Hop Along @ Riot Room With Doby Watson and La Guerre

Tomorrow, Hop Along, Doby Watson, and La Guerre will fill The Riot Room with their music in what will be one powerful show. The three acts, though occupying separate realms of indie rock, have one thing in common: the ability to craft catchy and unfathomably deep songs. When I say “deep” I don’t just mean lyrically, I mean that every aspect of their music adds multiple layers to their overall sound. This quality all but guarantees a show that will please even the most persnickety music fan.

Layering distorted and amorphous textures under his crystalline leads, Doby Watson writes songs that refuse to chose lushness or minimalism. The juxtaposition between these two aesthetics give Watson’s music a tension that is only compounded by the soundscapes his vocal melodies paint. Haunting without giving up catchiness, his sort of live sort of not cassette Live-In Son pulls together Wasteland-esque barrenness and post-post-modern existentialism in a way that mimics the drifting feeling that most 20 somethings feel. Combining this concept with instrumentals that build their own spaces to inhabit, Doby Watson’s music is a must listen for any fan of experimental folk.

La Guerre is no stranger to crafting pop rock diamonds. Whether solo or with Cowboy Indian Bear, Katlyn Conroy pushes her music to its absolute breaking point. A subtle mix of Weyes Blood, Bon Iver, Grouper, Animal Collective, and more, La Guerre’s songs are incredibly hard to classify. That said, there’s something satisfying about listening to something so fresh. Droning without losing the sharp hook of Conroy’s voice, folksy without looking to the future, melancholy without being oppressive, each moment in the Lawrence songwriter’s music bubbles with possibility.

Hop Along’s sophomore album, Painted Shut, is part-punk and part-Schomburg narrative and completely mesmerizing. The Philadelphia quartet turns diary entries into power-anthems, the surreal into genuine confessionals, and angst into all-consuming obsession. Under the band’s sharp lyrics, their guitar lines and rhythms are truncated and clipped giving their music a jerky feel, a sensation of walking down a dark tunnel not knowing where it ends. This feeling makes for songs that are powerfully muted and perfect for the stage. Hop Along’s Painted Shut screams live albums–what with its gruffness and distorted rhythms.

Whether you’re a fan of the barren landscapes of experimental Midwestern folk, the unclassifiable mixture of synthetic and acoustic arrangements, or the distorted, bluesy indie-punk (or all three), tomorrow’s show at The Riot Room will be an undeniable tour de force of musicianship. Doby Watson, La Guerre, and Hop Along all take the structures of their genre and bend them to fit their unique takes. You do not want to miss this show.

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