Frances Quinlan’s voice is arguably the most exciting thing in rock music today. The Hop Along lead singer’s dramatic vocal repertoire includes a dulcet tone, hushed whispers and a feral growl that appears in bursts and virtually without warning throughout her songs. Sometimes Quinlan utilizes all three in one breath, with devastating effect.
The Philadelphia-based project started out as a lo-fi solo effort by Quinlan around 2005. That nascent, mostly acoustic version of the band, known then as Hop Along, Queen Ansleis, owed much to her love of freak folk. But with the addition of Frances’ brother Mark Quinlan on drums, the project began to evolve into more of a collaboration with competing stylistic poles. In the years to come, bassist Tyler Long and guitarist Joe Reinhart joined the Quinlans, the group shortened their name, and Hop Along’s signature dissonant rock sound fell into place around Frances Quinlan’s remarkable vocals.
As a four-piece, the band has released three critically acclaimed full-length records, including 2018’s masterful “Bark Your Head Off, Dog.” Before a recent performance at Wonder Ballroom in Portland, Hop Along performed songs for us from that record. Frances Quinlan also chatted with us about how she learned to sing, her adolescent love of Marilyn Manson and how her bandmates’ disparate styles come together during the writing process.
Audio Mixes: Steven Kray
Recordings: Nalin Silva
Cameras: Nick McClurg, Nate Sjol, Jarratt Taylor, Jennifer Sowell, Sararosa Davies
Editor: Jarratt Taylor
Executive Producer: David Christensen