With their UK tour starting today, Skating Polly have announced details of their new album ‘Chaos Country Line’, set for release on June 23rd via El Camino Media. Along with the news, they have shared a raucous first track from the record and accompanying video, “Hickey King”.
Over the past decade, few artists have embodied the unbridled freedom of punk like Skating Polly. Formed when stepsisters Kelli Mayo and Peyton Bighorse were just 9 and 14, the band have channeled their chameleonic musicality into a sound they call “Ugly Pop,” unruly and subversive and wildly melodic. With Kelli’s brother Kurtis Mayo joining on drums in 2017, they’ve also built a close-knit community of fans while earning the admiration of their musical forebears, a feat that’s found them collaborating with icons like X’s Exene Cervenka and Beat Happening’s Calvin Johnson, touring with Babes In Toyland, and starring as the subject of a feature-length documentary. On their forthcoming double album ‘Chaos County Line’, Skating Polly reach a whole new level of self-possession, ultimately sharing their most expansive and emotionally powerful work to date.
The follow-up to 2018’s ‘The Make It All Show’, ‘Chaos County Line’ finds Skating Polly showcasing the depth of their growth, both as songwriters and personally. Whether they’re opening up about matters internal (identity, disassociation, unhealthy coping mechanisms) or external (obsession, deception, gaslighting), Skating Polly imbue that outpouring with an unfettered emotional truth.
On the album’s frenetic lead single “Hickey King,” online now, Kelli and Peyton trade off vocals as they share their distinct perspectives on closely related experiences—in this case, the minefield of power dynamics in sex and relationships. “In Peyton’s verse she’s talking about never knowing how far to go or how much of yourself to give to someone, and when my part comes crashing in it’s about guys being possessive and always trying to leave their mark on you,” Kelli says. “To me it’s the most Skating Polly song on the record, because it’s all these different energies happening at once.”
Speaking on the accompanying video, she adds: “The Hickey King video was special to us for lots of reasons. First of all, it was very important to me that it have a “live performance” element because we’d been playing it live for a year and it just feels massive to jump around to and feed off the audience’s energy. The setting for the performance stuff couldn’t have been lovelier, as it was an all ages space (Real Art Tacoma) in our home town and we were decked out in vintage clothes from our favorite local shop Scorpio Rising. Felt like we had to have Dave Smith direct, being the man who’s made more classic Skating Polly vids than any other (Pretective Boy, Hail Mary, Stop Digging, A Little Late, Queen For A Day). And Isaiah Autrey, the actor in the video, was just a friend who we thought was hot and wouldn’t mind hamming it up for a video and we got incredibly lucky because his acting chops exceeded expectations, couldn’t have been a better fit!”
Working again with Brad Wood, the acclaimed producer behind indie-rock classics like Liz Phair’s Exile in Guyville, ‘Chaos Country Line’ sees their songs journey from art-punk to noise-rock to piano-driven power-pop, matching that musical complexity with a sharply honed narrative voice that manifests in countless forms (ultravivid poetry, diary-like confession, fearlessly detailed storytelling, etc.).
Over the course of its 18 kaleidoscopic tracks, ‘Chaos County Line’ embraces the kind of combustible emotionality that comes from fully uncompromised self-expression. “I think on this record Kelli and Peyton were really confident in being more honest and more experimental at the same time, whereas in the past they might’ve made the lyrics more poetic in order to cloak that honesty a bit,” says Kurtis. And as their songs shift from devastating to exhilarating to gloriously cathartic, Skating Polly hope to provide the same sense of solace they found in creating the album. “I’ve had people tell me we’ve helped them get through a breakup or an abusive relationship or the death of someone they loved, and all these other heavy obstacles everyone goes through,” says Kelli. “I feel like I’m not necessarily the best person to draw a map on how to live the happiest life, but I like the idea that our songs can make other people’s lives better in some way. I want our music to be like armor.”
‘Chaos Country Line’ will be released on June 23rd via El Camino Media. Pre-order here.
Skating Polly UK live dates:
06 Mar – Brighton, UK – The Hope & Ruin
07 Mar – Norwich, UK – Waterfront Studio
08 Mar – Newcastle, UK – The Cluny
09 Mar – Sheffield, UK – Corporation
10 Mar – Liverpool, UK – o2 Academy2
11 Mar – Hull, UK – Polar Bear
12 Mar – London, UK – Moth Club
‘Chaos Country Line’ track list:
1. Baby On My Birthday
3. Hickey King
4. Girls NIght
5. All The Choices
6. Booster Seat
7. Hush Now
8. Rabbit Food
9. Tiger At The Drugstore
11. Someone Like a Friend
12. Double Decker
13. Charlie’s Brother
14. Send A Priest
15. I’m Sorry For Always Apologizing
16. Not Going Back Again
17. Man Out There ft. David Yow
18. Party House