HOP ALONG – ” Live On KEXP “

Posted: June 13, 2015 in MUSIC
Tags: , , , , ,

Hop Along performing live in the KEXP studio. Recorded May 29, 2015.

Texas Funeral
The Knock
Tibetan Pop Stars
Powerful Man
Sister Cities

Hop Along has often been dubbed Philadelphia’s best kept secret. But for much longer? I really Don’t think so, with a superb collection of songs the new album should see them as rising stars.

Get Disowned, Hop Along’s first full-band album which they self-released in 2012, came out of seemingly nowhere to be one of the most staggeringly perfect records of the year. Ten songs that were as catchy as they were strange. The Philly four-piece can pull off this amazing trick where they make a lyric instantly stick in your head without needing to tether it to a traditional verse-chorus-verse structure.

Part of what makes Hop Along’s sound so unique is the brother-sister anti-chemistry of drummer Mark Quinlan and guitarist/singer Frances Quinlan. Mark, who grew up pounding away for heavier hardcore bands, and Frances, a student of the Jeff Magnum style of make-it-weird-until-it-works songwriting, meet somewhere in the middle. Sometimes they’ll bring things down to a hushed whisper, before pushing levels beyond breaking points, and weave the two extremes together at break-neck paces. And it’s all glued together with Frances’ inimitable voice—raggedy and raw, with a wild, untameable streak. Never duplicating, always unpredictable.

As a result of their musically mutated DNA, Hop Along could hold their own alongside just about anyone. And they have. They’ve been jammed onto bills with everyone from The Thermals to Fucked Up to Paint It Black.

Naturally, the “secret” of Hop Along has gradually gotten out over the last few years and by the time they were ready to work on their follow-up sophomore album, Painted Shut, they had a long line of industry suitors, out of which, Omaha indie staple Saddle Creek Records emerged victorious. If the album’s first single, “Waitress” is any indicator, Saddle Creek got a steal.

“Waitress” is everything that makes Hop Along great, distilled down into three and a half minutes. Frances’ idiosyncratic lyricism is on full display and as each minute of the track passes, the band seems intent on upping their own intensity, crescendoing until the song hits a tipping point. And then it just ends. A perfect way to tease an album.

This is all a long-winded way of saying this: There is no one out there like Hop Along. Not even close. And Painted Shut might just end up being the best album of the year.

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