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Sky Larkin

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  • Formed: Leeds, England
  • Years Active: 2000s


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All Music Guide:

Sky Larkin are a British indie rock trio who formed in their hometown of Leeds during 2005, where old friends Katie Harkin (lead vocals/guitar) and Nestor Matthews (drums) were joined by bassist Lindsay Wilson, who later departed. Wilson was replaced on bass by Douglas Adams in the early part of 2007. The band spent 2007 finishing university, with Harkin studying in London, Adams in Scotland, and Matthews in Leeds. To combat the distance, they sent demo tapes between each other before regrouping in Leeds. Upon their return, they found their place in a thriving Leeds music scene -- which has spawned bands Pulled Apart by Horses, Dinosaur Pile-Up, and the Grammatics -- and here Sky Larkin were able to wield their own brand of lo-fi, American-influenced indie.

Firm believers in engaging their audience, the trio released cassette EPs and their 2009 single "Beeline" as an analog watch (with MP3s included), while building an impressive online presence through blogs and posting demos online. This method duly worked as they then signed to Wichita Records where they recorded their well-received 2009 debut The Golden Spike with American producer John Goodmanson (Death Cab for Cutie, Pavement). The band were happy to decamp to Seattle to record the album, with many of their apparent influences hailing from North America. Their mixture of off-kilter bass and fuzz guitar certainly nodded toward that of lo-fi indie acts Pavement and Sleater-Kinney. There was an energy and a live feel to The Golden Spike, evidence of which came from drummer Nestor Matthews' yelps -- spilling through into the drum microphones -- and the fact that he broke five snare drums in the process of its recording. While Goodmanson's unfussy production allowed Harkin's voice to rise and fall in the urgency of album-opener "Fossil, I," in turn, her voice brought out the sweetness in the band's poppier moments such as "Beeline."

Following the release of this debut, the band toured non-stop, supporting the likes of Broken Social Scene and labelmates the Cribs. Their constant appetite for live performance benefited their growing reputation further with appearances at 2009's Latitude and Great Escape festivals in the U.K.. Second album Kaleide arrived in 2010 and was leaked a month prior to its scheduled release. Working again with Goodmanson, they had matured since their debut, making strides toward a fuller, layered sound that included the frequent use of synths, which gave tracks like "Angelica Houston" a haunting, mantra-style feel. Opening track and single "Still Windmills" set the tone for the album, crashing into a heavily layered riff before boldly striding into the infectious chorus. The artwork for the album was created by Jack Hudson after Harkin sent him the lyrics on paper, and the resulting image of the colorful kaleidoscope ideally fit the record's tone. Third album Motto was written mostly while Harkin was on a massive tour, moonlighting with Wild Beasts. The album, released in late 2013, found some of the groups desperate lyrics meeting some of their most spirited musical compositions.


Sky Larkin is an English indie rock band from Leeds, West Yorkshire, England, who formed in 2005.

^ Gavin Miller (2005-09-24). "Sky Larkin | Interviews & Features | 2005". Leedsmusicscene.net. Retrieved 2014-08-01. 

Early history[edit]

In common with many bands from Leeds, Sky Larkin released two singles on the Leeds based label Dance To The Radio. Songs of theirs appeared on Dance To The Radio compilation albums 'Something I Learned Today' and 'Out Of The Woods And Trees', the former featuring 'Summit' and the latter featuring the Napoleon IIIrd remix of 'Keepsakes' In both 2006 and 2007 they appeared on the unsigned stage at the Leeds Festival. During this time they would play around the UK on bills with the likes of Los Campesinos!, Nosferatu D2, Johnny Foreigner, Wild Beasts and others.

In 2008 they released the 'Swit Swoo' EP digitally as a covers collection. Amongst those included was 'I Was A Teenage Hand Model' originally by Queens Of The Stone Age and the Bruce Springsteen song 'Because The Night' alongside the more eclectic choice of Jake Thackray's "Lah-di-dah"

The album was recorded in Seattle in Spring 2008 with Sleater-Kinney and Death Cab For Cutie producer John Goodmanson.

The band signed to record label Wichita in 2008, and released their debut single on this new label, titled 'Fossil, I', on 20 October 2008. There was an accompanying video for the single which enjoyed success on MTV2 and can be viewed on Youtube.com.

Their debut album The Golden Spike was released in February 2009 on Wichita Records. A promotional tour of England, Europe and America (including an appearance at South By Southwest Festival in Texas) took place in spring/summer 2009, and in December 2009 they toured in support of The Cribs.

In 2010, the band recorded follow up to their debut and released Kaleide in August, which was preceded by the single, "Still Windmills". In September 2010, the band headed out on a UK tour. Later that year the band supported Blood Red Shoes, Les Savy Fav and Frightened Rabbit in support of second single "Tiny Heist".

Following the end of the album cycle, Harkin joined the Wild Beasts providing keyboards, drums and backing vocals on a worldwide tour. On 25 January 2012, five years to the day after the band released their first single, Doug Adams announced his amicable departure from the band. When Harkin returned from tour, Sky Larkin expanded into a four-piece, with These Monsters' Sam Pryor replacing Adams on bass, and Man Made's Nile Marr added as second guitarist. In May 2013, the band released a single, "Motto," and embarked on a tour supporting Dutch Uncles and Marnie Stern.

Their third album "Motto" was released 16th September 2013 and a video for "Newsworthy" followed. Following the release of "Motto", Nile Marr and Sam Pryor left the band and Michael Matthews joined on bass. The album cycle concluded with the release of a video for "Carve It Out" in November 2014. Harkin has since joined the reunited Sleater-Kinney as a touring guitarist, keyboardist and percussionist, including an appearance on the 15 January 2015 edition of the Late Show with David Letterman, the group's first live performance since their 2006 hiatus.

^ "Sweeping The Nation: A Friendly Chat With... Katie Harkin of Sky Larkin". Sweepingthenation.blogspot.com. 2007-02-14. Retrieved 2014-08-01. ^ "Dance To The Radio to host a Leeds Festival party on the Topman Stage". Leedsmusicscene.net. 2007-07-29. Retrieved 2014-08-01. ^ "Los Campesinos! — London — The Spitz — 05 March 2007". Songkick. 2007-03-05. Retrieved 2014-08-01. ^ "Sky Larkin Gigography, Tour History". Songkick. Retrieved 2014-08-01. ^ [1]
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