The Skygreen Leopards: Disciples of California
The Skygreen Leopards: Disciples of California
Artist The Skygreen Leopards
Album Disciples of California
Label Jagjaguwar Records
Released 10/24/2006
The Skygreen Leopards started in 2001 as a duo, just Glenn Donaldson and Donovan Quinn. Working out of the Hobo Victoria district of San Francisco, they've since recorded five full-length albums and one EP in their five year history. Over these recordings the band has been given to metamorphosis but has always managed to sound distinctly "Skygreen". Their newest album, Disciples of California, continues in the alchemical tradition of change and inward-revolt. On it, the Skygreen Leopards mix pop melodies, minimal country truisms, jingle-jangling Californianism and angular folk with something the band refers to as "our horse called Dire Arrow," which roughly translates into family friendly (sans the "American Censorship" connotations).

Indeed Disciples of California is a "friends & family" record. The theme of fraternity is not only represented lyrically but was also part of the recording process. It's the first album recorded outside the band's own studio (note: they NEVER recorded outdoors as some have reported) and it's also the debut of the SGL's rhythm section, the Skyband (featuring Jasmyn Wong on drums and Shayde Sartin on bass). Working in a studio with additional musicians allowed the band to record the basic tracks live, giving the music a ragged, stumbling, and honest life in contrast to the cut-up and cleansing methods much employed in previous days. Recorded in just a few sessions at Jason Quever's (Papercuts) San Francisco studio, the Leopards took full advantage of his arsenal of soft machines to create a batch of spacious three minute pop tunes.

For the first time on record you'll hear the Skygreen Leopards "Skyband Sound". A pleasure formerly reserved for denizens of San Francisco's haunted honky tonks where the Leopards developed much of Disciples songs. The swing and sway of this album is something totally unique to the SGL's discipline and owes a great deal to the work of Vaslav Treacy (Lindner School of Ballet), who instructed the band in modern dance for three months in order to perfect the pulse of the songs on the record. Grace & Beauty tumbling down Mt. Zion became the band's solemn motto.

Lyrically and conceptually, Glenn and Donovan continue down their twisted path. The ghosts of girl-beauties, whispering trees, swimming-hole cousins, crippled horses and human-faced animal-saints all join the dizzying parade.

Maybe the man from Hobo Splendor said it best when he called Disciples of California the Leopards' "biggest riverboat yet". And to be sure, there's room for us all on the Riverboat called Disciple!

The Skygreen Leopards - California's Family Band!!!

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