Pinegrove According to their Fans

“If you imagine someone wearing vans, but also flannel…. And chaps.”

“Cow emo.”
“Definitely emo but definitely folksy, so get ready for that, whatever that means.”

Pinegrove performed at the 7th St. Entry to a sold out crowd in October. Photographer: Darby Ottoson

These are just a few of the ways Minneapolis fans described Pinegrove when I talked to them outside 7th Street Entry on Oct. 19.

The Facebook event for this show was filled with pleas for tickets (even willing to pay up to $40 a ticket) that grew more and more desperate as the show drew closer. What is it about this band that had everyone clutching closely to their tickets, unwilling to sell.

While talking with fans I recognized as fellow University of Minnesota students, I learned one thing in particular: everyone relates to Pinegrove in their own way. To each person, Pinegrove is personal. Just asking people their favorite lyrics proved this.

Immediately, without hesitation, Jade Friese told me hers: “I’ll buy you breakfast. I’ll buy you medicine.”

Her friend Maddie Schwappach pondered a bit more and ended up deciding on two: “End of summer and I’m still in love with her,” and “I don’t know what I’m afraid of, but I’m afraid it will all fall away.”

Erik Starkman went with a gut reaction: “First one I thought of was ‘One day I won’t define myself by the one I’m thinking of.’ I don’t know if it’s my favorite, but it hits every time.”

Not settling for just one sentence, Erika Wilson said, “All of ‘Waveform.’”

Lydia Crabtree decided on one of the many questions Pinegrove asks, “How’d you get so tangled up in my mind?”

Lydia Crabtree

While Shun Matsuhashi responded with “fuck” when I asked the question, and decided that he couldn’t pick just one.

Pinegrove resonates for more reasons than one. Their unique sound and lyrics bring a nostalgic and conversational quality. Wilson described the band’s sound as “millennial driven folk,” Their sound is rustic, but still very relevant and young in their lyrics which she believes is missing in folk today.

And don’t forget those twangs! Everyone mentioned the unique twanginess Evan Stephens Hall brings to all songs that gave Swappach the reason to describe it with two, simple words, “cow emo.”

Matsuhashi believes the twang works in Pinegrove’s favor. “I’ve always hated country, but Pinegrove brings that twanginess that country has in the most aesthetic way that just really fucking works, and I love that,” Matsuhashi said.

Shun Matsuhashi

The twang in Pinegrove’s sound isn’t all that listeners love. “I really like the harmonies with Nandi and Evan. I think the harmonies are beautiful, and that’s a big thing for me,” said Friese when I asked her what drew her in at first.

To Starkman, Pinegrove’s sound reminds him of his hometown of Duluth, Minnesota.

Many touched on the lyrics which clearly highlight Hall’s affinity for reading. With words like ventricles, aphasia, ampersand, spectral, varicose resign, impediments, capillaries, and interstices, writing these songs seem to be a superpower only Hall may possess.

Left to right: Erika Wilson and Erik Starkman

The song “Aphasia” was a constant favorite for those I talked with. “Of all-time, it’s “Aphasia.” It’s amazing,” said Regan Smith. The heartbreak anthem lets you go through all the painful emotions of a loss, but at the end lets you look forward to a hopeful future.

“I think they’re really good at hitting really specific emotions. There are certain lines of Pinegrove songs that every time I hear them, it rips me apart, but it’s super good,” Swappach said.

The show that night was one of the loudest I’ve been to. The audience almost out singing the band themselves. Everyone sang out as if the words were their gospel.

As the band continues touring and finishing up their unnamed second album, they are seeing more and more success with their 2016 release, “Cardinal”.

Left to right: Regan Smith, Maddie Schwappach, Jade Friese

I see more and more of my friends listening to them on Spotify or asking me what they’re all about. They’re still hard to describe, but talking with fellow fans helped me realize we’re all there for something, and we all find some kind catharsis through this band’s discography. Pinegrove’s is something for everyone just listen and find out.

The band recently released a new single called “Intrepid” click here to watch their live performance of it at the Current’s studios in St. Paul.

Photographer: Darby Ottoson