Sunday, December 28, 2014

Strand of Oaks - Heal

Heal should be Timothy Showalter's coming out party.  Not that the main man of Strand of Oaks is the kind of guy to be a debutant.  But the manner in which he takes the alienation, anger, rebellion and insecurities of his Hoosier adolescence, and leavens it with a growing maturity and the experience of a nearly deadly car crash in December 2013 transcends his previous work and stands in select company when considering American rock albums released in 2014.  By addressing and weaving the strands of where he was and where he is today, Showalter has crafted vivid pictures of life, complete with anger, confusion, understanding and acceptance.  And if the emotions seem contradictory, consider that for most of us, such contradictions describe life as we know it.

Of course, some songs will work better for you than others.  But the entire set is strong, and there is a reason that several of the top DJs at influential KEXP included Heal among their top ten albums of the year.  If you hear what I hear, you'll note influences such as Built to Spill, and Neil Young.  I've included a few of my favorites below, including "JM", in which Showalter discusses the importance of Jason Molina's music to his life.  Heal is out now on the Dead Oceans label.

Dead Oceans

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