Strand Of Oaks – Hard Love {album review)

by Woody on February 17, 2017


As Tim Showalter’s stature in the music world has grown; a steady stream of very interesting pieces are written about him. During the release of HEAL, Steven Hyden did a phenomenal piece on Grantland ; as did Spin. With the success of HEAL and the upcoming release of Dark Love, Stereogum did a piece that left me exhausted. These pieces portray a conflicted version of Tim; a man stuck between a full-fledged rock star and a homebody happy to hang with his wife at home.

And that struggle is at the center of what makes Hard Love such a worthy encore to HEAL. From On The Hill, a track inspired by an acid-induced awakening that changed the direction of this album to the album’s emotional centerpiece – Cry; a piano ballad that sees Tim pouring his heart out; there seems to be an inner struggle on what Tim wants with his life. And it is all out there for you, the listener, to disect.

And then there’s Taking Acid And Talking To My Brother, an eight minute opus dealing a medical emergency his brother suffered in Indiana. As Tim was trying to balance the hedonistic mind-altering life of a rock and roll star with the day to day domestic responsibilities of making a marriage work; his life was turned upside down due to his brother’s ailment. Spending two weeks sleeping in the hospital as his brother lay in a coma was as his press release stated, “represents Showalter’s last-ditch attempt at reconciling his personal life and his impulsions.”

To me, Tim is a larger than life rock ‘n’ roll personality but does he want to be. Sharing that struggle with us in a such a raw manner is what makes his music so special.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Strand of Oaks is here


Molly Burch – Please Be Mine (album review)

by Woody on February 16, 2017


Photo: Dailey Toliver

There are occasions when I become enamored with an artist from the first time I hear them. Thirty seconds into the first track and I’m sending pleading emails to their PR rep asking for the full album. That is precisely what happened with Molly Burch and upon receiving the full album, my enchantment has only heightened.

Molly Burch isn’t reinventing the wheel. Her music is a nice blend of retro pop and Americana. And on every track, Burch’s smoky vocals are lent a helping hand by tasty guitar licks delivered by Dailey Toliver. While not sounding alike, I’m reminded of the dynamic that Heather McEntire and Jenks Miller share in Mount Moriah.

What I love most about her vocals is that for the most part, they seem effortless; but man when she needs to give a track a little more punch, she nails it every time. The second track, Wrong For You, illustrates that perfectly. The title track is another standout in an album full of them. Its a slow burner and after listening to it, it isn’t hard to see why she’s oft-compared to Pasty Cline.

Please Be Mine is hopefully the beginning of a long and fruitful career. Burch will be down at SXSW, hopefully will Toliver in tow. She’s on my can’t miss list.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Molly Burch is here


Sam Outlaw announces Tenderheart 4/14/17

by Woody on February 14, 2017


Photo Credit: Jordan Llanes

Sam Outlaw wowed me one hungover morning during SXSW. I had spent the end of the night prior having my doors blown off by Run The Jewels. It was my 5th day of SXSW, it was raining and my knees were killing me. I walked into the backyard of Lichas in East Austin, ordered a Bloody Mary; having never heard of Sam Outlaw. Over the next thirty minutes, he wowed me over with soulful twang and I subsequently became enamored with his debut Angeleno. Now he’s back with his sophomore effort, Tenderheart out on 4/14/17 via Six Shooter Records. Here’s a little more info from his PR squad.

On ‘Tenderheart,’ Outlaw offers an extraordinary refinement of the artistic identity laid out on ‘Angeleno’. Sonically, the album elaborates on his “SoCal Country” sound: a sun-bleached, Baja-influenced twang that deftly points to country’s neo-traditionalists and LA’s legendary singer-songwriters. Thematically, ‘Tenderheart’ is a thesis on self-discovery and the power of love – from the cinematic mariachi-laced climax on opener “Everyone’s Looking For Home,” to the determined swagger on side-A highlight “Trouble,” to torch song showstopper “Diamond Ring” – Outlaw meditates on his own conflicted quest for peace amidst the chaos of his chosen path.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Sam Outlaw is here


Vaguess announces Guilt Ring 3/3/17

by Woody on February 13, 2017


Vaguess (pronounced Vegas) is fronted by their namesake Vinny Vaguess. And Vinny writes some solid punk where the songs barely last 90 seconds. Based on some of his social media, he’s no fan of Trump so that’s another check in the plus column. Anyway, his album is sophomore effort is coming out on Sinderlyn Records on 3/3/17. Here’s some more info on the upcoming album from his label.

For all those idiots who said that a President Trump would mean better punk rock in this god-forsaken world, then here’s Exhibit A: Guilt Ring, the second helping of acid tongued punk rock smashers from Vaguess (pronounced “Vegas”). Across 14 songs that rarely break the minute and half marker, Vinny Vaguess wields Roky Erickson-esque demonized guitar solos as deftly as his sharp eye for sordid details. On his follow-up to 2015’s compilation The Bodhi Collection, Vinny successfully peels back the sun dappled, “surf’s up” lies of the California tourism board to reveal scenes of domestic discord that would look just right as plot points in Repo Man.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa or @HearYa

Vaguess is not on Twitter but can be found on Facebook


John Andrews & The Yawns announce Bad Posture 3/10/17

February 10, 2017

John Andrews has spent some time playing with Woods, Widowspeak and Kevin Morby as well as band Quilt. I really dig this track below. Its got a very cool sound to it. Kind of like a blend of Woods & Whitney. Anyway, I’m excited to hear some more. The songs were written slowly & quietly [...]

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The Black Angels announce new album, Death Song 4/21/17

February 9, 2017

Photo Credit Alexandra Valenti The Black Angels are back after a four year hiatus and are now part off the acclaimed Partisan Records roster. Death Song will be their debut. It was seven years ago that they visited HearYa HQ. The video Entrance Song still remains one of the favorite videos that we (by we, [...]

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Alyeska announce debut EP, Crush 3/3/17

February 9, 2017

I first stumbled across Alyeska a year ago when I heard their tune Everglow and have been waiting for their debut ever since. While it isn’t the LP I was hoping for, an EP should be enough to tide me over until an LP comes my way. The first tune, Tilt-A-Whirl is great and I’m [...]

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The New Year announce first album in 9 years, Snow 4/28/17

February 9, 2017

The New Year last released an album back in 2008 and at that time, it went completely unnoticed by me. It wasn’t until Matt & Bubba Kadane (half of The New Year) made an album with Will Johnson that I discovered that album and the two albums prior; and their prior band Bedhead. In a [...]

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All Our Exes Live In Texas set to release debut When We Fall on 3/3/17

February 8, 2017

All Our Exes Live In Texas are all-female folk quartet from Sydney that utilize lovely four-piece harmonies to lure you in. Their debut, When We Fall will be out on March 3rd and they’ll be playing some sets down at SXSW. This album is a collection of songs rich with sweet, potent harmonies and lamentations [...]

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Middle Children set to release Earth Angel on 3/3/17

February 7, 2017

Stereogum had this to say about Middle Children and I couldn’t have said it any better, “it mostly sounds like a DIY version of Wilco or the Replacements.” And with that, I can’t wait to hear all of Earth Angel, and take in a set at SXSW. Here’s a little more on the band. The [...]

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