The searching, artful indie rock of Brooklyn’s Half Waif serves as an outlet for the thoughts and experimentation of classically trained singer and keyboardist Nandi Rose Plunkett of Pinegrove. Working with various collaborators over time, including members of Pinegrove, she debuted the project in 2013 with the EP Future Joys. Half Waif made its Anti- label debut in 2020 with fourth album Caretaker.
Raised in Williamstown, Massachusetts, by an American father of European descent and an Indian refugee mother, Plunkett’s lyrics often address themes like displacement, human connection, and the life cycle. She relocated to New York before collaborating with bassist Greg Chudzik and drummer Thomas Alton Crane on the Future Joys EP, released in 2013. The next year’s KOTEKAN saw her joined by a string quartet and horns, and Pinegrove drummer Zack Levine first recorded with Half Waif on Probable Depths, which received a cassette release by DZ Tapes in 2016. Cascine issued the album on vinyl a year later. In the meantime, Plunkett contributed vocals to Jaye Bartell’s Light Enough album, and Pinegrove had a critical breakthrough with Cardinal, which landed on some prominent year-end lists. The Half Waif EP form/a followed on Cascine in 2017 with an official lineup of Plunkett, Levine, and bassist/guitarist Adan Carlo, also from Pinegrove. With production by David Tolomei (Nymph, Effi Briest), Half Waif’s third album, 2018′s Lavender, featured the same trio and provided a critical breakthrough of their own.
Pinegrove delivered their third and fourth albums, 2019′s Skylight and the following January’s Marigold, before Half Waif returned with Caretaker in March 2020. A stylistic and thematic follow-up to Lavender, Caretaker was also informed by Plunkett’s multigenerational family history of being uprooted. Co-produced by Plunkett and Tolomei, it marked the project’s Anti- debut. ~ Marcy Donelson