Posts Tagged ‘Strand of Oaks’

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Strand of Oaks (aka Timothy Showalter) have announced their sixth studo album – “Eraserland” out March 22nd via Dead Oceans Recordings.

Eraserland features the impressive backing band of Carl Broemel, Bo Koster, Patrick Hallahan and Tom Blankenship of My Morning Jacket, as well as special guest Jason Isbell.

According to Showalter, the lead single “Ruby” is a reflection on a certain kind of nostalgia.

Ruby is the happiest song I’ve ever written,” he said via a press release. “Ruby isn’t a person, rather the concept of time and memory and how with every passing year it becomes non linear. In the past I would’ve dismissed such unabashedly pure optimism, but I’ve been through a lot and I’ve learned to appreciate those rare moments of light.

“Ruby” off Strand of Oaks’s new album “Eraserland” out March 22nd on Dead Oceans

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Kevin Ratterman and I first met when his incredible band Twin Limb opened for us on tour. Instant friendship. But the real kicker came about a week into tour and I asked him about previous bands he’d been in. He said a few and then mentioned off the cuff that he was the drummer of Elliot. My mind was completely blown. Not only did I love the music but it was at an Elliot show where I first saw Sue. At Kevin’s concert, 15 years ago I saw who was going to be the love of my life. If that doesn’t align the starts than nothing will. From there we talked music and recording and I just continued to discover how talented Kevin was in the studio. So when everything came together to make Eraserland, it was Kevin who truly brought it all together. We would get up every morning and have coffee and map out our day, then work about 14 hours, then after everyone would leave we stay up till about four in the morning just talking, laughing, planning and just really growing so close as friends. I’ve spent a lot time in the studio but I’ve never seen someone work harder but somehow float on air and make everyone involved feels so relaxed and inspired. I think everyone would agree, that Kevin was the boss, in the best of ways. When we would finish a live take all together (sometimes a nine minute song), there would be a stillness in the air of all us waiting to hear over the headphones if we got the take. That 15 seconds felt like a lifetime, especially when Kev would casually say “Let’s get another one”. Partnerships like this don’t come around often, or maybe ever, and for the first time in my life I was smart enough to recognize that and appreciate every second I got to spend with Kevin, and be around his magic.

Eraserland is the first record I’ve ever written where the majority of the songs started with a bass part. I needed to switch a lot of stuff up in my life and writing songs on a different instrument really proved beneficial. I feel like Oaks was becoming a “shred” band and at the time I wanted to be as far from that as possible. If you build songs from a bass line you start from an extremley centered and structured place, and that is exactly what my chaotic mind needed. Long story but all that work was then put into the hands of Tom Blankenship. Hanging with Tom was like going on a spiritual retreat so much thoughtfulness, kindness, observation, listening or to put it simply the ingredients that make a PERFECT bass player. When we recorded Eraserland, we tracked all the parts live together. Even with my songs which definitely aren’t prog anthems, it can be tough to get a complete take out of five individuals. But Tom NEVER messed up, I’m serious, NEVER messed up. Just quietly in the zone and constantly coming up with something fresh that somehow worked in the arrangement even better than his last take. It was amazing to talk with everyone and quickly find out that this is just Tom, he is the rock that holds everything together.

 

 

 

“Weird Ways” off Strand of Oaks’s new album “Eraserland” out March 22nd on Dead Oceans

This record wasn’t supposed to be here. I had thought for a moment Strand of Oaks might be over until a text from my friend, Carl Broemel, changed all that. Unbeknownst to me, four members of My Morning Jacket and Kevin Ratterman booked studio time to record songs I didn’t think I’d ever write. But they believed I could and pulled me back from the brink. At last, the songs came–and quickly morphed into everything I’ve ever worked toward as this band. These ten songs are about existing and continuing on, a testament to the hope that even if we feel like we are disappearing, there is that glimmer of light. You may not come out the same person you started as, but that’s okay. I’m glad this record is here now for whoever chooses to find it. Welcome to Eraserland, where we all can start again. ~tim

 

Harder Love facts: when I was 8 or 9 I made a comic book called “the nuclear warheads”. It was about a punk band (or what I imagined punk to be). It talked about each members instrument/super power, their secret fortress, and the nemesis who was always trying to shut down the concert. That was over 25 years ago and very little has changed. Swap out the band name and replace the ninja guy with a Mohawk lead singer and you arrive at Strand of Oaks. The records I make are my escape into the same safe world that I made those comic books. There was SO much happening in my life during the writing and recording of Hard Love that is wasn’t enough to just have nine songs and be done. Harder Love is yet another transmission from this weird head of mine.

I don’t really have a reason to release this record except for the fact that I want you to hear it.  Isn’t that exciting!? Well that’s why I write these songs, I want to share them.  Harder Love needs to exist because it closes the chapter on 2017 and to be honest I really need that to happen.  As much as I fight it I’m an optimist and always reach for that silver lining.  Harder Love is something I’m extremely proud of and life is way to short for these songs not to be heard.  Thank you and much love – Tim

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Harder Love tracklisting
1. Harder Love
2. Passing Out
3. Cry (Alt Version)
4. On The Hill (Alt Version)
5. Sober
6. Dream Brother
7. Rain Won’t Come
8. Wicked Water
9. Chill Tent
———————-
10. On The Hill (Extended) [Bonus Track, Digital Only]
11. Wanna Get Lost [Bonus Track, Digital Only

Strand Of Oaks’ Timothy Showalter performs a solo version of “Radio Kids” on the Steinway grand piano in the studios of The Current.

Somewhat unexpectedly, Tim Showalter of Strand of Oaks sat down at the piano in The Current studio. “It’s nice to switch it,” Showalter says. “It’s definitely something you need to learn over the course of writing a song; tricks don’t make a song. It still has to have some basis.”

In the Twin Cities for a show at the 7th Street Entry in Minneapolis, Showalter visited The Current studio for a solo-piano session hosted by Mary Lucia. “I’m not a trained pianist by any stretch of the imagination,” Showalter says about playing the songs on piano, “but I think the lyrics take on a whole new meaning.”

Strand of Oaks’s latest album, Hard Love, reflects Showalter’s life view. “I think life is totally capable of being ecstatically joy[ful] and sad at the same time,” he says. “That’s just how I approach loving other people and trying to love myself.”

Showalter says he’s doing his best to live in the present and to be sincere. “One thing I’m really happy about is I don’t have cynicism,” he says. “If I genuinely love something, I sing about it or feel it. … It’s such an important thing to remember as we continue to go through this life: Just because you feel like you’ve experienced a lot doesn’t mean there’s thousands and millions of new firsts you can have.”

Image of Dutch Uncles - Big Balloon

Manchester’s idiosyncratic art-popologists Dutch Uncles return with “Big Balloon”, their new studio album, on 17th February 2017 on Memphis Industries.

Big Balloon is the latest chapter in Dutch Uncles’ brilliantly witty, hip-swiveling, left-field adventures. Taking musical inspiration from Kate Bush’s The Red Shoes, Low-era David Bowie, some slightly-less fashionable records belonging to their Dads and East European techno, it’s the fifth Dutch Uncles studio album and the follow-up to 2015’s acclaimed “O Shudder”.
Functioning as ten distinct pieces, each tackling a different topic, including austerity cuts, therapy, fried chicken, paranoia and coming to terms with loneliness, Big Balloon is Dutch Uncles’ finest album to date, taking listeners on an exhilarating cerebral journey.

Image of Ryan Adams - Prisoner

Mixing the heartfelt angst of a singer/songwriter with the brashness of a garage rocker, Ryan Adams is at once one of the few artists to emerge from the alt-country scene to achieve mainstream commercial success and the one who most strongly refused to be defined by the genre, leaping from one spot to another stylistically while following his increasingly prolific muse.
On new album “Prisoner”, Ryan has said: “I was reflecting on the different states of desire and what it means to be a prisoner of your own desire… I felt like I had been robbed of… the most valuable thing in a person’s life…Time.”

The twelve tracks that make up Prisoner came to Adams over a prolific period stretching back as far as the week his 2014 self-titled album entered the U.S. album chart at a career high of #4. During that run, Adams toured the world, recorded and released both his Live at Carnegie Hall collection and full-album cover of Taylor Swift’s 1989,

Image of Tim Darcy - Saturday Night

‘Saturday Night’, the first proper solo album from Tim Darcy (Ought), comes from one of those crossroads-type moments in life where one has to walk to the edge before knowing which way to proceed. Each track is woven to the next in a winding, complex journey through a charged, continuous present. There are love / love lost songs like the standout, almost-New Wave ‘Still Waking Up’ in which a Smiths-esque melody builds upon an underbrush that recalls 60s AM pop and country.

Darcy’s unmistakable, commanding voice and lyrical phrasing are, as they are in Ought, an instrument here – vital to the entire affair. There’s a line in ‘Tall Glass Of Water’, the album’s Velvet Underground-nodding opening track, where Darcy asks himself a rhetorical question: “if at the end of the river, there is more river, would you dare to swim again?” He barely pauses before the answer: “Yes, surely I will stay, and I am not afraid. I went under once, I’ll go under once again.” That river shows up again and again in the lyrics of ‘Saturday Night’. It’s about how wonderful it can be to feel in touch with that inner current. It’s about how good it feels to make art and how terrifying; how you don’t always get to choose whether you’re swimming or drowning as we grow and move through life, just that you’re going to keep diving in.

Image of The Underground Youth - What Kind Of Dystopian Hellhole Is This?

What Kind Of Dystopian Hellhole Is This? (Released 15/02/17) is the eighth LP from Berlin-via-Manchester based psych/post-punk outfit The Underground Youth, and it’s arguably their most accomplished yet. Perhaps what is most exceptional about The Underground Youth is their ability to create a brooding melting pot of Berlin chillwave, post-punk, folk, goth and shoegaze but delivered with a dreamy pop sensibility. With a huge back-catalogue that’s collectively clocked up several million listens from a dedicated global following, Craig Dyer and co have acquired a cult-like status and have consistently been at the forefront of neo-psychedelia since their inception. The band will be heading out on an extensive 25-date EU tour in support of the new LP

Image of Strand Of Oaks - Hard Love

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.

I’m not sure anyone has ever more seamlessly gone from writing sparse folk songs to Springsteen-esque stadium rock anthems. I’m all-in for it this new album. Strand of Oaks Frontman Tim Showalter parties hard in the new music video for “Rest of It” above. This is a rocking second single from the band’s upcoming album, Hard Love.

Here is the backstory, courtesy of the band’s Facebook page:

“Rest of It” is the song for everyone who wanted to burn the party a little bit longer. Boogie through whatever is getting you down and just suck out every last drop. I’ve spent enough time talking about the “tough” parts of life, this song’s soul purpose is for us all to collectively rage. I spent a weekend freezing my ass off in Chicago, partying with the amazing Weird Life Films crew. However you find this song, just blast it, and I hope it makes you smile. Also, can we just talk about Jason Anderson shredding? That’s the first take people, it’s something to behold! peace – tim

Hard Love is scheduled to be released on February 17th, 2017 on Dead Oceans. Last month, the group shared the LP’s more downtempo first single, “Radio Kids.” check it out elsewhere.

“Rest Of It” from ‘Hard Love’ by Strand of Oaks, out February 17th on Dead Oceans

Following on from the 2014 excellent album “Heal” , Strand of Oaks is set to release a new record “Hard Love” on 17th February 2017 on Dead Oceans. To say we’re fans of Timothy Showalter is an understatement . . Anyway, the new album kicks ass. Have a listen to the first single.

Tim had this to say, “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.”

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 .

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My Morning Jacket released their new album “The Waterfall” earlier this year, and now Timothy Showalter  Aka Strand Of Oaks has been opening for them this fall on their tour in support of the album. Yesterday, before a show in Boston later that day, Timothy Showalter stopped by Philadelphia radio station WXPN to take on MMJ’s “Wonderful (The Way I Feel)” off of 2011’s Circuital. and it’s one of the most tender moments on the album. Showalter highlights the touching aspects of the track by gently strumming his guitar as accompaniment to his sturdy voice. He has to drop it a bit out of Jim James’ range, but it doesn’t make his version any less pretty.

Showalter seems to have connected a bit more with their older material. Over the weekend, Strand of Oaks delivering this acoustic rendition of  “Wonderful (The Way I Feel)”.

 

Strand of Oaks, otherwise known Tim Showalter, performs “Goshen ’97” and “Plymouth” in the Collective Arts Black Box Sessions. He also shared why his recent album “Heal” is his proudest work to date. its his third record, the shimmering, righteously all-caps HEAL, Timothy Showalter is on his own,  as if listening to all his favourite musicians: Jason Molina, Sharon Van Etten and the Smashing Pumpkins. Their songs are anthemic: they’re the best advice he can get his hands on. as long as they’re there. They can come through his headphones or float through the air of his room. One of these artists in particular stays like clean air sifting through fog: Jason Molina, captured in the dark, sludgy tome that is ‘JM’, never leaves Showalter. HEAL, with its big hooks and small apologies, feels like it wants to do the same for someone else one day: it wants to be the record you play when you’re home alone for good.

Timothy Showalter and his band Strand of Oaks came to record a session on the brink of the release of his new album, “HEAL”. There was a particular energy in the air during the shoot, as if we all knew some good things were about to come for these folks. It was the calm before the storm.

Showalter couldn’t have been nicer and more appreciative that we were taking the time out to film these songs. And to be honest, we were more than happy to collaborate with a fellow Philadelphian who happens to be creating some rad music.