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."

LISTEN // Strand of Oaks Announce ‘Heal’ Deluxe Edition

“Some of the best new music we heard in 2014 was sitting right in our own backyard. With his band Strand of Oaks, Philly-based singer, songwriter and guitarist Tim Showalter released a knockout rock ‘n’ roll record called HEAL…this is Strand of Oaks’ most personal record, and it resonates with amplified power, soaring guitar solos and a confessional approach to songwriting.”
NPR, Public Radio’s 10 Breakout Artists of 2014

“…full-on, heart-on-sleeve vision-quest rock in the style of Showalter’s beloved Smashing Pumpkins, with a sprinkle of humility courtesy of the late Jason Molina.”
Grantland, – The Best (a.k.a. My Favorite) Music of 2014

“With its bombastic anthems and touching songwriting, the album is an incredibly revealing statement from a resilient artist.”
The AV Club, – The 20 Best Albums of 2014

“A fierce, heady triumph…this album is one of the true out-of-nowhere delights of 2014. One of its recurring themes is the power of music to get folks out of the tighetest emotional and psychological jams, and HEAL is just the kind of revelatory album to do the trick.”
American Songwriter, – Top 50 Albums of 2014

“This is big, bold rock music, even when it’s quiet.”
Aquarium Drunkard, 2014 Year in Review

Strand of OaksHEAL was released early last summer on Dead Oceans, kicking off a year of big firsts and miles racked up on the odometer. Tim Showalter paid a visit to NPR’s Tiny Desk – and to nearly every state (plus multiple continents) on a non-stop tour. As a result, Showalter’s most personal songs to date were allowed the chance to expand and change shape. That’s where the deluxe version of HEAL comes in – to celebrate this newfound life and share some fan favorites. It’s bookended with two covers, firstly a cover of Ryan Adams“My Wrecking Ball” taped in Showalter’s home of Philadelphia at WXPN, lastly a woozy rendition of The National’s “Pink Rabbits”. Rounding out the mix is a version of “Goshen ’97” from Acoustic Café and a life-affirming rendition of “Shut In” for Hear Ya. Finally, it features an alternate mix of “HEAL” at the hands of producer John Congleton that sounds like Showalter’s heart being dragged through sludge and fed through an amp.

The deluxe edition will be available as a digital-only release on Friday July 17. In addition to a full summer, Strand of Oaks has tacked on a heap of dates for this fall including shows with My Morning Jacket. All dates listed below.

HEAL TRACKLISTING
Goshen ’97
HEAL
Same Emotions
Shut In
Woke Up To The Light
JM
Plymouth
Mirage Year
For Me
Wait For Love

BONUS:
My Wrecking Ball (Live at WXPN)
Goshen ’97 (Live at Acoustic Café)
Shut In (Hear Ya Session)
HEAL (Congleton Mix)
Pink Rabbits

STRAND OF OAKS TOUR DATES: More info here
Thurs. July 23 – Woodstock, NY @ Bearsville Theatre
Fri. July 24 – Newport, RI @ Newport Folk Festival – SOLD OUT
Sat. July 25 – Buffalo, NY @ Tralf Music Hall
Mon. July 27 – St. Paul, MN @ Turf Club &
Tues. July 28 – Spring Green, WI @ Shitty Barn – SOLD OUT
Fri. July 31 – Montreal, QC @ Osheaga Festival
Sat. Aug. 1 – Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle – SOLD OUT
Sun. Aug. 2 – Chicago, IL @ Lollapalooza
Thurs. Aug. 6 – San Francisco, CA @ Brick & Mortar Music Hall
Fri. Aug. 7 – San Francisco, CA @ Outside Lands Music & Arts
Wed. Aug. 19 – Utrech, NL @ Ekko
Thurs. Aug. 20 – Hasselt, BE @ Pukkelpop
Thurs. Aug. 20 – Sun. Aug. 23 – Brecon Beacons, UK @ Green Man Festival
Sun. Aug. 23 – Portland, OR @ MusicfestNW
Sat. Sept. 5 – Sun. Sept. 6 – Philadelphia, PA @ Made In America Festival
Sun. Sept. 13 – St. Louis, MO @ Loufest
Fri. Sept. 18 – Sun. Sept. 20 – Bristol, VA @ Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion
Mon. Sept. 21 – Charlottesville, VA @ The Southern
Tues. Sept. 22 – Baltimore, MD @ Metro Gallery
Fri. Sept. 25 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Thrival Innovation + Music Festival
Sat. Sept. 26 – Cincinnati, OH @ Midpoint Music Festival
Sun. Sept. 27 – Champaign, IL @ Pygmalion Music Festival
Wed. Sept. 30 – Portland, OR @ Keller Auditorium †
Fri. Oct. 2 – Sun. Oct. 11 – Austin, TX @ Austin City Limits
Fri. Oct. 2 – Seattle, WA @ Moore Theatre †
Sat. Oct. 3 – Seattle, WA @ Moore Theatre †
Tues. Oct. 6 – Boise, ID @ Revolution Event Center †
Wed. Oct. 7 – Magna, UT @ The Great Saltair †
Fri. Oct. 9 – Las Vegas, NV @ Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas †
Sat. Oct. 10 – Las Vegas, NV @ Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas †
Sun. Oct. 18 – Atlanta, GA @ PARKLIFE Music Festival
Fri. Nov. 20 – Boston, MA @ Orpheum Theatre †
Wed. Nov. 25 – New York, NY @ Beacon Theatre †

& = w/ Ryley Walker
† = w/ My Morning Jacket

WATCH // Strand of Oaks’ NPR Tiny Desk Concert

Strand of Oaks’ Tiny Desk Concert is a great example of not only why this series is awesome, but also a testament to Tim Showalter’s songwriting that when he slows his anthemic rockers down, they become beautiful and contemplative. “Goshen ’97” gets special treatment here, and “Plymouth” and “JM” retain their energy and gain new poetic weight from the stripped down approach.

Strand of Oaks will be in your neck of the woods this Summer. Dates are below, tickets are here

06/19/15 Hilvarenbeek, NL – Best Kept Secret Festival
07/23/15 Woodstock, NY – Bearsville Theatre
07/24/15 Newport, RI – Newport Folk Festival SOLD-OUT
07/25/15 Buffalo, NY – Tralf Music Hall
07/27/15 St. Paul, MN – Turf Club
07/28/15 Spring Green, WI – Shitty Barn w/ Oedipus Tex
07/31/15 Montreal, QC – Osheaga Festival
08/01/15 Montreal, QC – Osheaga Festival
08/02/15 Chicago, IL – Lollapalooza
08/07/15 San Francisco, CA – Outside Lands SOLD-OUT
08/19/15 Utrecht, NL – Ekko
08/20/15 Hasselt, BE – Pukkelpop Festival
08/20/15 Brecon Beacons, UK – Green Man Festival
08/21/15 Brecon Beacons, UK – Green Man Festival
08/22/15 Brecon Beacons, UK – Green Man Festival
08/23/15 Brecon Beacons, UK – Green Man Festival
08/23/15 Portland, OR – Music Fest NW
09/12/15 St. Louis, MO – Loufest
09/13/15 St. Louis, MO – Loufest
09/25/15 Pittsburgh, PA – Thrival Innovation + Music
09/26/15 Cincinnati, OH – MIdpoint Music Festival
09/27/15 Champaign, IL – Pygmalion Music Festival
09/30/15 Portland, OR – Keller Auditorium w/ My Morning Jacket
10/02/15 Seattle, WA – Moore Theatre w/ My Morning Jacket
10/02/15 Austin, TX – Austin City Limits Festival
10/03/15 Seattle, WA – Moore Theatre w/ My Morning Jacket
10/03/15 Austin, TX – Austin City Limits Festival
10/04/15 Austin, TX – Austin City Limits Festival
10/06/15 Boise, ID – Revolution Event Center w/ My Morning Jacket
10/07/15 Magna, UT – The Great Saltair w/ My Morning Jacket
10/09/15 Las Vegas, NV – Brooklyn Bowl w/ My Morning Jacket
10/09/15 Austin, TX – Austin City Limits Festival
10/10/15 Las Vegas, NV – Brooklyn Bowl w/ My Morning Jacket
10/10/15 Austin, TX – Austin City Limits Festival
10/11/15 Austin, TX – Austin City Limits Festival

WATCH // Ryley Walker Performs “The High Road” and “Sweet Satisfaction” At Braund Studios NYC

“His new album displays a kinship for Fairport Convention, Tim Buckley, Nick Drake, Joni Mitchell and Burt Jansch, but Walker is a restless presence and powerful player, one whose compositions offer structural diversions and an overall expansiveness. The 10 songs move with a measured looseness, with Walker and his miraculous backing band of Chicago jazz players allowing plenty of space for tightly improvised explorations.”
Los Angeles Times

Ryley Walker’s summer tour in support of his Dead Oceans’ debut, Primrose Green, kicks off tomorrow in Los Angeles with an Aquarium Drunkard-presented show at The Echo. In conjunction with the start of his busy summer, Walker is sharing two new stunning live videos of Primrose Green cuts, “Sweet Satisfaction” and “The High Road.” The videos were recorded at Braund Studios in Brooklyn during CMJ 2014. Get a glimpse into Walker’s magnificent live show before catching him on the road with Amen Dunes, Jessica Pratt, Strand of Oaks and others, and at several festivals including Pitchfork Music Festival, Levitation, NXNE, Solid Sound Music Festival, Pickathon and more. A full list of dates is below.

RYLEY WALKER TOUR DATES:
Tue. June 2 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Echo
Wed. June 3 – Long Beach, CA @ Carpenter House
Sun. June 7 – Vancouver, BC @ Levitation – Vancouver
Mon. June 8 – Seattle, WA @ Barboza (w/ Amen Dunes)
Tue. June 9 – Portland, OR @ Doug Fir Lounge (w/ Amen Dunes)
Thu. June 11 – Santa Cruz, CA @ The Catalyst Atrium (w/ Amen Dunes)
Fri. June 12 – San Francisco, CA @ The Chapel (w/ Amen Dunes)
Sat. June 13 – Sonoma, CA @ Huichica Festival (w/ Amen Dunes)
Thu. June 18 – Montreal, QC @ La Vitrola (Suoni per II Popolo Festival w/ Myriam Gendron)
Sat. June 20 – Toronto, ON @ The Mod Club (NXNE w/ Angel Olsen)
Sun. June 21 – Portsmouth, NH @ 3S Artspace (w/ Jessica Pratt)
Tue. June 23 – Allston, MA @ Great Scott (w/ Jessica Pratt)
Wed. June 24 – Philadelphia, PA @ Boot & Saddle (w/ Jessica Pratt)
Thu. June 25 – Washington, DC @ Rock & Roll Hotel (w/ Jessica Pratt)
Fri. June 26 – New York, NY @ Le Poisson Rouge (w/ Jessica Pratt)
Sat. June 27 – North Adams, MA @ Solid Sound Music Festival
Tue. June 30 – Kingston, NY @ BSP Kingston (w/ Elijah Wolf, Liv Carrow)
Wed. July 1 – Asbury Park, NJ @ The Saint
Thu. July 2 – Baltimore, MD @ Canton Waterfront Park (w/ Scars on 45)
Wed. July 15 – Madison, WI @ The Frequency (w/ Jessica Pratt)
Fri. July 17 – Chicago, IL @ Union Park (Pitchfork Music Festival)
Fri. July 24-Sun. July 26 – Guelph, ON @ Guelph Lake Island Conversation Area (Hillside Festival)
Sun. July 26 – Sterling Heights, MI @ Freedom Hill (MO POP Festival)
Mon. July 27 – Saint Paul, MN @ Turf Club (w/ Strand of Oaks)
Fri. July 31-Sun. Aug. 2 – Happy Valley, OR @ Pendarvis Farm (Pickathon)
Tue. Aug. 18 – Dublin, IE @ Whelan’s
Wed. Aug. 19 – Cork, IE @ Triskel Arts Centre
Thu. Aug. 20-Sun. Aug. 23 – Brecon Beacons, Wales @ Green Man Festival
Tue. Aug. 25 – Brussels, BE @ Feeerieen Festival
Wed. Aug. 26 – Canterbury, UK @ The Bubble Club
Thu. Aug. 27 – Norwich, UK @ Norwich Arts Centre
Fri. Aug. 28 – Birmingham, UK @ The Rainbow
Sat. Aug. 29 – Manchester, UK @ Soup Kitchen
Sun. Aug. 30 – York, UK @ The Band Room
Mon. Aug. 31 – Cardiff, UK @ Clwb Ifor Bach
Tue. Sept. 1 – Brighton, UK @ Green Door Store
Wed. Sept. 2 – London, UK @ Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen
Fri. Sept. 4-Sun. Sept. 6 – Wiltshire, UK @ End Of The Road
Sun. Sept. 6 – Amsterdam, NL @ Sugar Mountain Festival
Wed. Sept. 9 – Schorndorf, DE @ Manufaktur
Thu. Sept. 10 – Berlin, DE @ Privatclub
Fri. Sept. 11 – Hamburg, DE @ Aalhaus
Sat. Sept. 12 – Groningen, NL @ Take Root Festival
Sun. Sept. 13 – Wiesbaden, DE @ Schlachthof
Tue. Sept. 15 – Geneva, CH @ L’Ecurie
Wed. Sept. 23-Sun. Sept. 27 – Champaign, IL @ Pygmalion Music Festival
Sat. Sept. 26 – Cincinnati, OH @ MidPoint Music Festival

Purchase Primrose Green:
iTunes
Amazon
SCD
Indies

WATCH // Strand of Oaks Shares Summer Tour Dates, Watch Session At Ace Hotel in New York City

Strand of Oaks : 5 at 5 : Ace Hotel New York from Ace Hotel on Vimeo.

Strand of Oaks wants to spend time with you this summer. Every one of you. Starting this month the band will make their way across the country in continued support of last year’s highly-acclaimed, HEAL. Strand of Oaks’ already exhilirating live show will add decibels in the form of a guitar helmed by eastcoaster (and new band member) Carter Tanton. The band’s spring tour resumes in Chattanooga, TN on April 16 with a handful of dates in support of Jason Isbell. Notable festival stops on their route include Middle of the Map, Hangout, Sasquatch, Governors Ball, Bonnaroo, Lollapallooza, Osheaga, and Outside Lands – so almost all of ’em. Strand of Oaks will also play support to Alabama Shakes and Ryan Adams.

Since we last spoke, frontman Tim Showalter coaxed some truth from Father John Misty’s I Love You, Honeybear for The Talkhouse and paid a visit to NYC’s Ace Hotel for their 5 at 5 series. Catch a glimpse of his inner Viking on the road, full list of dates below.

STRAND OF OAKS TOUR DATES
[all dates + tix links: deadoceans.com/tour]

Thurs. April 16 – Chattanooga, TN @ Track 29 #
Fri. April 17 – Charlotte, NC @ US National Whitewater Center #
Sat. April 18 – Columbia, SC @ Music Farm Columbia #
Mon. April 20 – Athens, GA @ Caledonia Lounge
Tues. April 21 – Lexington, KY @ Green Lantern Bar
Wed. April 22 – Columbia, MO @ Rose Music Hall
Thus. April 23 – Kansas City, MO @ Uptown Theater, Middle of the Map Fest
Tues. May 12 – Wilmington, DE @ The Grand Opera House &
Fri. May 15 – Gulf Shores, AL @ Hangout Music Festival
Fri. May 22 – Mon. May 25 – George, WA @ Sasquatch Music Festival
Wed. May 27 – London, UK @ The Garage
Fri. May 29 – Sat. May 30 – Barcelona, ES @ Primavera Sound
Mon. June 1 – Zurich, CH @ Bogen
Wed. June 3 – Marina Di Ravenna, IT @ Beaches Brew
Thurs. June 5 – Athens, GR @ Plissken Festival
Sun. June 7 – New York, NY @ Governors Ball
Tues. June 9 – Charlottesville, VA @ nTelos Wireless Pavilion
Thurs. June 11 – Sun. June 14 – Manchester, TN @ Bonnaroo
Sat. June 13 – Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle (Back Room)
Sun. June 14 – Richmond, VA @ Strange Matter
Fri. June 19 – Hilvarenbeek, NL @ Best Kept Secret
Sat. July 25 – Buffalo, NY @ Tralf Music Hall
Mon. July 27 – St. Paul, MN @ Turf Club
Tues. July 28 – Spring Green, WI @ Shitty Barn
Fri. July 31 – Sun. Aug. 2 – Chicago, IL @ Lollapalooza (SOLD OUT)
Fri. July 31 – Sun. Aug. 2 – Montreal, QC @ Osheaga Festival
Fri. Aug. 7 – Sun. Aug. 9 – San Francisco, CA @ Outside Lands Music & Arts (SOLD OUT)
Thurs. Aug. 20 – Hasselt, BE @ Pukkelpop

# = w/ Jason Isbell
& = w/ Ryan Adams
= w/ Alabama Shakes

tour dates

06/24/17

Milwaukee, WI - Radio Milwaukee Studios Festival

06/25/17

Chicago, IL - Logan Square Arts Festival

07/08/17

Seattle, WA - Ballard Seafood Fest

07/13/17

Baltimore, MD - Metro Gallery  w/ Jason Anderson

07/14/17

Charlottesville, VA - The Southern  w/ Jason Anderson

07/15/17

Asheville, NC - The Mothlight  w/ Jason Anderson

07/17/17

Athens, GA - The Georgia Theatre (rooftop)  w/ Jason Anderson
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