Pinegrove — Cardinal (June 12th, 2016) • We’re offering Cardinal and the rest of our catalogue up for ‘pay what you want’ & donating all the proceeds to Planned Parenthood. Please give what you can.
Location: Montclair, N.J., U.S.
Album release: June 12th, 2016
Record Label: Run For Cover Records
1. Old Friends 3:28
2. Cadmium 4:12
3. Then Again 2:39
4. Aphasia 4:31
5. Visiting 3:07
6. Waveform 4:31
7. Size of the Moon 4:48
8. New Friends 3:17
• All tracks written by Evan Stephens Hall. © Pinegrove, Vundabar @ Shea Stadium, 1/7/15
• Evan Stephens Hall — guitar, vocals , percussion on tracks 1, 2, 3, 4, 7 / banjo on tracks 1, 5, 7 / keys on tracks 1, 7 / bass on track 1
• Nick Levine — guitar / vocals on tracks 2, 5, 7 / bass on track 3 / banjo on track 8
• Zack Levine — drums / percussion on tracks 2, 3, 4, 7
• Sam Skinner — bass on tracks 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 / keys on track 7
• Nandi Rose Plunkett — vocals
• Adan Carlo Feliciano — bass on track 2
• Mike Levine — pedal steel on tracks 1, 3, 4
• Doug Hall — piano on track 6
• Songs by Evan Stephens Hall
• Recorded by Evan, Sam, Nick, Zack
• Additional Recording by Seth Engel at The Owlary
• Mixed by Sam & Evan with help from Nick & Zack
• Mastered by Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound
• Additional mastering by Steve Fallone at Sterling Sound
• Cover Design by Evan, LP design by Nick & Evan
Publication / Accolade / Year / Rank / Ref.
• The A.V. Club The A.V. Club’s Top 50 Albums of 2016 / 2016 #4
• American Songwriter Top 50 Albums of 2016 / 2016 #44
• Consequence of Sound Top 50 Albums of 2016 / 2016 #30
• Paste The 50 Best Albums of 2016 2016 #14
• Pitchfork The 20 Best Rock Albums of 2016 / 2016 N/A
• The Best Albums of 2016 / 2016 #46
• The Skinny Top 50 Albums of 2016 / 2016 #20
• Stereogum The 50 Best Albums of 2016 / 2016 #24
• NPR Best 50 Albums of 2016 2016 #38
• TAIS AWARDS Nominated between 585 albums © Pinegrove LiveShots, Photo credit: Dan Bogosian
Ian Cohen, FEBRUARY 10 2016, SCORE: 8
• Montclair, N.J. band Pinegrove’s debut LP Cardinal recalls some of the most consistently likeable rock bands of the past 20 years in their most easygoing phases: There’s the rootsy shamble of early Wilco, the wiggly guitar solos and general guilelessness of pre~prog Built to Spill. But beneath the amiable surface is an intense work about one of the most important things imaginable: how to make our friendships really matter.
ntclair, N.J. band Pinegrove’s debut LP Cardinal doesn’t initially come off like a hefty work. Its eight songs, which never move at too hurried of a pace, recall some of the most consistently likeable rock bands of the past 20 years in their most easygoing phases: There’s the rootsy shamble of early Wilco, the wiggly guitar solos and general guilelessness of pre~prog Built to Spill. Songwriter Evan Stephens Hall’s voice betrays his New Jersey roots, taking on a geographically non~specific drawl than nonetheless makes you feel welcome wherever you are. Still, it doesn’t scream “rootsy”: the slow songs are the ones where Pinegrove sound like they’re waiting to derail, whereas “Visiting” and “Then Again” have the sentiment and aerodynamic thrust of pop punk.
• All together, you might call it alt~country, though it’s more in the spirit of Saddle Creek circa The Execution of All Things, Album of the Year, and Lifted — there’s banjo and twang and formalist structure. But unlike the trad~leaning No Depression style, this music sounds like it was made by young people, artists who created a dialogue with their fans by speaking to their specific concerns in an effusive, colorful language that mirrored their own.• It’s only when you spend time soaking in this language that Cardinal’s deeper themes emerge. The character Hall plays is a familiar one within lovelorn indie rock — he’s the well~read, verbose guy doomed to recount time and again the failure of words to express what he really wants. “Cadmium” was inspired by a book compiling letters sent between two authors, the first of which was a square of the titular color. As a seemingly sturdy barroom shuffle collapses, Hall yelps about the impossibility of just telling it like it is. “Aphasia” references a speech and language disorder, though it appears to be more of an emotional hangover that Hall shakes off on his way toward clarity. “So satisfied, I said a lot of things tonight,” he sings, the victory not in what he said or even how he said it, just that he was willing to do so in the first place and put his pride on the line.
• Cardinal includes some material from Pinegrove’s Everything So Far compilation, which might initially disappoint longtime fans. But “Size of the Moon” and “New Friends,” which reappear here, scan as completely different songs in their new context: The cutesy reference to Nancy Kerrigan has been cut from “Size of the Moon,” and the experience of playing the song live dozens, if not hundreds, of times has led to a newfound confidence of Hall’s vocals and a tighter performance. The full~band surge added at the bridge, when Hall screams “I dont know what I’m afraid of!”, seems to tacitly acknowledge the big~room anthem they’ve created.
• Pinegrove’s Bandcamp bio describes them as “hard at work in the promotion of introspective partying!", which might sound silly at first. Indie rock typically presents introspection as the opposite of partying, after all, and as an activity it is supposed to be incompatible with things like band promotion and exclamation points. But Cardinal feels like one big determined push outward, an album~length fight against solipsism without losing your sense of self in the process. There’s nothing frivolous about that, and nowhere does the band make the seriousness of their mission more apparent than in album~closer “New Friends,” the other song that originally appeared on Everything So Far.
• Here, it draws a closed circle around Cardinal by commenting on the album opener “Old Friends”: Hall resolves to make new friends — “I liked my old ones, but I fucked up, so I’ll start again.” It sounded wistful and clever on Everything So Far, but set off on “Old Friends,” where he admits “I should call my parents when I think of them/ I should tell my friends when I love them,” it cuts deeper. And then Pinegrove’s mission finally makes sense. “Introspective partying” may sound frivolous, but it deals with one of the most important things imaginable: how to make our friendships really matter. • http://pitchfork.com/
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