Best of What's Next: Sleigh Bells

Music Features Sleigh Bells
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Hometown: Brooklyn
Album: Treats
Band Members: Alexis Krauss (vocals), Derek Miller (guitar)
For Fans Of: The Pipettes, Funkadelic, Swizz Beatz

The first 23 seconds of Sleigh Bells’ “Crown On the Ground” are beset by violent guitar squeals and lusty “ahhs”; then comes 22 seconds of brutally abrasive noise rounded out by three minutes of slick, sweet vocals, loud chants, foot-stomping percussion and a hundred other glorious things. It might be the best pop song of 2009—maybe 2010, too.

Last fall, this Brooklyn duo’s handful of demos and slightly-larger handful of CMJ shows got the music world talking, and for good reason. Alexis Krauss and Derek Miller have expertly wedded screeching low-end distortion (Miller was in the hardcore band Poison the Well) to sweet pop vocals (in her youth, Krauss was in a manufactured teen-pop group called RubyBlue). They sound like My Bloody Valentine covering LL Cool J. And now, as they prepare to release their debut LP Treats, the world will have to reckon with their fierceness.

“The sound was not and is not an aesthetic choice but a lack of resources which sometimes works to your advantage,” Miller told Paste via e-mail. Some artists might not consider any kind of lack as a good thing, but Sleigh Bells have done a lot with very little. Though the new album will have a cameo from a horn section (“heavily processed,” Miller promises), “we are going to remain a two-piece,” he says. “It makes more sense financially, and we like keeping it simple.”

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