Posts Tagged ‘Joe Reinhart’

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It’s the beginning of November, and the thirty-three-year-old Hop Along Frances Quinlan is sitting in her living room, having just come from voting in a local election. She’s originally from North Jersey, and while careful to emphasize that she’s not a native Philadelphian, the affection for her adopted hometown is evident. “Philly is an incredible city full of people doing their best, who’ve lived here all their lives, and who want it to be a happy, healthy place. It’s cool to be around that.”

Quinlan’s new album, Likewise, is set for release January 31st, and while fans might regard it as her debut solo effort, that distinction actually belongs to 2005’s Freshman Year. Credited to Hop Along, Queen Ansleis, the self-released album—recorded in her parents’ basement—now serves as an overture to the spectacular trio of Hop Along albums that followed. Though a few friends played drums and banjo on some tracks, the record was effectively a solo endeavor, and if it doesn’t sound like one, that’s by design. “I just wanted so badly for it to sound like a band,” she laughs, “so I literally played bells and whistles, and tried to make it sound like more than just me.”

A decade later, Quinlan supervised a new vinyl pressing of Freshman Year, which proved tricky—though it wasn’t nearly as nerve-wracking as the initial release. “I was stamping burned CDs,” she recalls, “and the stamp I’d made was so bad, I decided to paint back onto the CDs with the same ink and a brush, because I wanted so badly for them to be special, to have meaning for people.” She has no idea how many of those hand-made treasures exist, but in the fifteen years since she assembled that first recording, she’s still enamored with experimentation. 

On Likewise, Quinlan enlisted the help of longtime bandmate and producer Joe Reinhart, who helped her flesh out the arrangements, and she’s animated as she describes the sessions. “Collaboration is so different when it’s you, the songwriter, and a producer, and you’re kind of producing together,” she explains. “For this project, we could do whatever we wanted—I even play drums on a couple of tracks,” she laughs before admitting, “I can’t play bass.” The pair’s crackling chemistry is apparent in every note, and across nine songs, a bevy of strings, chorals, and electronic elements telepathically track Quinlan’s magical, mercurial cadence.

As a lyricist, Quinlan is a poet, and reading through the verses which comprise Likewise, it’s tempting to see the tracks as a loosely connected narrative. Squint, and you can make out the telemetry of a rocky relationship. But Quinlan says the stories here are all abstract bits—which isn’t to say there’s no overarching theme. “A common thread would be attempts at discourse between loved ones,” she explains. “The people you’re closest to, you want them to understand you the most, right? And that can be so harrowing. It’s a hard thing to let go of who you were before, and not feel a sense of regression, not feel held back by the perception that others have of you. I don’t think it’s a hopeless record, by any means. But I do think it’s a challenge to speak your mind to the people you’re closest to.”

On the lead single “Rare Thing,” she recalls a surreal dream where barbs like, “I know there is love that doesn’t have to do with taking something from somebody” sting against a stippled synth. For “Detroit Lake,” she conjures images of a hawk striking prey, blooming algae, and words left unspoken, while the plaintive notes of “A Secret” mirror her lyrics’ portrait of geographical and emotional distance. At times, the syncopation between her vocals and the instrumentation is so effortless that it feels like she’s dynamically bending the instruments to her will. During the sessions, “I was thinking, in a different way, what the song needed,” Quinlan says. “I had no concrete, instrumental goal, and that kind of left the songs room to really wander and get strange.” She may call them “strange,” but overall the tracks are compulsively captivating, and with the spotlight on her fantastic voice, it seems like she’s present in any room where they’re played.  

Likewise closes with a cover of Built to Spill’s “Carry the Zero,” a song Quinlan has adored for years. As she relays that Doug Martsch is “cool” with her interpretation, our conversation shifts to the singers who’ve influenced her, and after quickly citing Kate Bush, Fiona Apple, and Neutral Milk Hotel’s Jeff Mangum, she turns pensive. “It’s tough, because you have people you love, but you’ll never in a million years sound like,” she considers. “There are so many vocalists I revere, that I wish I could emulate.

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Frances Quinlan has among one of the most instantly recognizable voices in indie rock. As the lead singer of Philadelphia band Hop Along, she’s been at the front of two of this decade’s best rock albums, 2014’s Painted Shut, and 2018’s Bark Your Head Off, Dog, one of our favorite albums of that year. Her voice is a raspy force that touches on everything from punk to freak-folk. Hop Along originally began as Quinlan’s solo project, but now she’s releasing her first-ever solo album under her own name. The first single, “Rare Thing,” is a real stunner and surely a harbinger of things to come. Quinlan recorded the album with her Hop Along bandmate Joe Reinhart, who encouraged her to explore new sounds, at The Headroom studio in Philly. “Working with Joe on this made me able to better see that the guitar is just one vehicle … there are so many others to explore,” Quinlan said in a statement.

Frances Quinlan – Rare Thing from the album Likewise out January 31st, 2020

Frances Quinlan: vocals, synthesizer in verses, Rhodes, tambourine Joe Reinhart: electric guitar, synthesizer in choruses, synthetic percussion arrangements, drums up until 1:44 Tyler Long: bass guitar Mark Quinlan: Drums after 1:44 (as well as additions to 1st chorus) Mary Lattimore: harp

Frances Quinlan – Now That I’m Back from the album Likewise out January 31st, 2020

Frances Quinlan: vocals, electric and acoustic guitar, synthesizer (with friendly addition from Mark in 2nd verse) Joe Reinhart: Rhodes, synthetic bass

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

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!