A self-proclaimed “life long lover of all things synth,” Philly-based Strand of Oaks‘ Tim Showalter and bandmate Chris Ward (also of Pattern is Movement) helped The Tallest Man on Earth re-imagine the title track to his 2012 LP There’s No Leaving Now for Moog Sound Lab. The two projects were on tour together last summer, with Showalter supporting his own 2012 release Dark Shores. With a plethora of Moog gear at their disposable, the collaborators turn the pensive, piano-based song into a warpy, chillwave stunner. Watch the video below and check-out the list of Moog equipment they employed here.
Strand Of Oaks
When Strand of Oaks‘ Tim Showalter began writing his last album 2012′s Dark Shores, it was noticeably different from the album that was released. He wanted it bathed in moody old synthesizer tones, all contemplative and eerie and maybe a little goth. The sonic direction of the record changed when Showalter got in the studio with producer John Vanderslice – and the results were certainly stellar in their own way – but we’re psyched to hear that the soundscapey early takes on the songs have seen the light of day in Darker Shores, Oaks’ latest EP released to iTunes today. Says Showalter:
Darker Shores is a true sonic journey that my producer Ben Vehorn and I took together. Jumping even further into my love of vintage synthesizers and soundscapes, we mined the epic potential of each song. This is not meant to replace Dark Shores, but rather enhance the overall experience. If you’ve ever seen a Strand of Oaks live show, you know that I’m continually changing and evolving the songs. That same philosophy applies to these songs. Releasing Darker Shores is a source of great personal healing and renewal.
XPN welcomes Strand of Oaks to Johnny Brenda’s tonight for his first headlining Philadelphia show. The stage name of local bearded guy Tim Showalter, Strand of Oaks is a vehicle for storytelling and yarn-spinning that has taken Showalter through the darker days of his life and into the better-lit year of 2012; this year saw the release of Strand of Oaks’ third full-length Dark Shores and a tour with Swedish one-man-show The Tallest Man on Earth. Also playing tonight are local acts Buried Beds and Little Big League. Tickets and information for the 21+ show are available here. Below, watch a live video of Showalter and band performing the title track from Dark Shores.
Though it was officially released in July, local folk-rock outfit Strand of Oaks‘ latest LP Dark Shores was primed and pressed on vinyl and is now available for purchase in the physical form. From band leader Tim Showalter:
Dark Shores is now available on VINYL! We have a limited pressing of beautiful colored blue vinyl (http://bit.ly/RJ6K0w). These will go fast. Black vinyl available here: http://bit.ly/VEiXrQ We recorded Dark Shores without any computers so this record is just begging to be on vinyl. Thank you in advance for your support can’t wait for you to hear this!
Order your copy of the album at the links above through Ten Atoms and stream the title track below. XPN welcomes Strand of Oaks to Johnny Brenda’s on December 15th for their first Philly headlining show. Buried Beds and Little Big League open. Tickets and information are available here.
Long Distance Salvation – A Tribute Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska is being released on September 20th. 100% of the proceeds will go to Project Bread, dedicated to alleviating, preventing, and ultimately ending hunger in Massachusetts. The album features an incredible group of musicians including David Wax, Trampled By Turtles, Joe Pug, The Wooden Sky, Joe Purdy and Garrison Starr, Roadside Graves, Spirit Family Reunion and others (see full tracklist below). The album is available to pre-order digitally and on vinyl here. Among the artists featured are Philadelphia’s own Strand of Oaks with a haunting rendition of “Used Cars,” and sometimes-Philadelphian Adam Arcuragi with “Reason to Believe.” The release of the tribute also commemorates the 30th anniversary of the release of Springsteen’s Nebraska, originally released on September 30th, 1982.
This is not the first time Nebraska has been given the cover treatment. In 2000 Sub Pop released Badlands – a Tribute To Bruce Sprinsgteen’s Nebraska with contributions from Chrissie Hynde, Los Lobos, Dar Williams, Johnny Cash, Son Volt, Ben Harper and others. Over the 30 years since its release, Nebraska has proved to be one of Springsteen’s most enduring and important albums. It’s a triumph of the singer-songwriter genre that has stood the test of time. Steven Pond, who reviewed it for Rolling Stone when the album was released put it’s importance eloquently:
After ten years of forging his own brand of fiery, expansive rock & roll, Bruce Springsteen has decided that some stories are best told by one man, one guitar. Flying in the face of a sagging record industry with an intensely personal project that could easily alienate radio, rock’s gutsiest mainstream performer has dramatically reclaimed his right to make the records he wants to make, and damn the consequences. This is the bravest of Springsteen’s six records; it’s also his most startling, direct and chilling. And if it’s a risky move commercially, Nebraska is also a tactical masterstroke, an inspired way out of the high-stakes rock & roll game that requires each new record to be bigger and grander than the last.
Until now, it looked as if 1973′s dizzying The Wild, the Innocent & the E Street Shuffle would be the last Springsteen album to surprise people. Ensuing records simply refined, expanded and deepened his artistry. But Nebraska comes as a shock, a violent, acid-etched portrait of a wounded America that fuels its machinery by consuming its people’s dreams. It is a portrait painted with old tools: a few acoustic guitars, a four-track cassette deck, a vocabulary derived from the plain-spoken folk music of Woody Guthrie and the dark hillbilly laments of Hank Williams. The style is steadfastly, defiantly out-of-date, the singing flat and honest, the music stark, deliberate and unadorned.
Nebraska is an acoustic triumph, a basic folk album on which Springsteen has stripped his art down to the core. It’s as harrowing as Darkness on the Edge of Town, but more measured. Every small touch speaks volumes: the delicacy of the acoustic guitars, the blurred sting of the electric guitars, the spare, grim images. He’s now telling simple stories in the language of a deferential common man, peppering his sentences with “sir’s.
Long Distance Salvation – A Tribute Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska captures the heart, the soul and intent of the original album. From the hopped up bluegrass throw down version of “Open All Night” by Trampled By Turtles and the gorgeous duet between Garrison Starr and Joe Purdy on “Mansion On The Hill,” to the bluesy swing of Spirit Family Reunion’s version of “Johnny 99,” each musician puts their own stamp on the songs; it’s a testament to the timeless quality and strength of Springsteen’s songwriting and the talents of all the contributors on this excellent collection. Below, stream Stand Of Oaks’ version of “Used Cars.”
1. The Wooden Sky – Nebraska
2. Juniper Tar – Atlantic City
3. Joe Purdy & Garrison Starr – Mansion On The Hill
4. Spirit Family Reunion – Johnny 99
5. Joe Pug – Highway Patrolman
6. Jonah Tolchin – State Trooper
7. Strand of Oaks – Used Cars
8. Trampled By Turtles – Open All Night
9. David Wax – My Father’s House
10. Adam Arcuragi – Reason To Believe
11. Kingsley Flood – Bonus: Shut Out The Light
12. Kyle Morton (Typhoon) & Danielle Sullivan (Wild Ones) – Bonus: Atlantic City
13. Joe Fletcher – Bonus: Pink Cadillac
14. Roadside Graves – Bonus: Downbound Train
With next month comes the release of Long Distance Salvation: A Tribute to Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska, an impressive collection of new folk and Americana artists putting their spin on the landmark 1981 album. The album is due out in digital and vinyl format on Sept. 20, with 100% of the proceeds benefiting hunger charity Project Bread. Among the artists featured are Philadelphia’s own Strand of Oaks with a haunting rendition of “Used Cars,” and sometimes-Philadelphian Adam Arcuragi with “Reason to Believe.” The set opens with a rendition of the title track by Canadian band The Wooden Sky, who played an excellent set at Philadelphia Folk Fest earlier this month. Below, listen to their take on “Nebraska,” watch a video of Oaks’ Tim Showalter covering “Used Cars” for a Hear Ya Live Session, and see the entire tracklist. Continue reading
Not only is it exciting to hear that Strand of Oaks is headlining a show in Philadelphia for the first time – December 15 at Johnny Brenda’s – the killer lineup just cannot be denied. Opening acts include Buried Beds (whose singer, Eliza Hardy-Jones, collaborated with Strand of Oaks on the Shaking Through track “Spacestations”) and Little Big League (whose bassist, Deven Craige, is a sometimes-member of Oaks). The coolest thing of all, for us, is that all of these bands have been in our studio at one time or another; it’s a lineup of Key Studio Sessions alums! Download Strand of Oaks’ cover of “Wolves” by Phosphorescent and Little Big League’s “Saint John’s” below, and watch the Buried Beds Key Studio Session video.