Strand Of Oaks – “Passing Out”

On his way to the most recent Strand Of Oaks album Hard Love, there were a few other albums Tim Showalter could have made. And, in fact, he did make an entire different album in late 2015, before scrapping that and decamping to New York in 2016 to re-arrange and re-record some of the key tracks while also adding some new compositions to the mix. That second round resulted in the Hard Love that made it out into the world, but there was a lot of great material that was left behind, too. Now, it looks like Strand Of Oaks fans will get a chance to hear some of those songs.

If you pay attention to the Oaks Instagram, it looked like Showalter’s been teasing something in the past few weeks and, sure enough, it turns out Hard Love will now be followed by a sister release, Harder Love, early next year. Featuring original versions of some Hard Love tracks and a bunch of previously unheard songs, Harder Love will be a limited 12″ release of unmastered demos, accompanied by a digital version with two bonus tracks. It’s an interesting premise: Not quite a b-sides collection yet not quite a completely different album, Harder Love is like an alternate universe version of the album Showalter did release, and seems like it’ll offer the other portion of the story for this chapter in Showalter’s career.

Strand Of Oaks is introducing the collection with one of its standout tracks, “Passing Out.”It’s an appropriate title: As anyone who has spent some time with Showalter can tell you, the man likes to indulge a certain hedonistic rockstar streak now and then. But “Passing Out” is far from the psychedelic blackholes or fire-breathing rock moments on Hard Love. Rather, it’s a reflective, mellow, and bleary track that sounds like a mixture of ’80s indie and early ’90s Creation Records material. Which is to say, if you happened to spend your formative years driving through Showalter’s adopted home state listening to that type of music like I did, “Passing Out” is a familiar and welcome direction for Strand Of Oaks to be exploring, an autumnal meditation perfect for this time of year. Check it out below.

Harder Love tracklist:

01. “Harder Love”
02. “Passing Out”
03. “Cry (Alt Version)”
04. “On The Hill (Alt Version)”
05. “Sober”
06. “Dream Brother”
07. “Rain Won’t Come”
08. “Wicked Water”
09. “Chill Tent”
10. “On The Hill (Extended)” [Bonus Track, Digital Only]
11. “Wanna Get Lost” [Bonus Track, Digital Only]

Harder Love is out 1/19 via Dead Oceans.