It’s no secret that Pinegrove put out one of the best rock records of 2017 — we placed it in the number one spot on our rock albums list for a good reason. If you haven’t stumbled upon the Montclair, New Jersey’s band’s mixture of emo, rock, and alt-country influences, you need to listen to spend a good chunk of today listening to Cardinal.
Back in April of last year I had the chance to catch Pinegrove at Irving Plaza when they were opening for The World Is A Beautiful Place And I Am Not Afraid To Die (who, as it turns out, topped my best rock albums list of 2015), and let me tell you, Evan Stephens Hall’s voice sounds just as great in real life — reedy without being thin, and tender and ragged in all the right ways.
But guess who else has a great voice and is a Pinegrove fan already? None other than cult favorite Kevin Devine, who released a cover of Pinegrove’s “Old Friends” today via the excellent UK music blog Gold Flake Paint. Devine reflects on the first time he heard the song, describing it much better than I could waste words doing:
“When we were mixing Instigator, in January, my US booking agent Andrew Ellis called me late-ish one night and said he wanted me to hear this song. He actually said, “Listen to this like, right now. So once we were in a place to step away from the mix for a minute, I did, and it was “Old Friends” – I remember immediately being taken by the words, what I could make out, anyway, and even moreso by their delivery – casual, even languid, but intentional. A hard dance step to execute, and one Evan lands all over Cardinal. It was a continual pleasure hearing these songs every night on tour this fall, and I look forward to all the great things obviously awaiting their band in the not-so-distant future.”
How come every outcome’s such a come down? is the most poetic, perfect summary of existential anguish in one tiny question. Yet, somehow, I found hope in the phrase. Watch Devine’s version of the track above, and stream Cardinal below.