Strand of Oaks were full-hearted and full of laughs as they closed out Wednesday night on the PRX stage. The Philadelphia-based guitar rockers and longtime WXPN favorites opened their hearts for the NonCOMM crowd during a sparkling set consisting mostly of material from their stellar new album Eraserland, which came out in March. Continue reading →
After a year’s absence, the always-anticipated Make The World Better benefit concert will return this summer. The annual concert was started in 2014 by former Eagles linebacker Connor Barwin to combine his love of the local music scene with his dedication to helping Philadelphia’s youth. Even though Barwin’s left the team, his Make The World Better Foundation lives on — and so does the music. Continue reading →
It’s the year 2019 and Tim Showalter is more than a decade into his career as Strand of Oaks. For many modern rock musicians, this is about the time when the creative spark can start to fade. But Showalter’s still just getting started. The Philly-by-way-of-Goshen, Indiana songwriter is known for his emotional, introspective music, but his latest album, Eraserland, just might be his most reflective yet. His latest work touches on themes of depression, love and the perseverance of making it through difficult situations and does so in a no-bullshit kind of way.
Showalter came onstage at Union Transfer Friday night just after 9:30 p.m., stepping through a screen of dry ice and decked out in an enigmatic black jacket and fedora. He and his band opened the show with “Weird Ways,” the same song that kicks off Eraserland. The song, along with the subsequent “Final Fires” was a way for SoA to ease the crowd into a higher energy slew of songs to come, including “Goshen ’97,” “Ruby” and “Plymouth,” the latter of which comes off Showalter’s breakthrough 2015 album, HEAL. Continue reading →
The highlight of the week, hands down, is the hometown album release party for Eraserland, the new masterpiece by Philly’s Strand of Oaks. But that’s not all that’s going on this week; lots of folk, some punk, a side of experimental electronic sounds…here are ten concerts to see in the next seven days, all around Philadelphia. Continue reading →
Last month at SXSW in Austin, Texas, Amplify Philly convened during SXSW Interactive for three days of networking, cheerleading, panels, and partying from members of Philly’s tech, startup, business, music, and cultural communities. The Amplify Philly “house” took over the Pour Choices Bar and Restaurant in Downtown Austin for three days and nights. During the day, the programming featured panels and discussions, and the evenings were filled with some incredible Philly grown talent. Continue reading →
Complicated thinkers make compelling art, and Tim Showalter was never one to look at the world simplistically. Whether it’s the hazy metaphorical view of loss and death in Pope Killdragon or the gutting emotional catharsis of HEAL, the Strand of Oaks frontman has historically excelled at reflecting on the turbulence of his life — and by extension, all of our lives — in an acute, multidimensional manner.
The latest Strand of Oaks record, Eraserland, is out today. It’s Showalter’s sixth release under that banner, it’s a culmination of most styles he’s dabbled in over the past 15 years — the folk introspection of his early years, the atmospheric mysticism of Killdragon and Dark Shores, the bold rock of the HEAL era, the dripping psychedelia of Hard Love — not to mention, as has been much discussed in the album rollout, it was made with some pretty famous friends.
Showalter’s backing band in the studio included most of My Morning Jacket — guitarist Carl Broemel, keyboardist Bo Koster, bassist Tom Blankenship, and drummer Patrick Hallahan — with contributions from Jason Isbell as well. In that regard, the album sounds extraordinary, but for this longtime Oaks listener, the people who worked on Eraserland might be the least interesting element of it. These songs are the most honest, raw, and vulnerable Showalter has ever been in his music. In them, we see a person who is not simply sad, or angry, but hopeless and terrified, confused and at an impasse, unsure of where or whether to go. And throughout the album’s ten songs, he articulates every one of those feelings. Continue reading →
Last month, Strand Of Oaks’ Timothy Showalter took to Twitter shortly after releasing the official music video for “Ruby” saying “this is by far one of the happiest songs I’ve ever written”. And by the grin on his face during much of last nights performance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, it was clear to see the joyous memories come to life.
I’m sure it didn’t hurt having an all-star Americana-Folk group of friends behind him, including Jason Isbell (who is featured on the album), Amanda Shires, and Bo Koster and Tom Blankenship of My Morning Jacket who played a role in the creation of Strand Of Oaks’ forthcoming record Eraserland. Continue reading →
Strand of Oaks‘ frontman Timothy Showalter has released another single off his upcoming album Eraserland this week. The single is called “Key” and is dedicated to his wife, Sue. Showalter says that he has struggled to “properly write” about the love he has for Sue but he endeavors to do just that in this poignant new track.
Following the release of two other singles from the album, “Weird Ways” and “Ruby”, “Keys” is markedly stripped back. It opens with echoing guitar, electric organ, bass, and drums that take a moment to lock into strict time. The whole song feels akin to walking the train tracks or staring out a cab window while contemplating one’s life until this point. Showalter says it best with his lyric: “Then the train pulls up / And there you are / The reason why I write my songs.” “Keys” is a tribute to enduring love, the kind that sticks by you during the tough times and gains perspective through the years. Continue reading →
The annual SXSW festival is right around the corner, and once again the #AmplifyPhilly showcase is setting up shop on 6th Street in downtown Austin to show off some of the best names in Philadelphia music.
Headlining #AmplifyPhilly, which takes place on Monday, March 11th of this year, is Strand of Oaks, who is just ahead of releasing the new Eraserland LP on Dead Oceans Records. Continue reading →