Posts Tagged ‘Frances Quinlan’

Thin Lips

Ahead of their upcoming album Chosen FamilyThin Lips have released a second single, titled “Gaslight Anthem (The Song Not The Band)” featuring vocal contributions from Frances Quinlan of Hop Along, Brendan Lukens of Modern Baseball, and Zoe Reynolds of Kississippi. And if that lineup doesn’t get you excited to hear it, what will?

Jumping right in with their characteristic interlocking riffs, frontwoman Chrissy Tashjian’s vocals layer on top wonderfully, mixed to perfection with the slightest bit of distance, singing “here I thought I was right next to you”. The chorus is even more touching, with all the vocal cameos entering. In lieu of exchanging vocals or harmonizing, here it feels more like paints mixing, one voice blending into the other, and the solos featuring slide guitar add a greater depth to the song’s already rich texture.

Between this track and the previous single, “A Song For Those Who Miss You All The Time,” one can get a sense of the crunchy, catchy brand of indie-punk Thin Lips are bringing to their new album, dropping July 27th on Lame-O Records

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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 performs at Cheer Up Charlies in Austin, Texas on March 16th, 2018.

Hop Along doesn’t sound like any specific band from that decade, cutting their spiky guitar-pop with the occasional dreamy melodies from lead singer/songwriter Frances Quinlan. Live the music is given considerable muscle by drummer Mark Quinlan, the rare drummer in indie-rock who knows how to swing. Having these dexterous rhythms as their anchor gives Hop Along are a kinetic kick that might not otherwise be heard in their delicate, nimble songs, and while that’s enough to separate the band from their peers, the group is also fun to watch because there’s a genuine warmth to their banter. In a week that can be as grueling for artists, such humor goes a long way.

New album Bark Your Head Off, Dog – Out April 6th, 2018

Philadelphia’s Hop Along will release their third studio album “Bark Your Head Off, Dog” on April 6th! Available on black vinyl, and a tri-color striped vinyl that is limited to 750 copies and sold exclusively on the Saddle Creek Store.  The formidable 9-song collection is the band’s strongest and most cohesive album to date. Crafted by Frances Quinlan (songwriter, lead vocalist, and rhythm guitarist), Tyler Long (bass), Joe Reinhart (guitar), and Mark Quinlan (drums), 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?’

On album opener, “How Simple,” Quinlan wrangles with what it’s like to learn about yourself—which can get ugly. Quinlan explains, “People romanticize the idea of finding themselves, but when they do, at least in my experience, it can be really difficult. You see how you fail others and how others fail you.” Offering fans a classic dose of Hop Along’s searing songwriting and unabashed honesty. 

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. Bark Your Head Off, Dog is, without question, Hop Along’s most dynamic and textured record yet.

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. The record calls upon references that Quinlan has woven throughout all of the band’s albums: the wild presence of animals (rabbits, foxes, dogs, and blue jays all appear on this record) and historical touchstones (from a podcast on World War I to books by Karl Ove Knausgaard). Hop Along’s songs continue to reveal the curiosities nesting in Quinlan’s mind.

“If Philadelphia is the capital of indie rock, then Hop Along sits at the table with its top leaders.  […] Quinlan’s gripping vocals, an earworm of a chorus, and an unexpectedly dreamy violin outro. “How Simple” may leave you feeling a touch of whiplash, but the ride is undeniably fun.”
– Pitchfork,

Best New Track“ …with some extra touches like layered vocal tracks and a touching string outro, [“How Simple”] is a song that hits all the emotions that Quinlan can reach in one breath.”
– Esquire

“How Simple” is easily one of Hop Along’s poppiest moments, and as the two parties at the center of the song try to make sense of their confused situation, the answer comes in a glorious gang vocal you can’t help but sing along to: “Don’t worry, we will both find out, just not together.”
– NPR

New album “Bark Your Head Off, Dog” out April 6th!

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

Every discussion of Hop Along begins with Frances Quinlan’s voice. It’s a force of nature, yes, but it’s also human, often painfully so, and she uses it to relate stories of humanity in all its rawness and imperfection, its ugliness and its grace. The band match her thorny intensity with knife-sharp guitars and rhythms, see-sawing from sweetness to noise, building to moments of musical and emotional catharsis that detonate with the force of a land-mine. So much of Painted Shut is about feeling small, feeling weak, letting people down and being let down, but Hop Along turn that into something explosive and strong and beautiful and triumphant. Powerlessness has never sounded so powerful.

The wiry, bookish sound of Painted Shut by the band Hop Along are at their vanguard. “By the time it’s old/ My face will have been seen/ And I’ll share a very/ Common poverty/ It’s a very common kind,” Frances Quinlan sings on “Waitress”, a vignette about a disgraced diner server. Hop Along spend all of their stellar third album leaping to capture these specific sorts of honors.

Quinlan’s rough voice always sounds on the verge of giving out, but as a writer she is a tender guardian who sees dignity everywhere she looks: On “The Knock”, she is moved to tears by the beaming Jehovah’s Witness who knocks on her door (“I never once seen a teenager look so radiant”), and “Buddy in the Parade” recalls the spectacular public breakdown of early-20th century cornetist Charles “Buddy” Bolden, who started frothing at the mouth during a parade performance and spent the rest of his life in a sanitarium. The songs are furiously angry in their energy and endlessly compassionate toward their targets, backing you into a corner and hugging you fiercely, like someone staging a very determined intervention on your behalf.

Hop Along’s trajectory has been more measured and longer in coming.

Starting roughly ten years ago as a solo songwriting outlet — then called Hop Along, Queen Ansleis — Quinlan crafted lo-fi folk songs while in art school in Baltimore, and released her first record, Freshman Year, in 2006. But it wasn’t until she relocated to Philadelphia after graduation, moved in with and started playing music with her brother Mark that a full band began to take shape. There’s a clear musical chemistry between the two siblings: His heavy and precise, metal-informed drumming serves as a counterpoint to her idiosyncratic singing — creating an push\pull, quiet-then-loud dynamic that defines the Hop Along’s explosive sound. With the addition of bassist Tyler Long and guitarist Joe Reinhart — who came on as a full-time member after producing Get DisownedHop Along grew into a local favorite among Philadelphia’s supportive (and affordable) music community.

From the outside looking in, there seems to be something special happening right now in Philly; with bands like Waxahatchee, Swearin’, Radiator Hospital, Girlpool, Nothing, and Cayetana (and many more) all having breakthroughs, the city is certainly enjoying a fruitful creative boom. “I would like to think these great bands would exist either way,” Quinlan says. “There’s not much you can do about where the spotlight is being turned.” Still, Hop Along’s hard work and word-of-mouth reputation is finally paying off.

Painted Shut — the band’s new album, and first on the beloved indie label Saddle Creek Records — not only stands firmly alongside Hop Along’s Philly peers, it’s one of the year’s best rock records.

Even as songs like The Knock or I Saw My Twin crackle and burn with distorted guitars and unrelenting drums, Quinlan’s lyrics are heartbreaking and sincere — scratching at personal anxieties and relationships, documenting the rocky transition into adulthood, and ruminating on indecision and fear of the unknown, all with microscopic specificity. Yet her words are so relatable that you begin to see something of yourself in her experiences. But where Get Disowned tended to look inward, on Painted Shut, Quinlan now seems to be tackling weightier themes.

Throughout the album, she reflects on the lives of different characters as a way to illuminate ideas about love and loss, poverty and greed, and mental illness with honesty and in emotionally raw terms. And when told through tiny observations, conversations, and rich imagery, Quinlan often disguises meaning in elusive yet evocative lyrical phrases. “By the time it’s old, a face will have been seen one and a half million times,” Quinlan sings in Waitress.” “I would call you enemy because I’m afraid of what you could call me / The world’s gotten so small and embarrassing.”

 

Powerful Man — perhaps the most immediate song on the album — recalls a potent and painful tale of abuse, and the feeling of being powerless and unheard: “She didn’t look too happy to see us / ‘How should I know?’ she said. / ‘The man you just described could be anyone,'” she sings amid scorching guitar hooks.

Elsewhere, there are also moments of self-reflection (“We all will remember things the same,” she repeatedly muses on Happy To See Me) followed by displays of fearlessness (“None of this is gonna happen to me!” she chants on Texas Funeral). It’s this blend of sweetness and fist-pumping, “let’s-all-shout-in-unison” ferocity that makes Hop Along’s music such a jarring and cathartic experience.

http://KEXP.ORG presents Hop Along performing live in the KEXP studio. Recorded May 29, 2015.

Songs:
Texas Funeral
The Knock
Waitress
Tibetan Pop Stars
Powerful Man
Sister Cities

Hop Along performs “Waitress” for a World Cafe Session with host, David Dye. Recorded at WXPN/World Cafe Studios on March 19, 2015.

The Philadelphia band Hop Along started out with a folk sound back in 2004, when singer-songwriter Frances Quinlan began recording during her senior year of high school. Hop Along took on more of a rock edge in 2008 with the addition of her brother on drums; the group later added bassist Tyler Long and guitarist Joe Reinhardt.

As part of World Cafe’s Sense Of Place: Philadelphia series, Hop Along performs songs from its new album, Painted Shut.

 

Hop Along has had multiple lives. First conceptualized as a freak-folk solo act by Frances Quinlan, it progressed towards a fuller sound with the addition of Mark Quinlan on drums, Tyler Long on bass and Joe Reinhart (Algernon Cadwallader, Dogs on Acid) on guitar. Emerging as one of music’s most unique songwriters, the captivating vignettes Frances has weaved tell vivid stories of desperation and weary awakening. Her powerful voice is a spellbinding entity all it’s own, celebratory and raw, and one that can’t be shaken away. Their new album, Painted Shut, (out on May 5, 2015 via Saddle Creek Records) is their 2nd full-length (preceded by Get Disowned in 2012). However, this release marks their first time creating as a full-formed entity, arranging everything as a group. It was co-produced, recorded and mixed by John Agnello (Kurt Vile, Dinosaur Jr., Sonic Youth, etc.) in the great cities of Philadelphia and Brooklyn, and incidentally finished in the shortest span of time the band has ever made anything.

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Like their debut, Painted Shut is a series of accounts, a procession of fleeting characters. However, it diverges from its predecessor in its close-up, controlled approach (most of the album features the band recording live), Painted Shut is a grounded, less merciful image of many struggling adults in a severe landscapes.

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• Sophomore album and Saddle Creek debut from Philadelphia’s Hop Along
• Produced by John Agnello (Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr., Kurt Vile)
• One of the most anticipated albums of 2015
The concept of added value is on full display on this album. You sense that “Hop Along”, a band of indie folkies from Philadelphia, would be a decent rock outfit but not necessarily one marked out for special attention. The extra dimension is the voice of Frances Quinlan. She has a raspy and often strained delivery. Indeed, there is the feeling that sometimes she is struggling to meet the higher notes, yet it is her voice imperfections that make it perfect. Quinlan injects a dynamism and energy into these songs that charge at the listener and threatens your balance. Listen to the opener “The Knock” or the wondrous “Sister Cities” and marvel how in 2015 most of the best rock albums are led by bands fronted by women (See also Courtney Barrett and Speedy Ortiz).

“Painted Shut” is the band’s second album and the songs across its all too brief 41 minutes impress like a smart interviewee in a new suit. In tracks like “Powerful Man,” we also see that Quinlan is not afraid to bare her soul and, in this case, deep regret. It deals with an incident that occurred when she was eighteen years old and failed to intervene when she witnessed a father beating his young son after school. The hurt in her voice is tangible not least to her teachers indifferent reaction. The song, despite its raw subject matter, is nevertheless a slice of pure pop gold. The same judgement applies to “Texas Funeral” a quiet/loud anthem full of choppy chords and ramshackle beauty. Other tracks like “Waitress” show that the band have studied “In an Aeroplane over the sea” diligently, in short “lo-fi but lush”. Throughout Quinlan’s band comrades provide solid support although to hear her “go acoustic” on “Happy to see me” showcases an extraordinary talent who these musicians must treasure and nurture.

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Hop Along have enough special ingredients to rise above the indie crowd and surgically strike in territory occupied by some of the most popular new US bands. They have recently supported “War on Drugs” and time in the company of the great Adam Granducial can do not harm. “Painted Shut” really is a very good album, full of gold medal songs and a singer to die for. ​