From The Desk Of Strand Of Oaks: Sharon Van Etten’s “Are We There”

Tim Showalter’s hellishly abrupt near-demise late last year via a car accident was hardly the sole inspiration for Strand Of Oaks’ disarming new release. There was plenty of real-life drama before the accident to form the angst-ridden basis for what is easily Showalter’s most cathartic musical statement to date. Really, it was the culmination of a series of mini-mental breakdowns that began quite out of the blue, when Showalter was touring overseas for 2012’s Dark Shores, an album he wasn’t particularly proud of. On the road nonstop for two years, he was witnessing his marriage unravel from afar, and pretty much hating what he saw in the mirror. Emotionally spent and creatively unbound, he churned out 30 songs in three weeks. Ten of those made HEAL, an LP as off-putting as it is invigorating, and one that abandons the folky trappings of previous Strand Of Oaks releases—perhaps for good. Showalter will be guest editing all week. Read our new feature on him.

Showalter: No description needed. My favorite record.