The Skygreen Leopards

Biography by

San Francisco psych folk duo and flagship band of the Jewelled Antler collective.
Read Full Biography

Artist Biography by

Disciples of California
Born of a warm and eager approach to experimenting with sound and songwriting, pastoral Bohemian pop duo the Skygreen Leopards came about at the dawn of what would come to be known as America's freak folk movement, and spent much of their existence at the perimeters of that scene. As contemporaries like Devendra Banhart and CocoRosie took a similarly weird approach to the masses throughout the early 2000s, the Skygreen Leopards moved in much smaller circles, quietly crafting songs rich with 12-string acoustic guitar, psychedelic lyrics, and campfire-style group vocals. Over the course of an extensive discography full of limited releases, the group progressed from loose and home-recorded fare to more polished studio work, finding a sound-defining balance of the two with their 2006 album, Disciples of California.

Life & Love in Sparrow's Meadow
The group was formed in 2001 by bandmates Glenn Donaldson (Thuja, Blithe Sons, Ivytree, and co-founder of the Bay Area experimental folk label Jewelled Antler) and Donovan Quinn (Verdure). They released their first collection of improv folk songs -- some of which were recorded outdoors, with the bulk being laid down on an old reel-to-reel -- as two companion albums titled Life & Love in Sparrow's Meadow and I Dreamt She Rode on a Pink Gazelle & Other Dreams. Both discs appeared in 2001 as self-distributed CD-Rs, as did a handmade vinyl 12" titled Child God in the Garden of Idols.

One Thousand Bird Ceremony
The group issued Story of the Green Lamb & the Jerusalem Priestess of Leaves in 2002, followed by One Thousand Bird Ceremony in 2004. Life & Love in Sparrow's Meadow and the six-song Jehovah Surrender EP arrived in 2005, followed by Disciples of California in 2006. The latter album was the first to be recorded outside of the Leopards' own studio, as the band decamped to Jason Quever's studio in San Francisco and tracked the bulk of Disciples of California during live recording sessions. They reprised their collaboration with Quever several years later, when Gorgeous Johnny marked their sixth full-length album in 2009.

Family Crimes
The band faded out of activity for a bit, with Quinn teaming up with Six Organs of Admittance main man Ben Chasney in the early 2010s to work on the side project New Bums. The Skygreen Leopards would return in 2014 with their considerably poppier album Family Crimes, their first for the Woodsist label. In 2018, the archival The Jingling World of Skygreen Leopards was released, collecting the band's earliest experiments from its first two long out of print CD-R releases.