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Blending ragged, emo-tinged indie rock with Americana and folk influences, New Jersey combo Pinegrove built a sturdy grassroots following through several well-received independent releases before signing with Run for Cover Records to release their 2016 breakout album, Cardinal. Just as their momentum was building, the band took a year-long hiatus, delaying the release of their third album, Skylight, which finally appeared in late 2018. They later signed with Rough Trade and kicked off the new decade with their fourth album, Marigold, followed in 2021 by the ambitious feature-length film Amperland, NY and its accompanying soundtrack.
Led by singer/songwriter Evan Stephens Hall, along with core members Zack Levine (drums) and his brother Nick Levine (guitar), Pinegrove first emerged out of the city of Montclair in 2010 with a self-released EP called Mixtape One. Their debut album, Meridian, arrived in 2012, followed by a pair of independently released EPs, & and Mixtape Two. In early 2015, all of their previous releases were collected in an anthology called Everything So Far, which soon caught the attention of Boston’s Run for Cover Records, and the label reissued the album later that year. With a new record deal in place and a full-time seven-member lineup, Pinegrove made their label debut in early 2016 with Cardinal, their second proper full-length. It proved to be a breakout for the band, landing on the year-end lists of a number of prominent critics and leading to their first headlining U.S. tour as well as their first European tour. A year later, Run for Cover reissued their compilation Everything So Far in a deluxe vinyl edition, followed in 2017 by the live album Elsewhere.
In November 2017, with their third studio completed and already being teased, Hall posted a statement on Pinegrove’s Facebook page that detailed allegations of “sexual coercion” against him by an unnamed woman. The announcement came in the midst of the #MeToo movement and subsequently led the group to cancel all immediate touring plans and delay the release of their latest album, Skylight. Following what ended up being a year-long hiatus, Skylight was issued digitally by the band in November 2018, with a physical release following in February 2019.
Touring hard, Pinegrove regained some of their lost momentum and signed with Rough Trade later that year. Their fourth album, Marigold, came out in January 2020. Over the year, Hall and his bandmates took on the ambitious task of creating a feature-length independent film based loosely around their Upstate New York house, affectionately called Amperland. Adapted from one of Hall’s short stories and directed by Kenna Hynes, Amperland, NY was accompanied by a soundtrack of 22 new Pinegrove songs. Both the film and soundtrack were released in January 2021. ~ Timothy Monger