Indie rock outfits Hop Along (from Philly) and The Sidekicks (from Columbus, Ohio) play a double header show at The First Unitarian Church tonight. Don’t miss it because Hop Along has two new songs they plan to debut on this tour. Check out show details and get tickets here. Watch The Sidekicks perform “Grace” in their Vegas Stripped Down Session and Hop Along’s video for “Sister Cities” below.
Pretty awesome news from the Guild Shows crew: Philly’s Hop Along and Columbus four-piece The Sidekicks – who toured Europe together this spring – will reconvene here in Philly to headline the basement of the First Unitarian Church on September 3rd. Tickets for the all-ages show are $10 in advance, $12 at the door and go on sale this Friday the 19th at noon via R5 Productions, and more information can be found at the show’s Facebook event page. Below, listen to tracks from each of the bands and watch an interview with Hop Along frontwoman Frances Quinlan filmed on the European tour.
Hop Along, the Philly art-punk three-piece who recently recorded an outstanding Shaking Through Session, played at House of Vans free concert series this past weekend in New York. As first of three acts, Hop Along warmed up the crowd for Title Fight and Fucked Up, showing some real energy in summer heat of New York City. Below, check out a video of the band performing
“Kids on the Boardwalk” at the show; you can also see Title Fight playing “Shed / 27″ here.
Hop Along stepped into Miner Street Recording to experience a Shaking Through Session recently. Arranged and recorded in just two days, “Sister Cities” features lead singer Frances Quinlan’s powerful and artistic delivery. Stream and download the song below and learn more about the session here.
Earlier today, the folks at Weathervane Music debuted the latest installment in their Shaking Through series – a gritty, poppy number from Philly’s Hop Along called “Sister Cities.” The song is loosely based on Günter Grass’ book The Tin Drum, it was written this winter and recorded over the course of 24 hours at Fishtown’s Miner Street Studios. This is something of a change of pace for Hop Along – frontwoman Frances Quinlan is an admitted perfectionist, and their excellent 2012 LP Get Disowned was the result of two years of hard work at Headroom Studios. What was it like going into a situation where they had to finish the song in a day? How did “Sister Cities” grow from its solo beginnings we heard at Quinlan’s PhilaMOCA show in January to the rager we hear today? And will this experience change how Hop Along works in the studio? I caught up with Quinlan at Johnny Brenda’s last week to find the answers to these questions and more.
The Key: How would you say songs, this one in particular, change between when you first write and when you have a finished / recorded project?
Frances Quinlan: This was really different from songs I’ve worked out in the past; it’s been a while since I’ve really felt like I had to beat the shit out of a song. I remember reading this interview with Tom Waits and he was talking about how some songs come to you in a dream and some songs are like a dance. And some songs you have to drag kicking and screaming and, like, fight with them. I really felt like this song was a fight. I remember we were jamming it a while back and everyone was like, “yeah, you know, this is cool.” But we really did not have strong feelings about it until we got in the studio and hashed it out. The structure was the same, but the feeling of it changed in the studio.
TK: So when you say, “when we got in the studio” do you mean you got to Miner Street and didn’t know that was song you were going to record?
FQ: No, we knew. We had no other song that I really felt confident enough to say, “oh sure we could make this work in a day”. This one started out as a very straight song. I thought it was mellow! To me it was like a uniform feeling all the way through, but it was steady and I was like, “that’s what we have, this is what we can work with, we can do something and it won’t be terrible”…you know? But no, we got in there and it was like 75 percent, 80 percent done. It needed some character to it. But that’s why you take that shit to a studio and figure it out! [laughs]
We’ve been pretty geeked out about this month’s installment of Weathervane Music’s Shaking Through series since telltale hints about it popped up on Instagram a couple months back. Philly’s Hop Along – architects of the best album of 2012, Get Disowned – stepped into Miner Street Recordings this spring with a brand new song, “Sister Cities,” in tow. If you caught Frances Quinlan’s solo set at The Key’s Tuesday Tune-Out back in January, you heard her perform a very early version of it – one that the band fleshed out to tremendous effect with engineer Jonathan Low and producer Brian McTear. It’s simultaneously Hop Along at their poppiest, most anthemic/accessible, and also their most raging. Listen and download the track below, watch the documentary video and be on the lookout for our interview with Quinlan about her Shaking Through experience later today.
Portland indie-punk power trio The Thermals returned to Philly on Saturday with their new album, Desperate Ground, in tow. Before the band played to a teeming crowd of devoted fans, local favorites Hop Along and Cayetana turned in impressive performances.
First and foremost, shout outs to Cayetana for their opening set. I saw this Seattle-esque punk three piece play an awkward set in a north Philly basement earlier this year that left me skeptical of their merits. This time, everyone outside Union Transfer was raving about how much they rocked the crowd, particularly Kelly Olsen, who pushed her heart out on the drums and into the crowd.
Hop Along was even more impressive. Frances Quinlan’s raspy siren voice leads me through a raw, childishly uninhibited path. Her abstract lyrics and pounding rapid riffs take my heartstrings for a leash. Mark Quinlan’s work on the drums honestly sent me into a trance for “Young and Happy,” and supported the ensemble of Frances, bassist Tyler Long and second guitar player Joe Reinhart (formerly of Algernon Cadwalader). Hop Along opened with a brand new song called “Sister Cities” – it’s a rager and it’s catchy, and will be released in next week’s installment of the Shaking Through series – rightfully finished with their biggest hit, “Tibetan Pop Stars, but the whole album resonates with this writer. My only complaint is they played at a faster tempo than what’s released on Get Disowned, but I also understand the time crunch and anxiety muddled into being an opening act at Union Transfer.
The Thermals took the stage permeating electricity and facing honest-to-god crowd worship. The Oregon three-piece’s whole set was intense; lead singer Hutch Harris and drummer Westin Glass repeatedly jumped into the crowd to dance and be surrounded by their Philly devotees (because there is really no other way to describe the crowd’s reaction to when they started playing). Harris has the rawest face I’ve ever seen playing a set. It contorts into a pleading frown, and it shoots through to his pulsing neck veins and rigid shoulders every time he slams down on his guitar. The pit swelled when they started playing “How We Know” a few songs in and lasted until their final encore of “No Culture Icons.” By “Here’s Your Future,” the pit spanned the length of the stage in a clapping, dancing, nodding moshing mess of human beings. Check out a gallery of photos from the show below.