It’s midterm season, and spring break is on the way. With hardly any focus for school left, there’s at least one meaningful thing you can turn your attention to: music!

This week’s Gr8 Unknowns brings you Pinegrove, an indie rock band from New Jersey, who just gained a record deal in 2015. They afterwards released a debut album with their second collection, Cardinal.  

The band is led by singer/songwriter Evan Stephens and is backed by brothers Nick (guitar) and Zack (drums) Levine.

The song that first emerged into my life is called “Old Friends.” Stephens voice was like a breath of fresh air, though it’s kind of rough. It sometimes cracks when he hits high notes, but it’s in a stylistic, yet unintentional, way.

Rhythm and melody combine to make this song mellow but impossible not to move to. It’s gentle, full of emotion and tells a story. Somehow they fit a large amount of lyrics into each intricate line, both impressive and fresh.

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“Aphasia” is the song that stole my heart, though. A live version is provided below, which perfectly captures the emotion of the song. He sings, “One day I won’t need your love / one day I won’t define myself by the one I’m thinking of.” This song also exemplifies Stephens ability to sing both softly and with force. A balance of both is always enticing.

Another song to know is “Visiting.” Again, the song screams emotion. All elements of the song are able to shift between soft and strong easily, showing the band’s dynamic. It also represents how easily emotions shift, which seem to be one of their defining characteristics.

Overall, Pinegrove delivers a dose of real indie rock, with touches of deep emotion and strong vocals. Check out the songs below if you enjoyed what you heard (watch out for an upcoming Spring Break Ultimate Playlist from yours truly — they are sure to be featured on it).