Pinegrove | Artist to Know
It's common to hear stories of people recalling memories of hearing Kurt Cobain or Bob Dylan for the first time with a specific description. Typically, artists like these connect with listeners because they sing about issues and emotions common among their peers but rarely heard in song. Pinegrove's 2016 album Cardinal may not be lyrically as heavy as those previously mentioned, but it achieves that type of connection for us, and is saturated with an out-of-left-field blend of alt-country and math rock that is too damn good to ignore.
Friendship can be difficult to navigate, especially as a 20-something having to nurture aging relationships for the first time. Cardinal is bookended by songs navigating that very path. "Old Friends" starts the album, and is a fine example of frontman, Even Stephen Hall's, uniquely gripping vocal and conversational writing style.
"I should call my parents when I think of them / I should tell my friends when I love them / maybe I should've got out a bit more / when you guys where still in town / but I got too caught up in my own shit / that's how every outcome's such a comedown."
The ability to call out your "own shit" makes Hall's writing feel like he's 35 (spoiler: he's not), and somehow able to look back on what most of us would like to ignore: our fuck ups.
Pinegrove's music feels like it's filling a void millennials have been unconsciously dying for. Hall's writing about the universal struggles of maturing, from recognizing mistakes to losing friends, combined with the albums' feel-good rock, results in a band subtly moving parts of the listener. Later, you realize those shifted parts are nostalgia and yesterday's phone call with your dad, slightly turned and seen in a new light.
The album ends with the finely-tuned, spunky rock song, "New Friends". Which starts with what seems like could have been a quoted inner dialogue, dealing with the realities of growing up and friends moving away.
"Is there anyone here I know / I look around the room, whatever, I let it go / Steve's in Germany / That's it / I try to think of anyone else no, yea that's it / So I resolve to make new friends / I like my old ones but I fucked up so I'll start again."
Hall's ability to sing a song as if he's singing it for the first time, as well as his craftsmanship of writing songs that fall somewhere between the dark confessional process of emo music and the sometimes too playful punk of the 2000's, resonates like your grade school crush.
We're suggesting you buy as much of their music as possible, see them in person, and interact with them on Twitter (they are very active). But here are some more of our favorites from a band we truly hope the best for.
Toast (possibly the best "funny" song we've ever heard)
@pinegroveband - Twitter