December 2, 2012

Hop Along

Scenes of twinkly white Christmas tree lights posing against the bone chilling temperatures of a typical New England winter during the month of December tend to get AwkwardSound reaching for something aggressive, stirring and yet, cozy at the same time. Last year, it was Joyce Manor's self-titled debut, and the year before that, I'm fairly certain that a leak of Lemuria's Pebble made for the perfect cuddle buddy stand-in. In 2012, it's Philadelphia three-piece Hop Along who are supplying that subtle -- but sometimes fiery -- candlelit flame with their own agenda of emotive indie punk. Unlike the former two bands, fitting this trio into one area of the genre's spectrum or another doesn't come so easy. Hop Along got their start in 2010, originally as frontwoman Frances Quinlan's solo folk-punk project (then known as Hop Along, Queen Ansleis), and while the current incarnation still features the occasional sliding guitar and twang, its bent thoughtfully into restrained tempos by her brother, drummer Mark Quinlan and fellow Philly recruit Tyler Long on bass. While Frances has adjusted her guitar stylings to an occasional rip and chug of a crackly power chord as well, the nerve endings of Hop Along's sound still focus on her endearingly not-so-pitch perfect melodies that tend to open up their heart the more she drags herself through the dirt. If not for Quinlan's existential think-out-loud sessions about deeply-wrought life themes such as self-detachment and personal loss, they've a sound that makes placing their debut album Get Disowned (released earlier this year on Hot Green Records) a perfect bridge between your Promise Ring and Bright Eyes album collections. In the past year, they've also managed to become touring darlings with everyone from bratty punks to hardcore dudes in basements thanks to a broad-minded road schedule that has seen them share the stage with the likes of past BUZZSound alumni Touché Amoré, the aforementioned Joyce Manor and Swearin'. With friends in all facets of the scene's underground, it's no wonder why everyone wants to curl up to some Hop Along these days...

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