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."

ALBUM RELEASE // Strand of Oaks ‘HEAL’ Out Now Worldwide, On Tour Now



The new Strand of Oaks album HEAL is out now.

On previous Strand of Oaks albums, Tim Showalter displayed his knack for moving and dark folk and now on HEAL we see growth and change into an immersive sound with loud, punching guitar riffs and synth-heavy hooks akin to his recent touring show. This is rock in its most raw form, unapologetic and full of deep emotion. Showalter says “I’m inspired by bands that go the distance, to a dangerous place…there’s an uncertainty to ‘HEAL’ that makes me nervous and excited at the same time. It’s sad, but it sounds like a celebration, like I’m crying and laughing and sticking both middle fingers in the air all at the same time.”

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

Critics praise the new album:

“Folk songwriter Strand Of Oaks heals on rock ‘n’ roll masterpiece”

A.V. CLUB | A

“overwhelmingly epic and unashamedly ambitious”

UNCUT | ★★★★

“Epic…it’s easy to hear how it might serve as curative to a new generation of songwriters.”

NPR

“Glorious…matches Springsteen’s phrasing with the Replacements’ wounded alt-rock.”

SPIN

See Tim and the band on tour starting this this Thursday in NYC at Mercury Lounge with tickets here. See the rest of the tour dates below.

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

6/27 – Philadelphia, PA @ WXPN World Cafe Free at Noon
8/07 – Allston, MA @ Great Scott
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
8/18 – 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
8/28 – 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
9/19 – 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)
10/14 – 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)

FIRST LISTEN // Stream Strand of Oaks ‘HEAL’ Via NPR Music First Listen, Album Out Next Week

Preview the new Strand of Oaks album HEAL in full over at NPR Music as part of their First Listen series. Also, if you missed it, a great 60 Minutes inspired video for “Shut In” directed by Zia Anger premiered last week via SPIN. Watch the video here on YouTube / Vevo.

Get in more depth with Strand of Oaks by heading over to Grantland who published a fantastic long read profile on Tim that you can read here.

Pre-order the new album HEAL via iTunes, Amazon, SC Distribution, and your local record store.

See Tim and the band on tour starting this Saturday in Chicago at The Hideout for a special WXRT presented First Impressions show with tickets here. Next Thursday they’re in NYC playing Bowery Ballroom with tickets here. See the rest of the tour dates below.

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

6/27 – Philadelphia, PA @ WXPN World Cafe Free at Noon
8/07 – Allston, MA @ Great Scott
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
8/18 – 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
8/28 – 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
9/19 – 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)
10/14 – 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)

WATCH // Strand of Oaks Shares New “Shut In” Video Directed By Zia Anger, New Album ‘HEAL’ Out June 24th

A few weeks ago SPIN premiered Strand of Oaks‘ new track “Shut In” off his upcoming Dead Oceans debut, HEAL, out June 24th. Today, Red Bull Music shares a 60 Minutes styled video for the song via director Zia Anger. Watch the video above or here on YouTube / Vevo.

Pre-order the new album HEAL via iTunes, Amazon, SC Distribution, and your local record store.

The tour starts on June 26th at the Mercury Lounge in NYC. Get tickets here. See all the tour dates including new stops in Europe starting at the end of September, below.

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

6/26 – New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge
8/7 – Allston, MA @ Great Scott
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
8/18 – 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
8/28 – 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
9/19 – 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)
10/14 – 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)

LISTEN // Strand of Oaks Shares New “Shut In” Via SPIN, New Album ‘HEAL’ Out 6/24

Yesterday SPIN premiered Strand of Oaks‘ new track “Shut In” off his upcoming Dead Oceans debut, HEAL, out June 24th. Listen to the track above or here on our Soundcloud / Youtube channel.

Pre-order the new album HEAL via iTunes, Amazon, SC Distribution, and your local record store.

The tour starts on June 26th at the Mercury Lounge in NYC. Get tickets here. See all the tour dates below.

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

6/26 – New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge
8/7 – Allston, MA @ Great Scott
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
8/18 – 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
8/28 – 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
9/19 – Philadelphia, PA @ Boot & Saddle

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