Strand of Oaks' "Shut In" is one of my favorite songs in a long time, and the album it comes from, the yearning, astonishing HEAL is one of the most wrenching (and best) albums of the year. Basically, I'm hear to tell you that Strand of Oaks—the recording alter ego of Timothy Showalter—is really, really great. I wrote about him in 2011, and you'll be able to read more about him in next week's Mercury.

That's because Strand of Oaks are returning to Portland in support of HEAL, playing the Doug Fir this coming Thursday, August 28. And we're giving away a pair of tickets to the show! Don't be a shut in—head on over to End Hits and win!