October 3, 2013
Listen To Sleigh Bells
Welcome to Bands You Should Be Listening To. My goal here is to bring an artist to your attention, whether you’ve heard of them or not, and convince you to give them a listen. My hope is that you end up finding some tunes that you love! Let’s get started.
I don’t think I’ve ever grinned harder than when I listened to Sleigh Bells for the first time. There’s just something about the way these two musicians from Brooklyn arrange their sound that makes it so powerful, energetic, and…electrifying.
Guitars are teased and distorted to an almost painful extent. Drums are fuzzy, and each hit explodes and lingers in the air like a firework. And the vocals, shouted from singer Alexis Krauss, range from emotionless to impassioned, while always maintaining a fierce edge. The sheer verve and force behind every track is impressive enough. But Sleigh Bells’ knack for deftly crafting distinct, intricate grooves (and even a ballad or two) in this wall-of-sound genre is a testament to their overwhelming talent, as well as their lack of inhibition.
When you first hear the intro to Crown On The Ground and its jarring, grooved guitar abuse, you’ll either adore it or despise it. Perhaps it’s a niche thing. But I love it, and it’s a constant theme throughout this band’s discography. Standouts Comeback Kid, Riot Rhythm, and Tell ‘Em are all of the same intense style. The production on Run The Heart, a kind of freewheeling compression and expansion around a bass beat, is mind numbing and a strangely joyous experience. And the albums closer Treats is just unrelenting with its bass and drum pounds.
The band’s new single Bitter Rivals is more of the same. For the first 30 seconds, it sounds like Sleigh Bells might have changed into something quieter and more acoustic. But on second 31, there’s that familiar explosion of sound and fuzz. And Sleigh Bells are right back at it, slamming the listener with vigor and fury and vitality. It may not sound fun on paper, but it’s an amazing listening experience.
The production does exactly what it needs to do. Often, it adds one more level of punch to the drums and guitars. Elsewhere, it actually needs to work harder to soften, or muffle the intensity of this band’s sound. Otherwise, speakers would be blowing out all over the country. I’ve never seen an example of a group that is so sure of what it wants to do, and then does it, so simply and completely. Producers, engineers, and technicians just do what they can to help, then get out of the way of this band and let it run wild.
This is a band that is not afraid to have fun, but also manage to produce some of the most energetic, fun, and exhilarating music out there. It’s just a blast to hear them play. Do yourself a favor and give them a listen!
Thanks for reading! If you end up listening to the music from this article, please let me know how you liked it! I always love to hear your opinions, even (and especially) if they differ from my own. You can tweet at me @RobinCopple1, or contact me through my email. Don’t be shy! See you next time. Keep listening to music!
Image Credit: Sleigh Bells / Mom + Pop