The term “indie rock” has lost most of its meaning in our current musical environment. It used to symbolize a rougher, less-polished brand of rock and roll made by the likes of Pavement and Modest Mouse. If that’s the style of indie rock you like, you should be listening to Hop Along‘s new album Painted Shut. This Philadelphia band, fronted by Frances Quinlan, whose vocal styles range from a Tegan and Sara-esque twee, to a throaty Courtney Love howl, have that perfect blend of melody, apathy and rage that keeps their songs engaging and anthemic without being cheesy. They could easily garner Cranberries-comparisons, but have nothing has sparkly as “Dreams” in their repertoire.
There are a range of emotions in the songs, to a wistful melancholy in “Buddy in the Parade”, to raucous satisfaction on “Texas Funeral”.
If it was still the 90’s, Hop Along would likely be sent to play Lilith Fair, only to be kicked out when their guitars got too loud (J. Mascis would be applauding them somewhere on earth). There’s a confidence to their songs that is lacking in a lot of similar bands. “Waitress” carries some boastful lyrics and uplifting riffs, and ends with a chorus of empowering screams.
Check out stand-out track “Sister Cities”