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Strand of Oaks

New Video: "JM" (Live) - Strand of Oaks

Strand of Oaks, a.k.a. Timothy Showalter, recorded a few songs with Out of Town Films before the release of his latest LP HEAL. Below is the first tasting of the session with one of the album's standouts "JM," which was taped at Berks Warehouse. Also, backing Showalter, you'll find a cast of talented local fixtures in the Philly music community - Mike Sneeringer (ex-Purling Hiss, ex-The Loved Ones) on drums, Eliza Jones (Buried Beds) on keys, and Deven Craige (Little Big League) on bass. The group is currently in the middle of a massive tour, and will be back in town on Friday, September 19 and Saturday, September 20 at The Boot & Saddle for two sold-out shows.


New Music Video: "Same Emotions" - Strand of Oaks

Vampires taking out some cokehead bros at a dive bar is the subject of Strand of Oaks' new music video for "Same Emotions," off his latest LP HEAL. We have to say that we support this occurrence happening more often than not. Oaks will be getting wicked in Philly on Friday, September 19 and Saturday, September 20 when he performs at back-to-back sold-out shows at The Boot & Saddle with Chris Denny.


Weekend Warrior, July 25 - 27

XPN hosts its 10th Annual XPoNential Music Festival at Wiggins Park along the Camden Waterfront (and the neighboring Susquehanna Bank Center for some of the larger headliners). And as usual, its set to feature the widespread mix of bigger name alt-indie bands, roots-rock/Americana artists, and up-and-coming local artists. The big players for this year include Beck, Ryan Adams, Band of Horses, Jenny Lewis, and Dawes. But the event will be rounded out by a ton of local heroes, including The Districts, who will be saying farewell to their friend and guitarist Mark Larson as he gets ready to start his collegiate life. Larson will passing the reins to Pat Cassidy (of Keepers). Philly favorites Man Man will bring their quirky theatrics and high-energy percussion with synth-laden melodies to the Marina Stage on Sunday. Timothy Showalter, a.k.a. Strand of Oaks, will captivate the audience with his melodic folk tunes that resonate from his latest LP, HEAL, on Saturday. Doylestown-based indie heartthrobs Commonwealth Choir will get the crowd moving with tracks from their self-produced debut EP Shirtless, and The Lawsuits will be making their American Diamond Recordings family proud on Sunday with the rest of this annual 3-day festival will featuring acts like Rodrigo y Gabriela, The Hold Steady, Ingrid Michaelson, Lucius, and more. XPoNential Music Festival, Mickle Blvd., 8pm, $30 - $125, 21+ - Bill McThrill
Other places to escape the chill this weekend…
Johnny Brenda’s (1201 N. Frankford Ave.) FRI Johnny Popcorn, Iron, SUN A Sunny Day in Glasgow, Pattern is Movement, Myrrias
The Boot & Saddle (1131 S. Broad St.) FRI Chris Forsyth & The Solar Motel, I IM EYE MY SAT Harsh Vibes, The Love Club, SUN (Early/Late) Marietta
Bourbon and Branch (705 N. 2nd St.) FRI Circadian Rhythms, Laser Background SAT Somewhere South, Man Illuminated SUN Cassavetes, Callowhill
Kung Fu Necktie (1250 N. Front St.) FRI Roof Doctor, Mitch Esparza, Widow Maker Social Club, SAT The Dirty Cut/This is Hardcore & A389 Recordings present: Full of Hell, Castle Freak, SUN My Son Bison/ Cannons, Left & Right, Drugstore
Union Transfer (1026 Spring Garden St.) FRI Noah Breakfast
Underground Arts (1200 Callowhill St.) FRI The Striptease Orchestra SAT William Way’s INDIGOGO: Queer Funhouse & Dance Extravaganza
The Trocadero (1003 Arch St.) FRI (Balcony) SugeMasaya (Ceilingfans, Mixtape Release), SAT (Balcony) Voletta, Kali Ma
TLA (334 South St.)  FRI Kur, Deek, Young Chris, Quilly Mills, SAT Romeo Delight (Van Hale Tribute), The Ozzman Cometh (Ozzy Tribute)
Electric Factory  FRI This Is Hardcore: Turmoil, All  Else Failed, Timebomb This is Hardcore: Title Fight, Blacklisted/(Revel Ovation Hall) Christina Perri, SAT This is Hardcore: Wisdom in Chains, Full of Hell, SUN This is Hardcore: Bad Luck 13, Riot Extravaganza
World Café Live (3025 Walnut St.) FRI Soulidified Presents: LVRGRL: Paying Homage to Teena Marie Kriss Mincey, SAT (Upstairs) Carfax Abbey, Torsion SUN (Upstairs) Barakka
The Mann Center (5201 Parkside Ave.) FRI Kurt Vile & The Violators
The Barbary (951 N. Frankford Ave.) SUN Satellite Hearts
The Fire (412 W. Girard Ave.)  FRI Ruder Than You, Trouble in Tokyo, Lovecartel, SAT YDi, Decontrol, Spectrum Disorder, Thee Nosebleeds, SUN Vilebred, Mat Burke
MilkBoy Philly (1100 Chestnut St.) SAT Welters, NARK, Jantones
Ortlieb’s Lounge (847 N. 3rd St.) FRI New Sound Brass, SAT Toy Cannons
North Star Bar (2639 Poplar St.) FRI Explosive Head
Silk City (435 Spring Garden St.)  SUN Chris Vance, Voss, Selina Carrera, I Know Brasco, Jeide Prince
Tin Angel (20 S. 2nd St.) FRI Tanya Limosnero, John Swana, Craig Ebner
Fergie’s (1214 Sansom St.)  SAT Hambone Relay
The Legendary Dobbs (304 South St.) FRI Seeing Snakes, The Riverside Odds/BlackRue, Scars of Bourbon, SAT Cyanide Saints, Spur Gang/Mesmeria, Rebels Been Rebels Sun Smacking Madison
Connie’s Ric Rac (1132 S. 9th St.) FRI Bosom Band, Sucker/Eric Madman
Voltage Lounge (421 N. 7th St.) FRI This Is Hardcore: Thunder & Glory, SAT This Is Hardcore Fest: Latex, Mischief Brew
Philadelphia Record Exchange (1524 Frankford Ave.) SAT Amanda X (Record Release)
Creep Records (1050 N. Hancock St., Suite 76) SAT Ma Jolie, Awkward Talking
Teri’s (1126 S. 9th St.) SUN Cute Girl From English
Half Moon Lounge (4228 Lancaster Ave.) SUN Future Primitive, Toska
The Grape Room (105 Grape St) FRI American Dinosaur, Hopscotch Jefferson, Overcoming Gravity, Young Pilgrims, Saver, SAT Science the Rat, the Lift & the Drag: A Tribute to Stagazer Lily w/Mia Johnson
Ardmore Music Hall (23 E. Lancaster Ave., Ardmore, PA) FRI West Philly Orchestra, SAT Splintered Sunlight
Morgan’s Pier (221 N. Columbus Boulevard) FRI Luke Goodman, SAT Dave Tidey, SUN Polido Social Club, Dave Tidey
LAVA Space (Please contact one of the acts or venue for more info.) FRI The Mighty Paradocs, Upholstery, Mermaid Parade, Revolution, I Love You
Golden Tea House (Please contact one of the acts or venue for more info.) FRI Japanese Breakfast, SAT Christopher Walking
Dagger House (Please contact one of the acts or venue for more info.) This Is Hardcore After-show: Congenital Death, Constraint
Wolf Cycles (Please contact one of the acts or venue for more info.) FRI Hound, Bad Energy
Mount Misery (Please contact one of the acts or venue for more info.) SAT (Last Show at Venue) Mumblr, Snoozer

New Video: "Woke Up To The Light" (Live - Acoustic) - Strand of Oaks

Strand of Oaks, a.k.a. Timothy Showalter, made a stop at what is left of the Berlin Wall when he was on tour in Germany. Below is a touching, acoustic performance of "Woke Up To The Light," which was recorded by HNDGMCHT. Showalter is currently on a massive tour for the rest of the summer that will be wrapping up on September 19 at The Boot & Saddle; however, he'll only be home for about a week before he heads out on the road gain in Europe.


Record Review: HEAL - Strand of Oaks

When Strand of Oaks’ new album, HEAL, was conceptualized, it probably sounded like an unremarkable trainwreck. I could see Tim Showalter in a room saying, “It’ll be like really mellow folk-punk, and also, we’re gonna put some ambient synth and heavy metal guitar riffs in there too.” The only reason you wouldn’t roll your eyes is that Tim Showalter has the look of a Viking warrior. However, what should be a seven-car pileup is one of the most exhilarating, soulful, and unique experimentations within the songwriter genre to come along in a good while.

HEAL simply grabs influences from far too many genres to be put in a box. It transitions between aesthetic styles with a deliberate pacing, opening with “Goshen ’97,” as something akin to early The Heavy, gradually bringing in synths to become more and more comparable to Depeche Mode, and by the time the songs “For Me” and “Wait For Love” come around, sounding more like the lovechild between Cold War Kids and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Each song is so radically different that the only thing keeping them identifiable as the same project (or even the same artist) is a rock solid aesthetic and thematic coherence; it’s a record with something to say, and while finding an overwhelming variety of ways to do so, doesn’t go off message for even a second.

The track “JM” is what really exemplifies everything that works about this album; it’s where HEAL goes from simply shifting between different styles to sublimely merging them into a single sound. The song combines furious (yet carefully layered) guitar riffs, melancholy piano, and vocals with a hushed intensity over hooks that concisely capture the bittersweet nostalgia of backwater suburbia. It’s the album’s zenith, a near-perfect balance of head rocking indulgence and sorrowful meditation, tapping into and honoring his fallen songwriting hero, Jason Molina.

And what really should be recognized is that this album is the result of a lot of experimentation and a fair share of failure, coming off 2012’s admittedly subpar Dark Shores, which missteps may fall more heavily on the the shoulders of the album’s producer John Vanderslice. Yet that tonally messy album was really just Showalter coming out of his melancholy comfort zone and realizing the need to trust his own instincts. The result is his latest offering that’s able to make sorrow and existential dread exhilarating and a musical style that’s utterly unique while still feeling completely organic. At its worst, it’s pleasantly reminiscent of other artists and styles, and at its best, it’s blending them together in a way that one could hardly imagine possible. - Daniel Ludwig


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