Privat Club
February 26 – Utrecht, NL @ Ekko
February 27 – Brussels, B @ AB – Box
February 28 – London, UK @ Oslo
March 1 – Manchester, UK @ Deaf Institute
March 2 – Leeds, UK @ Brudenell
March 3 – Brighton, UK @ Patterns
March 4 – Oostende, B @ De Zwerver
March 5 – Amsterdam, NL @ Paradiso Noord

tour dates

07/27/17

Cincinnati, OH - MOTR Pub  w/ Jason Anderson

07/28/17

Pittsburgh, PA - Schenley Plaza  w/ Emerson Jay

07/29/17

Camden, NJ - XPoNential Music Festival

07/30/17

Montauk, NY - The Surf Lodge

08/04/17

Montreal, QC - Osheaga Festival

08/05/17

Montreal, QC - Osheaga Festival

08/06/17

Montreal, QC - Osheaga Festival
See all upcoming shows »

video

Everything
by Strand of Oaks
Cry
by Strand of Oaks
Rest Of It
by Strand of Oaks
Radio Kids
by Strand of Oaks
Shut In
by Strand of Oaks
Goshen '97
by Strand of Oaks
Same Emotions
by Strand of Oaks
by Strand of Oaks