Stream Pinecones Sings For You Now (Stereogum Premiere)

Most people who aren’t from the South imagine it as a swampy, humid wilderness full of forgotten relics, guitar circles, and mystical folklore. As long as you imagine that guitar circle gone electric, you’re not that far away from Athens/Atlanta outfit Pinecones. The band drew their name from the existential, pastoral nature of Henry David Thoreau and Walt Whitman’s writing. They’ve been building and crumbling in other iterations, band names, and sounds for nearly a decade, before some centrifugal force drew them together to namecheck Fugazi, April Fool’s Day (the day they recorded the album), and positive aggression in the same sentence. They boast a roster that most heavy bands would be jealous of: Vocalist and guitarist Bo Orr on Vocals is formerly of grindcore group Dead In The Dirt and guitarist Brain Atoms previously played in the punk band Crater. Orr has played with drummer Ben Salie and bassist Ryan Evers since high school, and Atoms soon found his way into the mix via another former group, Mosaic. Their long friendship rears its head in the band’s winding guitar solos and unchecked melodies; this is a group of musicians who anticipate one another’s movements and allow each other the freedom to let these inclinations alter at any time.

The band’s official debut album is called Sings For You Now, and it encompasses the guttural energy of hardcore, the rebellion and rage of punk, and the most melodic, volume-bending power of metal. Music that falls into those three genres tends to be aggressively sad, angry, or sometimes even hateful, and Pinecones emphasize that their music is intended to be joyful, optimistic and positive. These undercurrents of positivity are what makes the album such a singular, intriguing force. Even if the band didn’t already purposefully buck genre classification, the through-line of hopefulness alone would set Sings For You Now apart. “Joy Into Words” and “The Love Song” take this concept from abstract to concrete, but deafening, philosophical numbers like the seven-minute “Astral Bodies” convey that purpose in a metaphysical way. “This is not a song/ This is not our thoughts,” Orr sings with complete detachment while the song boils behind him, culminating in an out-of-nowhere saxophone solo that was provided by a friend’s father (George Davidson) that undercuts all the dispassionate lyrics. Listening to the interplay between physical, spiritual, and musical existence hammered out across these 11 tracks is one of the most challenging, intriguing tasks I’ve undertaken this year. Few albums demand your attention and interaction the way Sings For You Now does. Listen below.

Sings For You Now is out today via Arrowhawk Records. Pre-order it here.