There’s simply no better way to celebrate America than with a special edition of the Indie Rock Hit Parade! Tune in to XPN tonight at 10pm as we head back into the studio and revisit favorite selections from our assortment of Indie Rock Hit Parade Live Sessions! We’ll hear exclusive performances from newcomers like Cub Sport and Dresses, as well as established folks like Woods and Eternal Summers!
It should be mentioned that all of our IRHP Sessions are available for download. Right HERE, in fact!
For your ongoing enjoyment, here’s a Spotify playlist of last week’s ‘Compact’ show, featuring Strand Of Oaks, The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart and Ought!
See you tonight at 10pm for a very special Indie Rock Hit Parade on XPN!
Following a stellar performance at WXPN’s Free at Noon this past Friday, Strand Of Oaks frontman Tim Showalter has apparently ventured across the pond to Europe, where he performed an acoustic version of “Woke Up To The Light” upon his visit to the Berlin Wall. Check out this chilled-out performance by the Philadelphia musician, whose bands’ popularity is increasing by the day, below. Also, be sure to pick up tickets for when Strand Of Oaks comes back to Philly at Boot & Saddle September 19th. Ticket information can be found here.
As it does each final Friday, the Indie Rock Hit Parade gets condensed down to a one-hour ‘Compact’ edition tonight at 11pm on XPN! Stay tuned after Land Of The Lost with Robert Drake for a concentrated dose of new music and a few old favorites, too. We’ll spotlight the new album from Philly’s own Strand Of Oaks, and here a few of these fine selections in the mix as well:
WXPN’s XPoNential Music Festival is just one month away. And I’m sure by now you’re familiar with who’s playing this year: we have amazing artists like Beck, Ingrid Michaelson, The Hold Steady, Dawes, Ryan Adams, Jenny Lewis, The Districts, Rodrigo y Gabriela and more on the bill.
What you don’t already know is the daily lineup schedule – and we’ve heard a lot of you asking when it would be released. This morning, we’ll answer your questions, because it’s right here.
Also, we’re happy to announce a new addition to the lineup: XPN Artist to Watch Strand Of Oaks. The Philly quartet rocked hard at this year’s Non-Comm Festival, and impressed us so much with the brand new album HEAL (released this past Tuesday on Dead Oceans), that we decided to add them to #XPNFest, upping the rock and roll quotient. Here’s a very fun interview The Key’s Elliott Sharp did with Strand Of Oaks front man Tim Showalter the day the record came out: don’t forget to see them this Friday afternoon for a Free At Noon Performance too.
Speaking of things that are awesome, we’ve collected some videos of past XPoNential Festival performances to get you psyched for a great weekend of live music on the Camden waterfront a month from now. Check them out after the jump. Go here to XPN’s Youtube channel to watch more videos from past #XPNfest’s.
Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros performing “Janglin” last year:
Here’s “4 & 4″ by The Districts:
The Lumineers playing “Flowers in Your Hair” and “Hey Ho” from our 2012 event:
A couple weeks ago, Strand Of Oaks’ Tim Showalter had just returned from a European press tour. “I’m just hanging out, cleaning the house,” he said, speaking on the phone from his home, in the Mount Airy section of Philadelphia. “It’s rock ‘n’ roll Tuesday! Or, wait, it’s Wednesday. Shit. Sorry.”
“I didn’t sleep for like four days,” he confessed, attempting to justify not knowing what day it was. “I didn’t have to play shows while I was over there, I just had to talk to people, so I figured I’d just stay up and party, and rage it out. I think I had a mixture of lack of sleep and alcohol psychosis. I was having a hard time deciphering between dreams and reality. Was I dreaming or in the park? I didn’t know. But you gotta do that sometime… it keeps the beast alive.”
Showalter’s beast, Strand Of Oaks, is alive and well. He was overseas promoting his new album, Heal, out today via Dead Oceans. Unlike previous albums Dark Shores and Pope Killdragon, Showalter abandons metaphors and sci-fi concepts on Heal, where he sings about pain and love and the joys of being lonely in a no-frills kinda way. The new album’s noticeably heavier — more rocking — too, and Dinosaur Jr’s J. Mascis even drops in to rip a solo on early single “Goshen ’97.”
This Friday, Strand Of Oaks will play a WXPN Free At Noon show. In the meantime, here’s an interview with Showalter as part of a new column, “Clocked In,” which focuses on the past and present work experiences of Philadelphia-area musicians. Before he became Strand Of Oaks, Showalter held various jobs, from Kroger bag boy to second grade teacher. He told us all about them.
What was your first paid job?
Well, I always worked for my grandpa, doing construction jobs. But my first paid job was at a Kroger grocery store, in Indiana. I was part of a union. It was real. I was paying union dues at 15 for a bagging job. I was fantastic at it. I’m not very good at a lot of things, but if it’s ordered, and I have an exact purpose, I love it. And I loved making efficient bags for the ladies.
I actually quit this job; this doesn’t sound true, but it’s true. It was summer, in Indiana, and there was a tornado warning. The sky was turning yellow and pink and that’s a sign you need to get underground immediately. The tornado was there! So I had this mean old woman that was my boss, and she told me to go get the shopping carts in the parking lot so they wouldn’t blow away. I was thinking, “Fuck you, Cheryl! I quit! I’m not going out there to get the carts!” I definitely quit that job on account of a tornado almost killing me. We all went to hide in the freezer, and after that, I just rode my bike home and that was it.
Have you ever been fired from a job?
Nope. I’ve never been fired. I like working, so I always try to do a really good job no matter where I work. I quit a job after one day once. I was on a roofing crew, when I was 17, working with all these 30-year-old coke-heads. I was there for like six hours and they were just the craziest, meanest guys I’ve ever met. I was out in the sun, not getting paid much, and lifting plywood on a roof. They were doing bumps by their trucks, and I was like, “Nope, I’m not doing this, this is not what I want to do.”
That sounds like a bad scene. What sort of construction work were you doing with your grandpa?
One of my best summers ever was when my grandpa and me built a seven-stall storage garage, which took most of that summer. He was a farmer, and a typical midwest kind of guy. One day we had to put the trusses up on this garage, which were like 14 feet, to support the roof. We had to put up 7 or 8 of these, and my grandpa was like, “Make sure these are all put up when I get back in a few hours.” I didn’t know what to do at first, but I eventually rigged up a wench system with a Ferguson tractor, and I found a way to stabilize them and nail them in. That’s how I got my grandpa’s respect. I had to put up 14-foot trusses.
Was he impressed?
He was super-impressed. He let me take one extra water break that day. You’d think working with your grandpa would be this easy experience, but it wasn’t. It was 14 hour days, and we’d start working at about 5:30 a.m., to beat the sun. I would work all the time, so I’d work with my grandpa in the morning, and a lot of summers I had two jobs. I’d do construction all day, and then when I was 16 or 17, I worked at this place called Hollywood Connections. I was in charge of the snack area, and I had no idea how to make the snacks. I got no training, and I had no idea how to use the cash register. I worked there for two months and I had no idea how to do the job.
What sort of snacks?
There was a little pizza grill, and nachos, and things like that. I kinda learned how to make the pizza, but I’d tell people I’d make them this super-pizza and just put everything I could find on it. I didn’t know what I was doing! I had just finished working out in the sun with my grandpa for 8 hours and I was exhausted. It was a good way to meet girls, though. That part was fun.
Preparing people’s food incorrectly is bad. I used to make salads and desserts at this fancy restaurant in Virginia, and I once burnt salt on top of a crème brule instead of sugar. I didn’t notice, sent the dish out, and the customers were upset about it.
Oh, man. Luckily, I never worked in food. That job was the closest, but it doesn’t really count. I never worked in restaurants or learned how to use a cash register. I did all manual labor through high school, then in college… well, first, my dad had a car dealership. That was my favorite job ever. I would wash cars for my dad and do minor detail work, like fix bumpers. People there called me an “aqua technician.” It was so fun. I never got to hang with my dad because he worked 70 hours a week, and this job was great because we got to hang in the office, like two men rather than as father and son.
I’d sit in the back of the dealership and play my stereo really loud and wash and detail cars. One day, this dude showed up; I think he was friends with my dad or uncle. His name was Pete, and he had this huge collection of antique cars. He asked me to wash them and do full details. He said the only rule was the I had to drive them around. So, one summer, when I had just got my license, I was driving around in a ’69 Corvette to the movies, with girls. I drove a ’53 Cadillac, a ’71 Camaro. I’ve toured the world as a musician, but if I could just go back to Indiana and cruise around in the summer, in a white ’71 Camaro… I’ve never had more fun.
The latest #CoverClub session is Our Griffins‘ take on “Last to Swim” by Strand of Oaks. Guitarist Alex Luquet told Root Down in the Shadow that he first saw Strand of Oaks two years ago at Union Transfer and has been a fan ever since.
Brown’s low raspy monitor builds subtly yet beautifully with the rhythm of the song. Our Griffins actually played the cover live a few weeks ago when they opened for Kishi Bashi at TLA. Make sure you catch them this Friday, June 27th at Bourban & Branch along with Former Belle, Maitland and Jeremiah Tall (tickets and info here); and make sure you catch Our Griffins at the XPoNential Music Festival later this month.
Strand of Oaks is having an exciting few months. Their new album HEAL, out today, is garnering enthusiastic coverage from NPR Music and Spin, and they perform for our Free at Noon Concert this Friday. Check out the “Last to Swim” cover below