Song of the Day: Hop Along - Waitress

Song of the Day
05/21/2015
Jacob Webb
photo by Shervin Lainez

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on The Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is “Waitress” by Hop Along from the 2015 album Painted Shut on Saddle Creek.

Hop Along - Waitress (MP3)

Powered by heartland punk dynamics and singer Frances Quinlan's powerhouse voice, Hop Along's sincere emotional reflections have as much energy as they do earnestness. Hop Along began as Quinlan's lo-fi recording project under its original moniker Hop Along, Queen Ansleis. As Quinlan expanded the project into a full band – including her brother Mark on drums, Tyler Long on bass, and Joe Reinhart on guitar – the band's sound became appropriately bigger and Quinlan's songs became more lyrically intricate and vocally explosive. By the release of their 2012 full-band debut, Get Disowned, the quartet were local favorites in independent punk circles and their hometown of Philadelphia. The release of their second album as a band, this year's Painted Shut, was met with a new wave of national buzz for "Philadelphia's best kept secret." If Hop Along really were one of Philadelphia's hidden gems, it takes all of five seconds of "Waitress" for the band to announce their arrival on a bigger stage. Frances Quinlan, whose voice comes straight from the same building-leveling school as that of Sleater-Kinney's Corin Tucker, grabs the spotlight with her gloriously all-over-the-place performance, spouting out admissions and observations with reckless abandon as her bandmates match follow her through every musical peak and valley. "Waitress" is about Frances's experiences waitressing in Philadelphia, but its small-scale setting belies the song's intensity: "Waitress" extracts the minutiae of serving coffee to unhappy customers for the umpteenth time, blows them up in musical form, and turns those feelings into a kill-your-blues anthem for basement shows everywhere.

Hop Along will play in Seattle next week on Friday, May 29th, to perform as part of KEXP’s Hood-To-Hood Day in West Seattle, joining John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats, Miami Horror, and Telekinesis for a free outdoor celebration. Later that night, they'll play Chop Suey. Get tickets to that 21+ show here and keep up with the band at their Facebook and Tumblr. For now, check out the video for another song from the new album called "Powerful Man":

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