Philly’s Strand of Oaks is getting ready to release its latest LP, Eraserland, and the album traces frontman Tim Showalter’s journey from the frustrated lows of a creative rut to the euphoric highs of rediscovering one’s passion for not just making music and art, but also living. Part of that personal journey lies not just in writing new music, but also listening to music.
Shortly after announcing Eraserland earlier this month, Showalter rolled out a project he’s calling Eraserland Radio. It started out as a Spotify playlist collecting the music that sparked life in him as a songwriter — songs by Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit (“Alabama Pines”), Brandi Carlile (“The Story”), Jessica Lea Mayfield (“Too Much Terrible”) and R.E.M. (“Country Feedback”). It’s since grown, via fan submissions on social media, into a 67-song playlist that includes Miles Davis’ “Maiysha (So Long)” alongside Alabama Shakes’ “Gemini,” The Cure’s “Open” next to Slowdive’s “Sugar for the Pill,” and on and on.
We’ve always known Showalter as a massive appreciator and masterful interpreter of songs, from covers of The Stone Roses and Primal Scream to a reinvention of The National to a downbeat take on Beck’s “The Golden Age” recently performed at his Boot and Saddle Winter Classic, but also recorded the first time we met him, during a Folkadelphia / Key session. (Sadly, his “Cosmic Folk” guest DJ set on WXPN is no longer online, but dang, look at that playlist.) For this project, not only do we get to dig deep into his own listening tastes, but those of his listeners. As Tim wrote on Instagram:
One thing that I’m sure of with this life is sometimes I’ll get lost. Sometimes it’s not even as tangible as sadness, it’s a though the gas tank is empty. I’ve created the idea of Eraserland Radio to compile songs that for me provided fuel to make it through those lost times in the past year or so. The tracks I provided were there to pull me back. But that’s just the beginning. Now I want you to submit songs that were your fuel, and I would be honored to include them on this playlist. In time and with your submission I hope to have hours of songs that whenever any of us need that extra push or light we can go to Eraserland to find them.
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