I hung on to British and Scottish post punk (though I hate “post” as a descriptor) and new wave, and unwound to the simple graces of American “on the periphery of art school” happenings in underground music of the late 60s and 70s.
But somewhere in the now, associated with a sound slightly reaching back to the earlier 2000s and 90s, I kept hearing the name The Sky Drops—it was a buzz here locally about a Delaware duo who had played shows with Thrushes and others, and who will play the Metro Gallery this Saturday, December 5th with Goldbug and Dead Leaf Echo.
I didn’t know the music and had not seen them play. But I was just as willing to do a little research in their direction to see what they had in store.
Listening to “Swimming with Fishes” from their album Bourgeois Beat, I was able to pick up on their ability to handle sadder, swooning pop songs kind of like early Sloan. The guitar jangled and glistened through a little leaf-dropping softness (a mirror ball stalling time with appropriately simple, wistful drums). In the mood of this song, which readily produced associative visuals, I saw prom kids taking in their first time capsule dances, having cake and punch, and glowing dramatically from a futurity of young rock, “shoegazing stuff,” with roots in some troubadour tradition from the days of castles and also the sun-shining cultural endowments of the African continent. I thought of algae moving in underwater slowness before the distortions of the song came in to crash waves on a chorus-like surge. The vocals were pretty, mostly charming and masculine, with a tender, harmonic support from the female. I didn’t analyze the lyrics for depth, but what came through most clearly was not dull by any means.
“Green to Red,” found on The Sky Drops’ EP Clouds of People, was a little less developed in its vocal hooks, but the melancholy guitar fuzz still promoted a welcome lunar pulse of romance. Did the song suggest disillusionment? I felt like this song could support a cinematic moment, something in an independent film where a couple walks off in separate directions, down different streets, thinking about the fight that might have just ended their rocky love. Whatever, the lyrics even kind of supported that notion, and it made the song dramatic and strong enough to earn a second visit to my ears. The music was played very passionately here. The lyrics kept up a human, down to earth vibe, simple, easy to grasp—but not too poetic.
When I dug their music, I had some questions, and fortunately I was able to ask those questions to The Sky Drops members Rob Montejo and Monika Bullette.
What were you going for in the creation of your debut record Bourgeois Beat? How did the approach differ from your live shows?
We wanted to do the best for the songs while not over-stuffing them. We did put “The Bedazzler” to some songs, but we generally keep things simple. The result is not far off from the live show.
With existing or nonexistent terms, classify your music as you see it and as you think your public sees it.
What is your relationship to music videos? How fun and weird is it making them?
We enjoy making the videos and have been really happy with the results.
We’ve been lucky to work with some generous and thrifty and talented people! We definitely drew some stares running around the motel in Atlantic City.
See the new video for “Stone White"
See the new video for "Truth Is"
How far are you planning to go with touring this material at this time?
We have a Pacific Northwest tour in a week. We have plans to tour the UK in 2010, and we’ll be hitting the road in the US. The album was released in the UK in October on Spoilt Victorian Child Records. The CD is being distributed throughout the UK and Europe and Japan. Of course, the Internet brings it worldwide. Who knows, we may end up in Brazil—we have quite a following there.
Who do you align yourself with artistically among your contemporaries? By chance, are you and other artists making some kind of a movement or statement, or do you fly solo?
We are not in a tribe, but we’ve played some great shows with Thrushes and Screen Vinyl Image.
Talk about your band dynamics. Is it peaceful writing music together, or are there some fruitful fights along the way?
Anything worth doing is worth fighting over.
What are some of your shows after your Baltimore show at the Metro Gallery on Saturday, December 5th? Where can people get your albums and stuff?
12/10 - Seattle, WA
12/11 - Portland, OR
12/12 - Olympia, WA
1/8 - Philadelphia, PA
1/15 - Wilmington, DE
1/16 - Virginia Beach, VA
1/17-1/23 - Southern Tour Dates - www.theskydrops.com/tour.htm
You can purchase Bourgeois Beat at www.theskydrops.com and from any digital distributor like iTunes, Rhapsody, lala, Napster, Amazon, etc.