Pinegrove revealed today that it will self-release its third album Skylight this Friday, Sept. 28. Last year, the band began a brief hiatus when leader Evan Stephans Hall acknowledged he’d been accused of “sexual coercion.” The news about the new album comes in the middle of a long and thoughtful story from Pitchfork’s Jenn Pelly about Pinegrove and the complex nature of the Hall allegation and its aftermath.
The allegation surfaced publicly in November 2017, when Hall published an oblique statement on Pinegrove’s Facebook page regarding an accusation by “someone i was involved with for a short but intense period of time.” Pitchfork’s story details how Hall and the accuser have since worked with a mediator toward privately resolving the situation. The mediator told Pelly that the alleged sexual coercion involved “verbal and contextual pressure” and that “the accusation is not of a physical nature at all.” According to both Hall and the mediator, the alleged victim requested that Hall enter therapy and that Pinegrove take a yearlong break from touring. “We wanted to honor that. She recognized that we’ve honored it, and has since approved our plan to release an album and play some shows later on this year,” Hall said, and the mediator confirmed. (The alleged victim, who has remained anonymous, declined to be interviewed on the record for the story.)
Pitchfork’s reporting further fleshes out a situation that was fraught with complication from the beginning. In April, Spin reported that Hall’s original statement had been precipitated at least in part by Sheridan Allen, founder of the mental health organization Punk Talks. In November, a week before Hall’s statement, Allen wrote emails to Pinegrove’s label and a festival the band was scheduled to play, stating that she’d been in contact with an accuser of Hall via social media and that her belief “as a mental health professional” was that Hall should “step away from music to receive intensive treatment.”Allen added that this would be “nearly impossible to do without making a public statement.” The anonymous accuser later told Spin that Allen had acted “without my knowledge or consent,” and that she had “never asked for her to request or demand any type of statement from Pinegrove or Run for Cover.”
Allen’s emails also alluded to a second alleged victim. According to Pitchfork, that person is Autumn Lavis, Phoenix-based organizer with the anti-sexual violence group Safer Scenes, who said she felt “misrepresented” by Allen, and that her involvement with Hall was consensual. The aftermath of her brief relationship with Hall “made me feel bad about myself,” Lavis told Pitchfork. “But I never felt that he was abusive towards me at all. If someone did have a negative experience, I want to validate that, but mine was consensual.”
According to Run for Cover, the label did not drop Pinegrove, but the two parties made a mutual decision to part ways after other artists on the roster expressed discomfort about the release of Skylight. The band told Pitchfork it plans to donate all profits from the album to three charities: the Voting Rights Project, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and the music-based mental health organization Musicares.
Update (9/28): Pinegrove released Skylight via Bancamp today.