Biography All Music Guide
All Music Guide:
Mixing spacious, dramatic instrumentation with the rootsy twang of an alt-country outfit, Pleasant Grove took root in the late '90s. Marcus Striplin and Bret Egner shared frontman duties from the start -- both of them competent vocalists and guitarists in their own right -- and the Dallas-based quintet (which also included members Tony Hormillosa, Chris Mayes, and Jeff Ryan) made a splash at the South by Southwest festival in 2000. Germany's Glitterhouse Records took notice and released Pleasant Grove's self-titled CD the following February, and the sophomore effort Auscultation of the Heart arrived in December. The band then spent the early part of 2002 touring America and Europe, earning comparisons to the Silver Jews, Mercury Rev, and the Handsome Family by the British media. Returning home, they inked a contract with Portland's Badman Recording Co. and issued a third LP, The Art of Leaving, in the summer of 2004. Pleasant Grove continued to tour throughout the following years, with Striplin eventually leaving Texas for New York City in April 2008.