Skygreen Leopards are a pop group with equal interest in British folk-psychedelia and the modern free music scene. While numerous groups explore music with similar pedigree, Skygreen's Donovan Quinn and Glenn Donaldson capture well the magic present in older legends like the Incredible String Band--with ringing electric guitar melodies and acoustic guitar strumming accenting the occasional spout of pipes, mouth harp, or harmonica, creating an overall wistful vibe.
The San Francisco duo are closely linked with Jewelled Antler, an up-and-coming DIY label co-run by Donaldson. Many of the groups that Jewelled Antler curates share central members and explore separate but complementary musical genres. The unifying theme is a taste for the experimental, with artists exploring field recordings or recording releases in natural settings (Leopards created their last album in a trailer on a horse ranch), delving into drone, or wandering into freely improvised music and folk revival. Skygreen Leopards indulge mostly in the latter, their psychedelic ruminations conveying the simple enjoyments of the outdoors and pastoral life through music.
The group's latest effort, Life and Love in Sparrow's Meadow (Jagjaguwar), documents Skygreen's focus on pop refinement. They produce seemingly straightforward songs--a betrayal of Jewelled Antler's usual favoring of the avant garde: Keenly crafted lyrics--mixing mysticism with stream-of-consciousness surrealism--and float on reverb-cloaked harmonies, set to a beat that's best stomped or handclapped. Adept in their knowledge of tradition, Skygreen Leopards are adding fresh links to the end of a very long historical chain.