Heal by Strand Of Oaks
The album at #15 is the work of one man, Timothy Showalter, otherwise known as Strand of Oaks. This is his fourth album, the first one he’s recorded for Dead Oceans Records, and the first one that’s hit my radar. This album is first and foremost a rock album. There are so many references to other works, from 70s classics to 90s alternative, it’s difficult to classify this album as any one thing, other than it’s phenomenal.
According to wikipedia, the power found on this album stems from a near-fatal car accident Showalter and his wife endured a year ago Christmas. He was apparently in the studio to record days after the accident, and it’s easy to see how that experience could fuel the creative process.
There are great guitar solos, keyboard licks, quiet interlude and anthemic choruses throughout this album. It’s solid, through and through. Showalter grew up in Indiana, and currently resides in Philadelphia, which may explain the obvious Springsteen and other small-town American rock found within. Give this album a couple of listens. From the very first note, you’ll be hooked, but it’s the ups and downs across the length of the album that really make it what it is.
16. Stay Gold by First Aid Kit
17. This is All Yours by ∆
18. Brill Bruisers by The New Pornographers
19. Only Run by Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
20. Augustines by Augustines
21. El Pintor by Interpol
22. I Never Learn by Lykke Li
23. Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes by Thom Yorke
24. The Voyager by Jenny Lewis
25. Voices by Phantogram
26. Morning Phase by Beck
27. Hungry Ghosts by OK Go
28. Run the Jewels 2 by Run the Jewels
29. Cosmos by Yellow Ostrich
30. Teeth Dreams by The Hold Steady
31. With Light & With Love by Woods