Strand Of Oaks / Eraserland (2LP) (Black Vinyl)
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In December 2017, Tim Showalter was uncertain about his next record and the shape it would eventually take. With no new songs written and lacking any clear vision, he was unprepared for the message he would receive from his friend Carl Broemel, the conversation that would follow, and the album that would become Eraserland. Leading off with standout track âWeird Waysâ and his powerful declaration of âI donât feel it anymore,â Eraserland traces Showalterâs evolution from apprehension to creative awakening, carving out a new and compelling future for Strand of Oaks.
"This project seemed to just fall together naturally,â said Broemel, guitarist for My Morning Jacket. âI felt drawn to Timâs positive energy and his albums...I threw it out there that Iâd be happy to help in any way I could with the record." Broemel quickly reignited Showalter's interest in what would become Strand of Oaksâ sixth full-length studio release, and within 24 hours, My Morning Jacket members Patrick Hallahan (drums), Bo Koster (keys), and Tom Blankenship (bass) were also on board.
Revived by the support of Broemel and his bandmates, Showalter felt the pressure to deliver songs worthy of musicians he had admired long before and after a 2015 Oaks/MMJ tour. So in February 2018, he spent two weeks alone in Wildwood, New Jersey writing and demoing all of the songs that would eventually comprise Eraserland. And in April, he went into the studio to record with Kevin Ratterman at La La Land Studios in Louisville, Kentucky, and with Broemel, Hallahan, Koster, and Blankenship as his band. Jason Isbell also contributed his Hendrix-esque guitar work to Eraserland, while singer/songwriter Emma Ruth Rundle provided gorgeous vocals. Every song was recorded live, with all musicians playing together in one room and working to bring Showalterâs ideas to fruition. âI remember sitting next to Tim and Kevin listening to the final mixes with tears rolling down my cheeks,â said Hallahan. âFrom start to finish, this one came from the heart.â
Each song on Eraserland sustains an openness and sensitivity that is enthralling, bolstered by the exceptional musicians there to realize it and rekindle Showalterâs passion for music-making. The album finds Showalter successfully channeling the full spectrum of sounds within the Strand of Oaks discography, from fast, synthy tracks like âHyperspace Bluesâ to epic burner âVisions, the gorgeous ballad âKeys,â and his devastating acoustic performance on âWild and Willing.â But Eraserland also has moments of pure, upbeat exuberance, most notably on âRuby,â a rollicking, understated anthem driven by buoyant piano and one of Showalterâs most infectious melodies to date. Isbellâs magnificent shredding is showcased on âMoon Landing,â Eraserlandâs preeminent off-the-wall groove, while the albumâs title track finds Showalter resurrecting his long-dormant alter ego Pope Killdragon for a striking, synth-laden duet with Rundle.
ERASERLAND STRAND OF OAKS Black Vinyl 2XLP