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Artist of the Month
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September 2015
Lithuania
"Hardcore Friends
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Lithuania’s debut full-length album Hardcore Friends via Lame-O Records begins with the mad-dashing punk jolt of “God In Two Persons.” The song quickly gathers momentum as a rush of power chords and percussion develop an instantaneous flow of energy, and Eric Slick’s controlled agitation questions and states, “What is on your mind?/You do it all the time.” “Pieces” pushes a crusty grunge aesthetic, as the spoken lyrics linger, embedding them in one’s mind. “I need something that I can’t hold on to./Please believe I would never do you wrong.” What initially speaks to a fundamental instrumental rawness is balanced by a melodic refinement.
 
Dominic Angelella unlocks the window of vulnerability in “I Wanna Drink Poison.”  A simple percussion and guitar allow his delicate vocals to etch a confession that aches with authenticity. Eventually, the light breeze of instrumentation transforms into a powerful gust, and Angelella laments, “I Don’t See Anybody.” With it’s bare acoustic guitar lead, “Coronation Day” provides an uplifting tonal change - a brief yet well-placed breath of fresh air. “Deaf Gene” begins with a gentle drifting before reaching a high-pressure, uncorked rage -  “…My hands are tired it’s the first time since time…” releasing the frustration until Angelella’s vocals soothe Slick’s aggression giving it a moment to simmer before relinquishing the reins and roaring to its conclusion.   
 
Densely packed drums and guitar quickly rouse one’s senses in “Place Of No Tomorrow,” revving the engine between short yet effective exhibitions of force. Its vocals are exuberant, while still having a disgruntled bite as that universally need for a new scene appears in the chorus reverberates, “God, this part of town is killing me./I need to breathe and see the place of no tomorrow.” Closing with its title track, Hardcore Friends leaves a lasting impression. As Angelella poignantly questions, “If I fall in love with an idea again, if I fall in love, would you make sure that I’m careful with it?” The guest vocals of Frances Quinlan (Hop Along) and Rachel Browne (Field Mouse/Anomie) offer a dynamic sense of earnest support as the album rumbles to a close.
 
A pair of hardcore friends in Eric Slick and Dominic Angelella has sealed its brotherly bond with an album that fuses punk-rock attitude and assertiveness with a resounding melodic pop sensibility. The energy and emotion are palpable. - Michael Colavita

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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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