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.
“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.
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.
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.”
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!
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
“…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 Oaks‘ HEAL 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.
My Wrecking Ball (Live at WXPN)
Goshen ’97 (Live at Acoustic Café)
Shut In (Hear Ya Session)
HEAL (Congleton Mix)
& = w/ Ryley Walker
† = w/ My Morning Jacket