Monday, June 28, 2010

Show Preview - Sleigh Bells - Brillobox - 7/3/10 - Pittsburgh

Bells will be performing at the Brillobox this Saturday, July 3rd. Derek Miller and Alex Krauss makeup the duo based out of Brooklyn, New York. The band is just over a year old, but has created quite a buzz from online and mainstream publications. Pitchfork, Washington Post, New York Times, etc. have all written praising reviews of the group before they even put out a proper record. One of the more interesting details about Miller and Krauss is their first ventures into the music business. Krauss was in an all female teen-pop group called RubyBlue, while Miller was in the post hardcore band Poison the Well. It’s a change of pace from the music they are producing today.

Infinity Guitars by Sleigh Bells

Sleigh Bells creates what could be described as an electronic noise with pop vocals. Their debut album, Treats, collects a few of the demos that created the buzz, plus several new tracks. The record is full of hooks, driving guitar rifts and a percussion section that would make a symphony orchestra shy. The music itself is heavily distorted to the point where you wonder if your compact disc or album download is defective. Miller creates all the music by using a Mac and Logic Express incorporating many samples from hardcore to hip hop. Krauss provides the vocals with a sharp edge; at times they are muddled by piercing bass and high treble. When audible, the pop voice of a trained singer shines through with a pitched squeal. Sleigh Bells mixes the proper sound of indie rock, punk rock, hip hop, and noise, creating a fresh dynamic and worthy of all the praise they receive.

Riot Rhythm by Sleigh Bells

Their live show is more of an event than simply just playing the album. Comprised of just the two members, Miller plays a ravishing guitar over tracks of grinding samples of hip hop, noise and punk. Krauss is the main visual attraction onstage bouncing about while barking over the music, sometimes indistinguishable. She often wears spandex outfits and thrift shop necklaces to bring a different aesthetic for one who used to prep for an hour before a show. In watching videos, she reminds me of Karen O with her mesmerizing movements and attractive appeal. Though some might want to see an entire backing band, the duo actually fills up their sound in a unique and satisfying way.

Sleigh Bells are definitely one act that you should try and see in the flesh. A majority of other acts that come through town don't bring the energy and live interaction that the duo presents. The show begins at 9:30p with Popo and Nerve City opening.


  1. Meh, I can see where some appeal and addictiveness comes from, but I can't help but think of them as a much weaker, fluffier, baby version of Melt-Banana :\

  2. saw them live in cleveland opening for yeasayer... they were terrible. sounded like barking dogs. NOISE is right! i don't get the appeal. i guess their recorded stuff is at least slightly listenable...

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