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Bark Your Head Off, Dog

by Hop Along

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1.
How Simple 03:48
I suppose one who hasn’t seen the earlier frames could say I am advancing I am advancing Pale as a banshee sun— think I should stop checking myself out in the windows of cars, when I could see my future in her pictures of relatives How simple my heart can be How simple my heart can be frightens me Don’t worry we will both find out, just not together. Your hand was on me It seemed like you were being sweet Here I am, again at the reserve to drink It’s not that I thought like all of a sudden you change We were covered in each other’s snot in my childhood bed It seemed like we were being sweet Her pictures of relatives How simple my heart can be How simple my heart can be frightens me
2.
There you have it, the beginning and the end The intern’s shovel still covered in shit Death, indiscriminate drags off the newborn buck with the broken leg In the shadow of conversations had while I was asleep not to mention the years of conversations you’ve had without me Afternoon vanilla sun crawls away across the lawn through the phone I pull you and drag your voice around Afternoon vanilla sun crawls away without a sound Through the phone I pull you and drag your voice around You don’t know I know what’s wrong Notification: 8 executions by drug to beat the expiration A shelf life of reason, is that what this was Arkansas? Somewhere, a judge stretches himself out on fine tropical sand I went back to work then took the train home I saw a fire in the distance Afternoon vanilla sun crawls away across the lawn Through the phone I pull you and drag your voice around Afternoon vanilla sun crawls away without a sound Through the phone I pull you and drag your voice around I don’t know why I’m so mean each time I come to visit I don’t know why I’m so mean each time I come around
3.
Poured the professor into a cab, avoiding as best as one can the voice of a doomed man condemning his students in my lack of power I knew him I can hear you; The whole bar can. The supervisor lied over the phone He never got up to check next door on that nineteen year old kid who came in to work, but was nonetheless reconvicted Over the counter, Nora told me all about it I can hear you; The whole bar can I know what you’d like me to say, but you got to do exactly what you wanted That’s how you got your limp All your strength came from her humiliation I can hear you I can’t do anything Quitting the bar perfectly understood in the end he will be leaving a garbage tip as his revenge
4.
Not Abel 04:36
The whole town lined up outside the tent what those kids thought they saw- do you really want to remember this? Today, think of all the alien shots in the dark, that at one time, all at once, coexisted I mean aside from all the burning Hurry by the shanties beside the road Sunset on a cart pulled home by a white horse Conscience of the husband was righteous and coarse There must be a limit—if we only circle around there’s no hurry in reaching it Shirt bloodstained and yet it was not Abel but Cain who got to hear the voice that for so long had been a stranger Not one word of all the time They spent growing up brothers Even love Yes even love, something to lose What if the details there were suddenly shared? Tender moments siblings keep secret Sunset on a time when no words could be spared. Unknowing mother rocks soft in her chair There must be a limit This has happened This will happen This is happening Voice on the radio again strange to be shaped by such strange men It’s the hottest summer again Strange to be shaped by such strange men—but where will you go? where Where? Where? When you asked me that question, it sounded like a joke a rubber hand extended to shake Outside my kitchen the sound of fists on the door in the early morning light A death! So small and sentimental Daddy giving the middle finger to the Kodak lens when I saw her face she smiled, “I don’t know why I saved it all this time.”
5.
The youngest but that does not matter now she and her sister laugh I was asleep with my mouth open the whole drive down on a sheet on the beach small lunatic birds We watch them as they rush and retreat No, I wasn’t changed tonight or it has not yet been recognized When we saw the fox run just a few feet in front of us I thought something must be wrong; she looked like decay in motion We saw the fox run like a ghost lost and embarrassed I thought something must be wrong she must be sick Cousin take me home All the way off in the city His distant regret The youngest— but that does not matter now Her sister and I on opposite ends of the beach Island after island Go the thoughts within Each of us off on our own in the dark scavenging me on my phone scavenging Cousin take me home All the way off in the city His distant regret How can I explain it having been seen What would that mean?
6.
Meanwhile, the scientist, pounding on his skull his skull—two blew themselves away working on it In storms the general Grabbed him by his collar “Well you old crackpot, what have you got to say?” In an open field, man is guilty always mud is yellow and the ground is moving sun is yellow and the ground is moving. The ground is moving The century turned and your old man stumbled in saying, “Of course I am for peace. One that suits me.” For the first time the Captain’s at my side Look now, here the Padre comes here he comes about to go on his lunchbreak “Son, you and I both know the real criminal is time I understand your crime but what makes you think you’ve got the right to be young?” In an open field, man is guilty always. The century turned and your old man stumbled in, saying “Of course I am for peace. One that suits me.” And now the mother of them all, she is just about to fall In the history of man reality becomes softened
7.
Gold, alone clinging to a stem Pretty soon this will be a skeleton Metropolises before silent and smoldering Above the wild giant wailed Never will I do that again So strange to be shaped by such strange men Elizabeth, explain what the writer meant That God is the one who changed. The General, Buck toothed, bright eyed frothing red. Baltimore, you on the floor me on the edge of the bed We saw him in one brutal gesture tear that rabbit open You turned to me, “Isn’t this Supposed to be for children?” So strange to be shaped by such strange moments Elizabeth, the train when will I see you again? Will you tell me your mind has changed? So strange was I shaped for just this moment? Elizabeth, explain what the writer meant.
8.
Look of Love 06:11
Jane Austen in the hospital Your handwriting on the legal pad was barely legible Waiting, I wonder if I could go all the way back would any of it still scare me for example the labrador down the street Mom carried me down from off the car Neighbor scolded I’d upset him every time he took off my thoughts got dark and menacing Go on Romeo, bark your head off My last terror of ignorance is still to come couldn’t quit it, you dumb dog chasing speeding cars I heard the engine and then you lay like a good boy on the hot summer tar That night, the awful relief Now, what are ya gonna do to me? First symptom of guilt then became a permanent shame And now I can get close enough, close enough to see you’re overgrown with a look of love I still dream of spiders crawling across my bed The present, I have no place in it. I still dream of being watched, but not by—well, I know your thoughts on the matter we don’t need to discuss it Around 3 am you will come to your roommate’s pissed his sheets right through years from now, you will build beautiful black flowers I came home and you directed with your hardened hand all of your birds who have come back to dine and rest in your garden again They’ve come to rest in your garden Now I can get close enough, close enough to see you’re overgrown with a look of love. Bark your head off, dog
9.
Prior Things 05:42
Just a few minutes after taking them, I realized hundreds of buzzing flies were all over me I looked up and there you were reading You were on vacation vacation means leave means obliterate all prior things Here, why don’t I try why don’t I try to make you mine why – is a lack of imagination the crime? why don’t I try why don’t I try to make you mine why don’t I back you up against this moment So when you finally go when you choose to go I resume my little lower road and nobody needs to know will know that I ever meant to leave my little lower road I watch the bird feeder out back in my parents’ yard the weight of that bluejay the bully steals it all And what must happen in your mind when you create those silences— Nevermind, I don’t want to see I know it’s got nothing to do with me. Here, why don’t I try why don’t I try to move aside? I’m still soft I’m still in my prime Why don’t I try Why don’t I try to move aside I’m still soft it’s still my time And when you finally go when you choose to go I resume my little lower road Nobody needs to know will know that I was only holding your place on this, your little lower road Your little lower road

about

Written over the course of 2016 and 2017 and recorded in the summer of the latter year by Frances Quinlan (songwriter/vocalist/rhythm guitar), Tyler Long (bass), Joe Reinhart (guitar), and Mark Quinlan (drums), the album addresses disappointment, particularly in man's misuse of power, and relates accounts from the periphery -- one's attempts to retreat from the lengthening shadows of tyrants, both historical and everyday. It considers what it’s like to cast off longheld and misguided perceptions, yet without the assurance of knowing what new ones will replace them. Much like on Hop Along’s first and second records, Get Disowned and Painted Shut, Quinlan seeks in real time to work through these issues.

Throughout the album, one gets the sense that Quinlan is wandering in the thicket of a forest—a state of being that will feel familiar to longtime listeners—and on this outing, they haven’t left a trail of breadcrumbs behind them. The album’s artwork, which Quinlan painted themself, invites the listener into that forest, as well. “There is a terror in getting lost,” they say, “the woods are at the same time beautiful and horrifying.” This curious wandering gives the album, both lyrically and musically, a heightened dimensionality.

Bark Your Head Off, Dog is, without question, Hop Along’s most dynamic and textured record yet. Self-produced and recorded at The Headroom in Philadelphia by Reinhart and Kyle Pulley, Bark Your Head Off, Dog features the familiar sounds that have always made the band allergic to genre: grunge, folk, punk, and power pop all appear, with inspiration from ELO to Elvis Costello to ‘70s girl group vocal arrangements. This time around, they’ve added strings, more intricate rhythms, lush harmonies (featuring Thin Lips’ Chrissy Tashjian), along with a momentary visit with a vocoder. In more than one place, Mark Quinlan drums like he’s at a disco with Built to Spill.

Most significantly, Bark Your Head Off, Dog shows the band at its strongest and most cohesive. Hop Along (which originally began as Quinlan’s solo project under the moniker Hop Along, Queen Ansleis) has never sounded so deliberate, so balanced. “So strange to be shaped by such strange men” is a line that repeats on more than one song on the album. “I’ve been thinking about that a lot. That I just deferred to men throughout my life,” Quinlan says. “But by thinking you’re powerless, you’re really robbing yourself. I’m at a point in my life where I’m saying instead, ‘Well, what can I do?’”

credits

released April 6, 2018

Produced by Joe Reinhart and Hop Along

Written by Frances Quinlan and Hop Along (ASCAP)

Engineered by Kyle Pulley and Joe Reinhart at The Headroom in Philadelphia

Assistants Pat Quigley Ethan Farmer Ben Weiss

Additional Engineering by
Mark Watter
Phil Edfers
Jackie Milestone
Shane Woods

Mixed and Mastered by Ryan Schwabe, Rare MP3s, Philadelphia

Artwork and layout by Frances, except Canvasbacks, by her mother

2018 Saddle Creek

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Hop Along Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Hop Along is Frances Quinlan, Mark Quinlan, Tyler Long, and Joe Reinhart who all went to rural suburban high schools (except for Joe, who went to a suburban suburban high school). Eventually they moved to Philly and started playing music together.

Get Disowned is their first full-length release. It was made piece by piece, over the course of two years, at Headroom Studios in North Philadelphia
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