My favorite album of the year so far is Hop Along’s Get Disowned, which is weird, because it came out in 2012.
Hop Along is a Philadelphia alt-rock trio that brings to mind the artful relationship portraits of Rilo Kiley mixed in with the pure anguish of … I want to say Taking Back Sunday but I know I can come up with something more appropriate. What you need to know is that Hop Along songs are like an axe. They smash and cut through to the core of things. The guitars on a song like “Tibetan Pop Stars” dip in and out of the background, coming in with a gritty aggression at all the right moments and a little more attitude at every reappearance.
But the reason Hop Along and the amazing “Tibetan Pop Stars” soars is vocalist/guitarist Frances Quinlan.
A lot of lead singers that happen to be female are well-regarded for their breezy, airy style and lilting melodies. I don’t point that out to be disparaging; I like those vocalists too. But someone like Frances really feeds a visceral hunger that is uncommonly addressed. Her voice isn’t light, it’s textured and from the depths. She doesn’t soar above the music, she gets down in the muck with it. It’s wonderful.
Listen to her on “Tibetan Pop Stars” thrash all over the place, shredding her throat, attempting peaks and valleys and peaks in a single breath. On some notes you worry she’s not going to crack just short of it, but it’s okay, the courage and the struggle makes it better.
I started listening to Get Disowned just as 2013 was coming to a close and I’m still in it in 2014. If you’re like me and not with-the-times enough to discover the album when it was actually released, you should really get their whole album and listen that shit end to end.