Posts Tagged ‘Bark Your Head Off Dog’

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Three years after their seminal album “Painted Shut”, Philadelphia’s Hop Along returned with their third Saddle Creek-released LP, Bark Your Head Off, Dog, their most cohesive release to date. Few vocalists can evoke the emotion thats packed into Frances Quinlan’s delivery, and it’s on full display on early singles like the epic “Not Abel.” Quinlan’s songwriting has become more self-aware and outwardly present to the mechanisms of the world around her, and Hop Along is as tight a unit as you’ll hear on record.

Hop AlongHow Simple From the album Bark Your Head Off, Dog

Hop Along, who are playing across the UK and Ireland next month, and they’re super treble lush. The video gives a moreish taste of their live show too.

Nov 11th | Nottingham, UK @ Rock City

From the album Bark Your Head Off, Dog – Out Now

Band Members
Frances Quinlan (vocals, guitar)
Mark Quinlan (drums)
Tyler Long (bass)
Joe Reinhart (guitar)

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We got a small teaser of Hop Along’s new album when they opened for Conor Oberst at BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival in Prospect Park, a show they said they took a break from recording to play. Propelled by Frances Quinlain’s wild, raw voice, Hop Along really shine live, and they debuted a great-sounding new song at that show. Attendees of Cap’n Jazz’s House of Vans show in Chicago, which Hop Along opened, got to hear even more new material, and Frances promised new stuff at a few solo dates in October with Oberst and Tim Kasher. There hasn’t been much concrete info yet about Hop Along’s next album, but 2015’s Painted Shut was one of our favorite albums of the year, and we’re eager to hear Bark Your Head Off, Dog .

We are very happy to share our video for “How Simple” with you. Thank you to Derrick Belcham for his excellent work directing, and to all who were involved, this was a lot of fun to make.

What makes this album such a gratifying listen are the tensions Hop Along sets up: the ingenious interplay between the full band’s inviting hooks and abrasive progressions, between melodies you can sing along to and melodies you wouldn’t dare attempt, and between lead singer and lyricist Frances Quinlan’s sweet soprano and rugged rasp. Musically, everything bubbles to the surface and gasps for air, including, at times, Quinlan herself. Lyrically, Hop Along finds empathy for the Bible’s first murderer Cain (on “Not Abel”), illuminates the failures of false ideals in war (“Of course I am for peace, one that suits me”), and encapsulates the current cultural moment of untangling toxic masculinity in one perfect phrase (“So strange to be shaped by such strange men”).

Written over the course of 2016 and 2017 and recorded in the summer of the latter year by Frances Quinlan (songwriter/vocalist/rhythm guitar), Tyler Long (bass), Joe Reinhart (guitar), and Mark Quinlan (drums), “Bark Your Head Off, Dog” addresses disappointment, particularly in man’s misuse of power, and relates accounts from the periphery — one’s attempts to retreat from the lengthening shadows of tyrants, both historical and everyday. It considers what it’s like to cast off longheld and misguided perceptions, yet without the assurance of knowing what new ones will replace them. Much like on Hop Along’s first and second records, Get Disowned and Painted Shut, Quinlan seeks in real time to work through these issues.

Throughout the album, one gets the sense that Quinlan is wandering in the thicket of a forest—a state of being that will feel familiar to longtime listeners—and on this outing, she hasn’t left a trail of breadcrumbs behind her. The album’s artwork, which Quinlan painted herself, invites the listener into that forest, as well. “There is a terror in getting lost,” she says, “the woods are at the same time beautiful and horrifying.” This curious wandering gives the album, both lyrically and musically, a heightened dimensionality.

Bark Your Head Off, Dog is, without question, Hop Along’s most dynamic and textured record yet. Self-produced and recorded at The Headroom in Philadelphia by Reinhart and Kyle Pulley, Bark Your Head Off, Dog features the familiar sounds that have always made the band allergic to genre: grunge, folk, punk, and power pop all appear, with inspiration from ELO to Elvis Costello to ‘70s girl group vocal arrangements. This time around, they’ve added strings, more intricate rhythms, lush harmonies (featuring Thin Lips’ Chrissy Tashjian), along with a momentary visit with a vocoder. In more than one place, Mark Quinlan drums like he’s at a disco with Built to Spill. 

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Most significantly, Bark Your Head Off, Dog shows the band at its strongest and most cohesive. Hop Along (which originally began as Quinlan’s solo project under the moniker Hop Along, Queen Ansleis) has never sounded so deliberate, so balanced. “So strange to be shaped by such strange men” is a line that repeats on more than one song on the album. “I’ve been thinking about that a lot. That I just deferred to men throughout my life,” Quinlan says. “But by thinking you’re powerless, you’re really robbing yourself. I’m at a point in my life where I’m saying instead, ‘Well, what can I do?’”

releases April 6th, 2018

Hop Along is Frances Quinlan (songwriter, lead vocalist, and rhythm guitarist), Tyler Long (bass), Joe Reinhart (guitar), and Mark Quinlan (drums). Frances Quinlan is a force of nature and her voice is one of the most unique in music today. Their last album, “Painted Shut”, was a truly outstanding album that only gets better with more listens. The fine folks at Saddle Creek will be releasing the new album Bark Your Head Off, Dog . Here’s some info on the new album.

The album considers what it’s like to cast off longheld and misguided perceptions, yet without the assurance of knowing what new ones will replace them. Quinlan has been meditating a lot on power. In this particular moment in history, this thought begs a greater question: what do we do with power and the men who so freely brandish it? “So strange to be shaped by such strange men” is a line that repeats on more than one song on the album. “I’ve been thinking about that a lot. That I just deferred to men throughout my life,” Quinlan says. “But by thinking you’re powerless, you’re really robbing yourself. I’m at a point in my life where I’m saying instead, ‘Well, what can I do?’

Hop Along – “How Simple” New album Bark Your Head Off, Dog – Out April 6th, 2018