Pine Barons - Jaxon's Local Shots Artist of the Month

Born among the pitch pines of southern New Jersey, Pine Barons is a project that came to fruition as friends gathered around campfires in the nature-rich environments of their hometowns. The band’s beginnings can be traced back to lead vocalist and guitarist Keith Abrams and drummer Collin Smith meeting in preschool and eventually playing in a series of bands together, getting to know their instruments in their parents’ basements as well as outdoors, adventuring around, exploring an eclectic and intimate palette of punk, jazz and psychedelic rock.

Combining forces with guitar player Brad Pulley, bassist Shane Hower and keyboardist Alex Beebe, the full Pine Barons lineup formed in 2012. New material blended the raw, lo-fi energy of those early days with an infusion of folk, roots and emo. Releasing their first EP in 2013, songs such as “Smile America” and “Carnival” would prove the songwriting and lyrical abilities of these young musicians and set the stage for the next evolution of their multifaceted sound. In one particular instance, the band dripped coffee onto a cassette tape to achieve a deteriorating production quality, acutely aware of how such sonic choices would affect the listener from an early stage.

Five years after the group’s formation, Pine Barons proudly unveils their debut LP, The Acchin Book. Eleven tracks of nuanced and emotional rock, the breadth of the band’s collective imagination shines through cohesively and unabashedly. Recorded in Philadelphia at Headroom Studios, songs like “Clowns” and “Hourcoat” masterfully navigate complex rhythms and impassioned vocals, combined with memorable melodies and jazzy flourishes. The nostalgic yet forward-thinking qualities of groups like Animal Collective, Modest Mouse and Velvet Underground come to mind as the record unravels.

Much of The Acchin Book’s unique quality comes from the auxiliary instruments and recording techniques used; feathered paper dragged across paintings, field recordings in the woods at night, accordion, string arrangements and bowed guitars all contributing to the various moods and textures of the record. The songs comprise a collective of philosophical vignettes, each track inhabiting a different setting while dealing with intertwined anxieties about living one’s life and trying to be a good person. While endlessly relatable, it’s a record that could only have been made by these five individuals, whose paths crossing are as much a part of the story as any other found in The Acchin Book.

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See the band LIVE on September 22nd at World Cafe Live - Details are on Facebook

Hear even more Philly-based music on Jaxon's Local Shots Podcast!