Philadelphia's Hop Along started humbly, with vocalist/guitarist Frances Quinlan using the band's debut album Freshman Year as a means to take bare bones, highly-affecting songs and build them into something grandiose. As years passed, Quinlan assembled a full band—with her brother Mark on drums and Tyler Long on bass—the result of this sonic expansion leading to the Wretches 10-inch in 2009, and last year's nearly perfect Get Disowned. The album is notable for its folk-gone-indie-punk approach, coupled with massive choruses and Quinlan's personal, soul-crushing lyricism (we'll continue to assume The National's new album is the prequel to Get Disowned's “Trouble Found Me” until we're told otherwise).
With the band continuing to grow in both esteem and membership—its new five-piece line-up brings in Algernon Cadwallader bassist Peter Helmis on keys (who released Get Disowned on his label Hot Green Records) and engineer Joe Reinhart on guitar—Hop Along took part in a Shaking Through session, resulting in the rollicking “Sister Cities.” While the song maintains the deliberate and delicate intimacy of its former work, the documented recording process shows Hop Along coupling distorted guitars and rock ‘n’ roll tactics throughout, embracing its enhanced range of sound.
Shaking Through filmed the writing, recording, and mixing process for “Sister Cities,” the videos of which can all be seen below, and the finished version can be downloaded for free through its website. For those with a desire to pour over the session's detailed liner notes, including a full list of recording equipment, instruments, engineers, and much more, that's all detailed on the site as well. If you're into that sort of thing.