Philadelphia’s DIY scene has been a cornerstone of the underground emo resurgence
. The jumpy, chaotic sound of Algernon Cadwallader, Snowing, and the like was its best-known export around the end of the aughts, but lately a fascinating range of bands has come out of the City of Brotherly Love playing emo that departs from the Cap'n Jazz template—and for my money the chief among them is Hop Along
. On last year’s visceral, beautiful Get Disowned
(Hot Green) the trio combines the huge, charged guitar jabs and coiled drumming from emo’s first wave with wispy, folky acoustic-guitar melodies and the occasional resplendent piano line that might as well be lifted straight out of a choral indie-pop tune. Front woman Frances Quinlan provides plenty of catharsis with her husky singing, despite its limited range—she alternates between a grainy whisper and a searing scream that sounds like it’s ruining her voice (and she sounds like she knows it). On "Diamond Mine"
she’s especially raw, delivering lyrics about "parents whose children long for divorce" with gut-wrenching force. —Leor Galil