The Key Studio Sessions: Hop Along
Frances Quinlan always wanted a band. You could hear it on Freshman Year, the 2006 debut record she released under the name Hop Along, Queen Ansleis. Its sparse structures were dressed up in noisemakers, train whistles, toy sounds—stuff you might expect to hear on early Daniel Johnston tapes. Over time, Quinlan’s act evolved, bringing her brother (and powerhouse drummer) Mark into the fold, along with a rotating cast of others (currently including Tyler Long on bass). Nowadays truncated as just Hop Along, the band seems poised to explode with massive Big Muff riffs, serpentine lyrical puzzles, and music as rooted in punk as it is in DIY folk. At least that’s how it sounded at the band’s Key Studio Session, recorded last month with guest engineer Madeleine Lesperance. The set is a showcase of what Quinlan and her cohorts have done over time—the roomy autoharp take on her early number “The Breakfast Song”; the massive guitar epic “Sally,” from 2009’s Wretches EP. It also takes a peek at what they’re doing next: two new songs, the teasingly playful “Kids,” the heart-wrenching “Tibetan Pop Stars,” from the full-length Hop Along plans to release in the fall. Stream the songs below, tune in to Y-Rock’s Philly Local Second Shift on June 9 to hear my interview with the band, as well as Quinlan’s solo acoustic cover of Johnston’s “True Love Will Find You In the End.” Then, catch Hop Along on June 10 when it plays the First Unitarian Church with Dangerous Ponies.