Sleigh Bells @ CMU-Rangos Ballroom, 4/7

In the months between New York City’s CMJ Music Marathon last October and Austin’s South by Southwest this past March, few bands have gotten as much indie press attention (all without a single legitimate release to their name) as Brooklyn-based electro rock duo Sleigh Bells.  Amidst the hype is the story of how members Alexis Krauss and Derek Miller met that is almost too precious for words.

Miller, former member of hardcore punk band Posion the Well, was in search of a female vocalist for his unnamed pet project while working as a waiter in New York. He stumbled upon Krauss and her mother while serving their table at his restaurant.  Krauss, former member of all-female pop group Rubyblue, was nominated by her mother in passing conversation to join Miller’s musical endeavors.  The rest, they say, is history.

What has resulted is the project Sleigh Bells, boasting one of the freshest, most unmitigated sounds in all of indie rock: guitar riffs and synth lines defiantly reveling in the red levels of distortion, Krauss’s vocals cutting through the mix with the slick sheen of a hyper-produced pop-goddess, and the club banging potential of Girl Talkian proportions.  

With their live show, the group comes armed with only an iPod, Miller’s guitar and Krauss’ voice, but feels (at least according to their YouTube videos) much much larger.  Ring Ring actually goes in a slightly different direction than what Sleigh Bells if known for, opting instead for a beachy guitar strum-sample and the grooving  jubilant energy of Len’s “Steal My Sunshine” filtered through Washed Out’s hazy 80’s nostalgia. Crown on the Ground has turned into the duo’s calling card.  Miller turns his guitar and accompanying synth line into a walloping wall of barely permissible beats, while Krauss’ seducing croon (not to mention the orgasmic “Ooh’s” that come in the opening moments) proceeds to tear the track limb from limb.

All in all, this is a show that shouldn’t be skipped, even as CMU’s cloak of darkness concerning great concerts remains mystifying (Aesop Rock last fall and Dan Deacon this past weekend was probably news to few outside of Oakland). The electro-rock duo didn’t end up on Pitchfork’s and speed of the pittsburgh sound‘s  top songs of the year for nothing. Come see the buzz band at the height of their powers and remember some new music get’s hyped for a reason.

Sleigh Bells – Ring Ring

Sleigh Bells – Crown On The Ground


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