“Ugly Pop” trio Skating Polly makes a New, Killer Sound Behind Legends

by Stephanie Carlin

Last Wednesday, I had the opportunity to see X perform at the Brighton Music Hall. The opening act for X was a small trio that’s been making a big wave in the rock world: Skating Polly.

Skating Polly is an alternative grunge band from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. They are comprised of two siblings, Kelli and Kurtis Mayo, and one step-sibling Peyton Bighorse. Peyton and Kelli originated the band when they were just nine and fourteen. (Side note: I can’t think of anything cooler that anyone has done at nine and fourteen). Using “bad poems” that the girls had written, the two started the band playing at parties for their parents but were soon picked up by Chris Harris of Nice People Records. Since then, they have received acclaim from the likes of Babes in Toyland, Flaming Lips, Veruca Salt, and Exene Cervenka, lead singer of X, with whom they are currently touring. They’ve released four albums, an EP, and had world tours Kate Walsh, Mike Watt, Band of Horses, Generationals, Flaming Lips, and many more at just 16 and 21 years old.

Back in April, they released an EP with Vecura Salt members Louise Post and Nina Gordon called The New Trick, which featured three tracks. The highlight of the EP is “Louder in Outer Space,” which was performed at the concert. The track offers a bright, pop sound in the verses, eventually leading into a rocking chorus, reminiscent of a ’90s high school band that actually sounds good. “Hail Mary,” which NPR gave their recommendation on back in March, offers a dark interpretation on relationships. The music offers a much denser sound while the lyrics tell the story of a friendship that wants to work itself out but cannot seem to get there.

Hey Mary, follow me out and we’ll never walk back/
Hey Mary, tell me honestly you’d never want that/
Hail Mary, trust me, don’t look back or it’s gonna end badly

“Black Sky”, the final track, is a light-rock song that hits like a hurricane at the chorus, as it rushes you with a deep sense of depression. It’s a track that’s not talked about often enough, but one which is my personal favorite from the EP.

Before the concert, I found out that Exene of X had produced their album, The Lost Wonderfuls, so even going into the show, I was confident in their performance abilities. At the start of the show, they came on and no one was suspecting anything. Everyone was drinking beer and chatting as they’re setting up. The minute they’re done, Kurtis and Kelli wailed on the drums and guitar to get the crowd going and it worked. They immediately went into songs from The Big Fit, their critically acclaimed album from last year, followed by “Louder in Outer Space” and even some new songs that haven’t been recorded yet. The sheer, raw energy from the performance alone was already amazing. They were ready to give it their all and they did. Against a classic punk band like X, their new, edgy grunge fit perfectly. These were not nervous kids. They were rocking adults, and I can’t wait to see where they go next.

Click here to check out their interview with Extra.