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."

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

WATCH // Strand of Oaks Performs “Plymouth” Live At Ace Hotel NYC [Via The A.V. Club], Tour Starts Tonight In Madison, WI

Today, Strand of Oaks start a 6-date Midwestern tour from Wisconsin to Indianapolis and to celebrate, Ace Hotel has shared a beautiful session of “Plymouth” shot in their NYC lobby late last year. Watch the video above or here on The A.V. Club.

Click read more below to see all upcoming tour dates and ticket links including recently announced dates at Hogs for the Cause, Hangout Festival, Bonnaroo, and Governor’s Ball.

Pick up the new album now via iTunes, Amazon, SC Distribution, and your local record store.

Read the rest of this entry »

LATE NIGHT // Watch Strand of Oaks Perform ‘Shut In’ On Late Night With Seth Meyers, On Tour Now

I came, I saw, I conquered.Tim Showalter (Unconfirmed, but probably)

Did you catch Strand of Oaks‘ national television debut last night on Late Night With Seth Meyers? We hope you did. If you missed the show watch them perform “Shut In” above off their latest album ‘Heal‘.

Pick up the new album now via iTunes, Amazon, SC Distribution, and your local record store.

If you’re looking for even more Strand of Oaks, click here for the band’s latest video for the track “Same Emotions“, or see them in the flesh. They’ll be stateside before their trek through Europe. Tour dates are below.

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

8/12 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Club Café &
8/14 – Cincinnati, OH @ MOTR Pub &
8/15 – Bloomington, IN @ Russian Recording &
8/16 – Goshen, IN @ Ignition Music Garage &
8/17 – Chicago, IL @ Schubas &
8/18 – Milwaukee, WI @ Pabst Theater &
8/19 – Minneapolis, MN @ 7th St. Entry &
8/21 – St. Louis, MO @ Off Broadway &
8/22 – Kansas City, MO @ Riot Room &
8/23 – Denver, CO @ Hi Dive &
8/24 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court &
8/26 – Seattle, WA @ Tractor Tavern &
8/27 – Vancouver, BC @ The Biltmore Cabaret &
8/28 – Portland, OR @ Doug Fir Lounge &
8/30 – San Francisco, CA @ The Independent &
8/31 – Santa Cruz, CA @ The Crepe Place &
9/3 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Echo &
9/4 – San Diego, CA @ Casbah &
9/5 – Phoenix, AZ @ Last Exit &
9/7 – Dallas, TX @ Three Links &
9/9 – Austin, TX @ Lambert’s &
9/10 – Birmingham, AL @ The Bottletree &
9/11 – Atlanta, GA @ The Earl &
9/12 – Nashville, TN @ The High Watt &
9/13 – Durham, NC @ Pinhook &
9/14 – Washington, DC @ DC9 &
9/15 – Brooklyn, NY @ Rough Trade &
9/19 – Philadelphia, PA @ Boot & Saddle
9/20 – Philadelphia, PA @ Boot & Saddle
9/27 – EKKO, Utrecht (NL)

9/28 – Trix, Antwerp (BE)

9/29 – Bermuda Triangle, Brighton (UK)
9/30 – The Lexington, London (UK)
10/1 – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds (UK)

10/2 – Mono, Glasgow (UK)

10/3 – Whelan’s, Dublin (IR)

10/4 – Deaf Institute, Manchester (UK)

10/5 – The Louisiana, Bristol (UK)

10/6 – 4AD, Diksmuide (BE)
10/8 – Merleyn, Nijmegen (NL)
10/9 – Privatclub, Berlin (DE)

10/10 – Ideal Bar, Copenhagen (DK)

10/11 – Pustervik, Gothenburg (SE)
10/12 – John Dee, Oslo (NO)

10/13 – Lilla Hotellbaren, Stockholm (SE)
10/15 – Podnik, Prague (CZ)

10/16 – Chelsea, Vienna (AT)

10/17 – Mattatoio, Carpi (IT)

10/18 – Bronson, Ravenna (IT)

10/20 – 75 Beat, Milan (IT)

10/21 – Bad Bonn, Duedingen (CH)
10/22 – Espace B, Paris (FR)

10/23 – Blue Shell, Cologne (DE)

10/24 – Paradiso, Amsterdam (NL)
10/25 – Zwolle, NL @ Let’s Get Lost

& – W/ Christopher Denny
# – W/ Interpol

WATCH // Strand of Oaks Shares Video For “Same Emotion” Dir. By Austin Kearns, On Tour Now

Already in the midst of a world-conquering tour, Strand of Oaks present the new video for “Same Emotion” off the new record HEAL. Premiering via Bloody Disgusting this morning, director Austin Kearns (Jonathan Rado, Diane Coffee) tells the story of a group of guys on the prowl who end up getting way more than they expected. Keep an eye out for Strand of Oaks frontman Tim Showalter starring as bartender. Those who can handle the sight of blood should watch the video above or here on Youtube / Vevo.

If you haven’t already, get the album now via iTunes, Amazon, SC Distribution, and your local record store.

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

7/29 – Pontiac, MI @ The Pike Room at The Crofoot
7/30 – Chicago, IL @ Lollapalooza Aftershow @ House of Blues #
7/31 – Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Tavern
8/1 – Columbus, OH @ The Basement
8/7 – Allston, MA @ Great Scott &
8/8 – South Burlington, VT @ Higher Ground Lounge &
8/9 – Montreal, QC @ Il Motore &
8/11 – Toronto, ON @ The Drake &
8/12 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Club Café &
8/14 – Cincinnati, OH @ MOTR Pub &
8/15 – Bloomington, IN @ Russian Recording &
8/16 – Goshen, IN @ Ignition Music Garage &
8/17 – Chicago, IL @ Schubas &
8/18 – Milwaukee, WI @ Pabst Theater &
8/19 – Minneapolis, MN @ 7th St. Entry &
8/21 – St. Louis, MO @ Off Broadway &
8/22 – Kansas City, MO @ Riot Room &
8/23 – Denver, CO @ Hi Dive &
8/24 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court &
8/26 – Seattle, WA @ Tractor Tavern &
8/27 – Vancouver, BC @ The Biltmore Cabaret &
8/28 – Portland, OR @ Doug Fir Lounge &
8/30 – San Francisco, CA @ The Independent &
8/31 – Santa Cruz, CA @ The Crepe Place &
9/3 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Echo &
9/4 – San Diego, CA @ Casbah &
9/5 – Phoenix, AZ @ Last Exit &
9/7 – Dallas, TX @ Three Links &
9/9 – Austin, TX @ Lambert’s &
9/10 – Birmingham, AL @ The Bottletree &
9/11 – Atlanta, GA @ The Earl &
9/12 – Nashville, TN @ The High Watt &
9/13 – Durham, NC @ Pinhook &
9/14 – Washington, DC @ DC9 &
9/15 – Brooklyn, NY @ Rough Trade &
9/19 – Philadelphia, PA @ Boot & Saddle
9/20 – Philadelphia, PA @ Boot & Saddle

9/27 – EKKO, Utrecht (NL)

9/28 – Trix, Antwerp (BE)

9/29 – Bermuda Triangle, Brighton (UK)
9/30 – The Lexington, London (UK)
10/1 – Brudenell Social Club, Leeds (UK)

10/2 – Mono, Glasgow (UK)

10/3 – Whelan’s, Dublin (IR)

10/4 – Deaf Institute, Manchester (UK)

10/5 – The Louisiana, Bristol (UK)

10/6 – 4AD, Diksmuide (BE)
10/8 – Merleyn, Nijmegen (NL)
10/9 – Privatclub, Berlin (DE)

10/10 – Ideal Bar, Copenhagen (DK)

10/11 – Pustervik, Gothenburg (SE)
10/12 – John Dee, Oslo (NO)

10/13 – Lilla Hotellbaren, Stockholm (SE)
10/15 – Podnik, Prague (CZ)

10/16 – Chelsea, Vienna (AT)

10/17 – Mattatoio, Carpi (IT)

10/18 – Bronson, Ravenna (IT)

10/20 – 75 Beat, Milan (IT)

10/21 – Bad Bonn, Duedingen (CH)
10/22 – Espace B, Paris (FR)

10/23 – Blue Shell, Cologne (DE)

10/24 – Paradiso, Amsterdam (NL)
10/25 – Zwolle, NL @ Let’s Get Lost

& – W/ Christopher Denny
# – W/ Interpol

tour dates

12/09/16

Brussels, BE - Ancienne Belgique

02/25/17

Berlin, DE - Privat Club

02/26/17

Utrecht, NL - Ekko

02/27/17

Brussels, BE - AB (Huis 23)

02/28/17

London, UK - Oslo

03/01/17

Manchester, UK - Deaf Institute

03/02/17

Leeds, UK - Brudenell
See all upcoming shows »

free downloads

Shut In by Strand of Oaks
Goshen '97 by Strand of Oaks

video

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