Skating Polly Learns Some New Tricks

The band stretches their skills with some help from Veruca Salt on their new EP.

When Louise Post and Nina Gordon of Veruca Salt asked Peyton Bighorse, 21, and Kelli Mayo, 17, of the Tacoma band Skating Polly to join them for a songwriting session in Los Angeles, they jumped at the chance… with some slight reservations.

Despite having worked with an impressive roster of icons from Exene Cervenka of X to K Records founder Calvin Johnson, Mayo admittedly had anxiety about spending time in the studio with two women who have informed her musical upbringing so directly. “Sometimes that was really nerve-wracking,” she says. “Here’s two girls that I had on playlists before I could talk!”

The Oklahoma natives, who moved to Tacoma in 2015, have been playing their trademark ’90s-influenced “ugly pop” since Bighorse was 14 and Mayo was just 9. Earlier this year, Mayo’s brother Kurtis, 20, joined them as their new third member on drums.

Their new EP, New Trick, out April 28 via El Camino Media, features three songs they co-wrote and recorded with Gordon and Post. Veruca Salt’s influence is readily apparent: Opener “Louder in Outer Space” boasts an addictive hook cut from the same cloth as “Seether”-era pop, and the dark, brooding “Hail Mary” showcases their knack for writing harmonies. But the raw lyrics and heartfelt ethos are all Skating Polly’s own.

Bighorse and Mayo credit the experience with teaching them a couple of new technical feats they couldn’t perform before and now incorporate regularly (the “new tricks” that earned the record its title), as well as helping them grow as songwriters. “One of the things I learned from them was sometimes the spontaneous thing that falls out of your mouth whenever you are coming up with the melody is the right way to take the song,” says Mayo. “There’s a reason that fell out of your mouth that way… It reminded me that spontaneity is good sometimes.” music@seattleweekly.com

More in Music

Death Cab for Cutie Headlines Deck the Hall Ball 2018

The annual 107.7 The End holiday bash moves to WaMu Theater.

The new Chris Cornell statue resides outside of MoPop. Photo courtesy MoPop
Seattle Rock Star Statue Breakdown

The new Chris Cornell statue at MoPop got us wondering about the statues honoring local music legends.

Jazz harpist 
Brandee Younger. 
                                Photo by Kyle Pompey
A Beginner’s Guide to Earshot Jazz Festival

A look a seven of the most intriguing performers at Seattle’s annual month-long jazz celebration.

Cumulus (Alexandra Niedzialkowski) searches for a ‘Comfort World.’ Photo by Sarah Cass
The Silver Lining of Cumulus’ Clouds

The Seattle indie pop act returns with the bittersweet tunes of ‘Comfort World.’

Ludovic Morlot enters his final season at the helm of Seattle Symphony. Photo by Lisa Marie Mazzucco
Adieu Already for Ludovic Morlot

The Seattle Symphony’s conductor looks ahead at his final season in charge.

Musicians Rally for a Free #SaveTheShowbox Concert at City Hall

The event corresponds with the City’s public land use hearing regarding expanding the Pike Place Market Historic District.

Angel Olsen: Always worth a closer inspection. Photo by Taylor Boylston
The Bare Bones of Angel Olsen

Seattle Weekly chats with the reflective singer-songwriter ahead of her Seattle solo show.

Album Premiere: Lizzie Weber – ‘You’

The Seattle folk singer-songwriter pens potent and poetic breakup songs on her new EP.

Labor Day weekend, Bumbershoot style.
A Look Back at Bumbershoot 2018

Thoughts and photos to recap the annual extravaganza.

Knife Knights emerges from the woods to play its first public live set at Bumbershoot. Photo by Justin Henning
Bumbershoot 2018 Picks

Music headliners, comedians, and local favorites: These are the acts to seek out at this weekend’s festivities.

Best of Seattle 2018: Arts & Entertainment

Best Musical Act Thunderpussy After years, 2018 finally (finally!) saw Thunderpussy put… Continue reading

Jessica McKenna and Zach Reino get a touch melodramatic about not needing a script for Off Book: The Improvised Musical podcast. Photo by Robyn Von Swank
‘Off Book’: Silly Story Singing Sans Script

The Broadway-worthy hijinks of ‘Off Book: The Improvised Musical’ podcast come to Bumbershoot.