via Tonje Thilesen

Earlier this month, I wondered out loud if indie rock was making a conscious effort to embrace the Year of the Dog in the early days of 2018. In two weeks time, DIY indie pop wunderkind Sidney Gish’s No Dogs Allowed entered our periphery, the promising new single from Nashville-via-NYC indie songwriter Soccer Mommy called “Your Dog,” soon followed and...well, that was about it. But now, I’m starting to think the indie rock community held some sort of Year of the Dog summit, because we’ve got another one, baby.

Philadelphia mainstays Hop Along just announced their fourth studio album, and it’s called... Bark Your Head Off, Dog, out on April 6 via Saddle Creek Records. As they say: Two’s company, three’s a crowd, and also a trend! Dogs are officially trendy. It’s math.

Hop Along has also shared the lead single, “How Simple,” which doesn’t say much of anything about dogs or barking. What it is, however: a knotty, dance-y tune, in which singer Frances Quinlan moves from a hushed whisper to a beautiful rasp better than anyone, working within the confines of complex pop song structures to give us their catchiest song ever. Great turns of phrase about diagnosing your ability (or inability to love) and the passing of time, too.

I can’t confirm or deny whether there are any more dog references on Bark, but given one of the last lyrics on “Sister Cities,” their previous album Painted Shut’s closer—“Honey, you know I had to shoot that dog you loved so much/ You know I had to do it”—we can’t rule it out. I know it’s just a character talking, too, but please don’t kill any more dogs, Hop Along. Thanks!

Have you heard any recent indie rock songs in the canine family? Drop me a line: shawn@trackrecord.net