Strand of Oaks releasing a collection of demos called Harder Love in January; listen to "Passing Out" - WXPN | Vinyl At Heart
Strand of Oaks’ Harder Love | via Bandcamp

A good argument for arriving early to Strand of Oaks‘ three-night stand at Boot & Saddle this weekend: main man Tim Showalter will be selling limited edition vinyl copies of Harder Love — yes, you read that correctly, HardER. This is a new collection demos from the 2016 studio sessions for this year’s Hard Love.

The album comes out January 19th on Dead Oceans Records, and is limited to 500 copies. From the label:

Pairing the earliest versions Hard Love tracks with previously-unreleased material (including some songs deemed “too weird” for the official release), Harder Love feels like Hard Love in an alternate dimension. A whole lot stranger and even more raw, it’s like the tripped out, spiritual brother to its predecessor.

In the winter of 2016, Showalter spent a week recording with Ben Vehorn at Tangerine Studios in Akron, Ohio, the two having previously collaborated on Pope Killdragon (2010) and HEAL (2014). A few of the songs captured during that initial studio session went on to be rerecorded, but much of Harder Love is hazy, unknown territory, offering additional perspective on Showalter’s Hard Love vision, as well as exciting new material to add to the Strand of Oaks discography. “These songs are me unedited…I just want people to have them. I’m sick of overthinking and talking too much about the process and the narrative.”

And it’s Showalter’s desire for a wholly unfiltered approach that defines Harder Love, a listening experience that often feels like scrolling through the FM dial, not quite getting the station, and listening through the static anyway.

We are definitely into that, here in XPN-land. You can read the full Oaks / Oceans bio on the album here, and give a listen to the new song “Passing Out” below. Amid shimmering guitars and an uplifting yet world-weary melody, it finds Showalter hovering in space over the work of his gig-mate Ryan Adams and their mutual inspiration, Paul Westerberg. Check out out, and nab some of the few remaining tickets to Strand of Oaks’ December 10th Boot and Saddle show via the XPN Concert Calendar; Friday and Saturday are sold out.

Harder Love tracklist
1. Harder Love
2. Passing Out
3. Cry (Alt Version)
4. On the Hill (Alt Version)
5. Sober
6. Dream Brother
7. Rain Won’t Come
8. Wicked Water
9. Chill Tent
10. On the Hill (Extended) [Bonus Track]
11. Wanna Get Lost (Bonus Track)

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