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Artist of the Month
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July 2016
Spring Onion
"Please Relax
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Catherine Dwyer, also known as the guitarist for the alt-rock outfit Sports, offers fans the perfect soundtrack for summer feelings with the release of her solo EP Please Relax. Recorded under the moniker Spring Onion, her new album is DIY at its best. Mostly written and recorded within the walls of her Philadelphia home, Please Relax is an intimate portrait of yearning, infused with dream-pop nostalgia, heartfelt riffs, and candid poetics.

 

“Egg (Driving Song),” the EP’s opener, unfolds with an Aimee Mann-meets-Girlpool earnestness. Telling the story of a commute clouded by desire, the song is a catchy confessional, with lines like “I'm sorry for what I said and didn't say” and “I'll write songs about my flaws/cause that's a way to self absolve.” The lo-fi grit of Dwyer’s anthem instantly tugs at the heartstrings, transforming even the most jaded listener into a hopeful romantic with each iteration of its fuzzed-out beats.

 

That sentiment is extended on "Chili". Twangy chords are quickly followed by Dwyer’s straightforward but evocative vocals, bringing to mind Built To Spill’s “Carry the Zero” and B-sides by indie darlings like The Babies. The track, although laidback, is unflinchingly sincere, the steady build of its instrumentation, urging its audience to actively listen and exist in the moment. The hissing snare and piano of “Poem 3 (Piano)” cast a similar spell, making each reprise of “but I don’t live alone” a testament to the millennial plight of finding solace in a shared space, while the EP’s title track and atmospheric closer serves as a suitably melodic mantra to calm the anxieties and emotional side effects of living.

 

Despite its brevity, the openness of Please Relax is astonishingly raw and brave. Listening to her songs will remind you that you’re not alone. - Dianca London

 

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scene blog

Album Review: Get Disowned - Hop Along

Album Review: Get Disowned - Hop Along

A simple interwoven electric guitar riff accents rough, acoustic guitar strums, and then singer/songwriter Frances Quinlan’s wispy, lilting vocals enter the equation like a glimpse of sunlight parting the clouds of an overcast sky. Thus, begins Hop Along’s latest full-length album Get Disowned.
 
Opener “Some Grace,” a subtle bare-boned introduction, shares a bit of the fragility and vulnerability that can be found in Quinlan’s lyrics. The song morphs into faint electronic bleeps dissolving into a serene calm. However, the pending storm arises with the following track and the album’s lead single “Tibetan Pop Stars,” which cuts through the tranquility with boisterously dirty power chords and rolling thunder drumbeats. Once again, the vocals seem to play peacemaker, a calming force among the turmoil. That is, until the chorus takes flight, then falls to earth with the repeated lines “nobody deserves you the way that I do,” which gradually rises from the ashes of a broken heart. “No Good Al Joad” is paced by steady downhill bursts of acoustic guitar that is pierced by the interloping hammer of a pickaxe electric guitar. Quinlan’s vocals strain in an effect that expresses the emotive tug and pull of the narrative. This all comes to a head after a brief percussive interlude, which captures the ear signaling for audience participation. She reveals, “You are my favorite, because you are a long shot. You are my enemy, because you forgot.” This is just before pulling back into a corner to protect herself as she gathers the strength to share a bit of philosophical wisdom and universal truth: “Everybody is a little hard to love sometimes.”
 
With the precise production work of Algernon Cadwallader’s Joe Reinhart, Get Disowned is a balance between agitated artillery-style rock with intimate, late night confessional vocals that dig their nails into your skin while simultaneously whispering sweet nothings into your ear. Despite the constant presence of distinctly tenacious guitar thrashes, Quinlan’s lyrical message remains a priority. It is often aided by the fact that the vocals are directed at the listener. In this manner, Hop Along invites us into an emotionally turbulent household leaving no curtains drawn or door locked.
 
You can purchase Get Disowned via Hot Green Records. Hop Along will also be celebrating its release tomorrow night at The First Unitarian with Bandname, Little Big League and Mary Lattimore. - Michael Colavita

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