ALBUM: Skating Polly – ‘The Make It All Show’

Skating Polly transcend genres with their eclectic melodies and undeniable punk attitude – aiming to take on the world with the release of their fifth LP, The Make It All Show. Formed in Oklahoma City almost a decade ago by step-siblings Kelli Mayo and Peyton Bighorse, The Make It All Show sees the “Ugly Pop” multi-instrumentalist duo expand as a group. Not just by morphing into a trio, due to the addition of Kelli’s younger brother Kurtis on drums, but by expanding their already impressive sound, and flaunting their DIY punk-rock roots.

Opening with the infectious ‘Classless Act’, Skating Polly set the bar high for the rest of the record with politically charged screams (“I want better than that classless act”) offsetting grunge-inspired guitar riffs, before slowing everything down with ‘Little Girl Blue and The Battle Envy’ – perhaps their most poetic track to date.

‘Free Will At Ease’ picks up the pace with a bassline that defines the track’s power pop melody, before breaking into ‘Queen For A Day’ – co-written, and featuring guest vocals from Exene Cervenka (of the seminal punk rock band X) – a punk-rock song with a traditional punk-rock chorus full of raw emotion and glimpses of vulnerability.

Skating Polly instinctively let loose on ‘They’re Cheap (I’m Free)’, drawing their thrashing sound and ferocious vocal delivery from the riot grrrl movement – Kelli emulating Kathleen Hanna’s signature screech. Indie-pop track ‘Long Ride’ follows with duelling, multi-layered vocals about shitty friends, before tearing apart the misogynistic nature of the American frat-boy culture with future punk anthem ‘Camelot’ – “Are you upset? Did I hurt your little feelings?”

Continuing their soft/loud/soft dynamic – their more subdued, reflective verses leading way to drive and distortion, and vice versa – Skating Polly poke fun at the idea of “selling out” with ‘Hollywood Factory’; hooking you in with their sarcastic wit, before expressing their frustration with yet more shitty friends on the Queens of the Stone Age inspired track ‘This Vacation’. The final two tracks – the rhythmic love song ‘Flatwound Strings’, and the gentle, piano-driven ‘Don’t Leave Me Gravity’ – bring closure to The Make It All Show with their comforting harmonies, and prove that Skating Polly have honed their own, distinctive style.

Over five records Skating Polly have displayed maturity as songwriters, having grown-up producing music under the watchful eye of both their fans and their peers. The band wear their influences on their sleeves, crossing genre boundaries with their unique and varied sound, and as performers they just ooze pure unadulterated chaos. The Make It All Show proves that Kelli and Peyton have not lost any of their punk-rock grit. Skating Polly vs. the world.

The Make It All Show is out now via El Camino Media.

Ken Wynne

Photo Credit: Amina Cruz


PLAYLIST: March 2018

England’s finally defrosting after the visit from ‘The Beast From The East’, and us Get In Her Ears girls are ready to embrace the springtime. To get us in the mood, we’ve compiled our favourite new March tunes in to one fresh playlist. Check out why we’re loving what we’re loving below, and click on the playlist at the bottom to hear it for yourself…

Soccer Mommy – ‘Your Dog’
Soccer Mommy has a gift for exploring frustration and insecurity through laid-back vocals and melodic guitar, and ‘Your Dog’ is a sublime example of this. Her frank admission of “I don’t wanna be your fucking dog” is a cathartic, emotional uprising against neglect, that seethes and soothes in equal measure. I’ve been singing it obnoxiously loud since she released her debut album Clean earlier this month. (Kate Crudgington)

Skating Polly – ‘Queen For A Day’
Taken from their upcoming album The Make It All Show, and featuring guest vocals from Exene Cervenka (from seminal punk band X), Skating Polly’s new single interweaves scathing vocals with lush harmonies, exuding the sibling trio’s trademark seething energy and understated subtle power. Once again marking themselves out as going against the grain, with ‘Queen For A Day’ Skating Polly deliver an empowering sentiment, uniting anyone who doesn’t want to coincide with the confines of society’s limitations. (Mari Lane)

Pillow Queens – ‘Favourite’
The brilliantly named Pillow Queens released a new video to accompany their track ‘Favourite’ last week, and it features some dodgy goings on at a dog show. I’m excited to catch the Dublin band at The Irish Cultural Centre in Hammersmith on the 16th, alongside Delorentos, Video Blue and Tayne. Check out the Facebook event for more details. (KC)

Alex Rushfirth – ‘I Live It’
Infections and frenzied, ‘I Live It’ has to be my most played track from the last couple of weeks. Of the track, Rushfirth explains “I made the whole thing in my bedroom in a trance.” Warping the vocals to sound like they’re “being sung by an excitable small child” and that’s exactly how this song makes me feel…so heady, so feverish, so goddamn catchy. (Tash Walker)

ARXX – ‘Stuck On You’ 
New favourite band ARXX have previously completely blown us away with their immense, seething energy when playing for us live at The Finsbury a couple of months back. And now they’ve just released their fantastic, and totally addictive new EP. Entitled Daughters Of Daughters, as it’s been put together as a tribute to the music that Hannah Pidduck was brought up on by her Mother, it draws on an eclectic range of influences, and a variety of subject matter.

Taking a break from the riotous, punk-infused power of tracks such as ‘Moments At A Time’ and ‘Intervention’, ‘Stuck On You’ oozes a lush, country-pop romanticism as the soaring passion of Pidduck’s vocals flow, creating an instantly infectious, heartbreakingly catchy love song. (ML) 

Heka – ‘Did You See The Sunrise’
Heka was our guest on our first Get In Her Ears radio show of March, and we were lucky enough to have her perform this track live in the studio. ‘Did You See The Sunrise’ is so intimate and beautiful, with such strong searching vocals…described as “thoughts whispered to friends in dim lit rooms”. Mesmerising. (TW)

Amber Mark – ‘S P A C E’
This track is taken from Amber Mark’s 2017 EP 3.33am, which is about losing her Mother in 2013 and the stages of grief. ‘S P A C E’, the song that got her noticed, is just so enjoyable, rhythmic and about something we can all relate to but often find it so hard to articulate in this over connected, communication driven world. (TW)

Alice Bag – ’77’ 
If you need something inspiring to motivate you during these ridiculously cold, and depressingly dark times, then look no further. Punk legend Alice Bag has brought together a dream team if ever there was one – Riot Grrrl queens Kathleen Hanna and Allison Wolfe, plus an appearance from Shirley Manson – to bring us the perfect angst-driven anthem. Raging against the gender pay gap, it’s filled with seething, punk-driven riffs and is an empowering, inspiring call to arms to unite against the patriarchy and make the changes needed for equality, in the workplace and beyond. As Bag poignantly sneers “… don’t pretend that we’re paid equal… You wrote the script / But I’m writing the sequel.” (ML)

The Go! Team – ‘Huddle Formation’ 
Though the last couple of months have been largely filled with cold, dark days and a distinct desire to hibernate, seeing The Go! Team live a couple of weeks back breathed a new lease of life into me; their sunny charisma and vibrant energy brightening the mood like nothing else.

Although the band’s whole set at Camden’s Electric Ballroom was an utter joy to behold, and I was completely immersed in their infectious, jubilant sound throughout, the highlight of the night came in the form of Thunder, Lightning, Strike’s ‘Huddle Formation’. Splitting the huge crowd into two sides, magnificent front-woman Ninja lead the way as we all sung our hearts out to the chorus, and a wave of sparkling euphoria filled the venue. (ML) 

Big Thief – ‘Shark Smile’
Released back in 2017, ‘Shark Smile’ by Brooklyn’s Big Thief has only just popped up on my radar with its cruising, slow story telling indie lilts. A song about two lovers driving down a highway where only one survives a crash, ‘Shark Smile’ sways from intense descriptions of oxygen kisses to the welcome predictability of the steady drum, guitar laden chorus. I’m loving this tragic tale which feels somewhat strangely comforting. (TW)

Mesadorm – ‘Yours And Not Yours’
Taken from Mesadorm’s forthcoming album Heterogaster, ‘Yours And Not Yours’ explores an intense sense of doubt, both internally and externally – ricocheting between security and unease with the help of a dirty synth line and urgent, rich vocals. I’m totally hooked on it. (KC)

Divide & Dissolve – ‘Abomination’
Divide & Dissolve’s second album Abomination is a sonic force to be reckoned with. The Melbourne-based duo curate heavy-instrumentals designed to “decolonize, dismantle white supremacy, and empower people of color & Indigenous people”. This is the opening track on the record, and it’s an intense five minutes and fifty seconds of unnerving riffs and ceaseless cymbals, crashing together to form a desolate but powerful soundscape. It’s instrumentalist activism that seeks to disrupt the norm – and I love it. (KC)

Track Of The Day: Skating Polly (feat. Exene Cervenka) – ‘Queen For A Day’

Following 2013’s  Lost Wonderfuls, 2016’s The Big Fit, and last year’s New Trick EP, sibling punk-rock trio Skating Polly are now ready to release a brand new album. Marking themselves out as favourites when we caught them a couple of years back, putting on an immense live set at The Lock Tavern, Kelli and Peyton have since recruited Curtis on drums, to create an even bigger, high-octane sound.

Taken from the upcoming album, and featuring guest vocals from Exene Cervenka (from seminal punk band X), ‘Queen For A Day’ builds as honey-sweet melodies develop into a gritty climax of whirring, raging hooks and raw emotion. As scathing vocals are interweaved with lush harmonies, the trio exude their trademark seething energy and understated subtle power. Once again marking themselves out as going against the grain, with ‘Queen For A Day’ Skating Polly deliver an empowering sentiment, uniting anyone who doesn’t want to coincide with the confines of society’s limitations.

Accompanying ‘Queen For A Day’ is a tongue-in-cheek new video, Kelli Mayo explains:

“The lyrics for this song came from a conversation we had backstage with Exene about the old game show ‘Queen For A Day’.. The premise of the show was that women with tragic stories (sick children, dead husbands, poverty, etc) would compete against each other for applause from the audience… Months after this conversation Exene sent me lyrics in a text and we wrote the song around them. She’s singing on the second and third choruses too. We wanted the video to emulate the old show but also look like it was directed by John Waters.

The Make It All Show, the new album from Skating Polly,, is out 11th May via El Camino Media. And Skating Polly will be supporting The Go! Team on a number of US tour dates (what a line up!).

Mari Lane