Tag: Sleigh Bells
50) fun. - Some Nights – At first I didn’t want to admit that I dug this album so much, but the fact is it’s some of the best pop music to come out in years. If Top 40 radio was more littered with this stuff than the emo/dub-step crossovers, then I might actually be listening to it. I could definitely do without some of the intentional auto-tuning on some of the tracks, but I’m not afraid to make this my #50 pick.
49) The Men – Open Your Heart- There’s post-punk, and there’s no-psychedelia, and then there’s The Men. This is straight up punk music like there hasn’t been in a while, and these guys have already forged a place for themselves at the table right next to The Buzzcocks.
48) Captain Murphy – Duality - When it was recently revealed that Murphy actually was the rapping alter ego of the genius producer Flying Lotus, it seemed like one of those – “How did I not realize that moments.” Obviously the beats are fly as hell on Duality, but his cartoon-hinged MF Doomish lines are equally as impressive.
47) Sleigh Bells – Reign of Terror - I didn’t think it would possible for these Noise-Pop destroyers to get any more aggressive on their sophomore album, but sweet Jesus did they ever. I still think they’d be better off with an actual drummer than the drum machine they use, but they are still on a very conquering run.
46) Trey Anastasio – Traveler- Trey hasn’t made a solid album with either Phish or by himself since 1995′s Billy Breathes, but this one kind of comes close. The production work of Peter Katis is a huge step in the right direction, but unfortunately the songs just aren’t there to back it up.
45) A.C. Newman – Shut Down the Streets- The front-man for New Pornographers seems to have an endless run of song ideas under his belt, and this solo album lives up with some of his finer work with the band. It’s a little more stripped down, but still manages to put out the pop music sing-alongs from Venus kind of vibe.
44) Thee Oh Sees – Putrifiers II – The first time I heard these guys a few years back, I thought I had a clear picture of their sound – Now I have no idea what to expect and that makes them so much more amazing then I thought they were. Kind of like if the Flaming Lips decided to only do the hard, raging shit.
43) Nas – Life is Good- God’s son came in strong with this record and made a good case for the fact that he ain’t going anywhere anytime soon. I could do without the reggae tinged things he seems to be favoring since his Damien Marley collaboration, but this shit might be the best work he’s done since Illmatic.
42) Delta Spirit -Delta Spirit- If someone time traveled from the 60′s and wanted to know what good music sounded like today, I might play them this album before any other. Brooklyn rock at its finest, minus all the bells and whistles.
41) Chairlift - Something - This synth-pop duo may be the only folks out there that are actually pulling off being a synth-pop duo. This album grows on me more and more upon each listen, and Caroline Polachek has one of the most beautiful voices in the indie scene today.
I have become completely enraptured by the new video for “Oblivion” by Grimes. I had never heard Claire Boucher’s earlier work from the past couple years, so this video was my direct stimuli overload intro of everything she represents. The tune starts off with an electronic beat similar to Kraftwerk’s “Autobahn” while Claire stand in a men’s locker room full of towel-clad muscle-junkies. Upon first viewing, I stopped 20 seconds in – just as her voice starts. The beat, the visuals, and her soft-spoken voice just didn’t instinctually feel like a place I wanted to go. I felt uncomfortable, but then I remembered my vow to escape my comfort zones more often, so I reapplied myself to Grimes and now that shit is directly up my alley.
Her gentle lisp-ridden vocals bring to mind a few other acts, but she emits a quiet confidence that immediately rises her up and away from reference points. The video itself is a masterful vision of irony. Grimes rocks headphones and a boom-box so she can sing along to her tune in the midst of a high-school football game and a dirt-bike rally. The raging testosterone circling around her is a direct contrast to the music she’s making, but her comfort in the setting brings an eerie acceptance to the whole situation. I instantly realized where I had seen this trick used before, back in the 90′s on Pavement‘s video for “Major Leagues.”
Pavement actually made two videos for this song – perhaps because they thought the headphone concept wouldn’t work for everybody, they made a more straight forward, cliche 90′s video too. Personally though, this headphone one has always been one of my all-time favorite music videos. Filmed inside an amateur wrestling arena of some sort, the main character sings along while the rest of the crowd is completely oblivious to the fact that even a video is being filmed. For this song’s case, it highlighted the tune’s own pleading emotions of an outsider contemplating stepping up to another level of society. For the Grimes video, there is more of a focus on the periphery interactions of other people – highlighting her notion of being slightly outcast while yet not so isolated.
Anwyay, I think it’s a killer move for a music video, and frankly I think the whole concept should be considered as a regular alternative to the standard video. Couldn’t you picture a new video for Sleigh Bells coming out with Alexis Krauss singing by herself inside of a 100,000 person Nascar race? I could – it’d be fresh. They should do it. I’m telling them to right now… Do it. If anybody says you stole that idea from Grimes, you say fuck it – she stole that shit from Pavement.
Here’s Grimes in “Oblivion”
And here’s “Major Leagues”
And yeah – this kid’s got the right idea!
While this Brooklyn noise-pop band is only a couple years old, they are seriously lacking the one element that could make this band one of the bands to see – they need a fucking drummer. So initially, Sleigh Bells was Derek Miller writing some really loud pop-rock guitar songs with Alexis Krauss providing bad-ass sultry vocals on top. The booming drum-beats are all prerecorded, and for their inception this was a fine structure for the band. But for their recently released sophomore album, Reign of Terror, Sleigh Bells have proved that they are much more than a one-shot album and also shown that they have a fully envisioned game plan for themselves.
The duo has always projected a dark sub-text from their music, touching on spatters of warped imagery usually found in doodles on high-school algebra notebooks. But while The White Stripes came across as the rock music that comes from the quiet kids in the back of the classroom, Sleigh Bells are crafting the rock music that comes from the really popular kids that force their parents to supply alcohol for their parties and call other kids pussies for not wanting to try the Ouija board. Jean-jackets and blood-dotted Converses are now the definitive image for this band, and since they have claimed that, now is the time for them to fully claim their sound.
The band has quietly added a second guitarist to their live performances, and it’s time they very loudly added an actual drummer. I can understand the idea that the simplicity of having prerecorded drums adds to their concept of the modern-American dogma “I don’t give a fuck how it’s normally done, I’m doing it my own way.” But right now, as much as I love these guys and their music, their live show still seems like an act. And if they had a drummer, they would be an insanely huge band. It seems like such the right and natural move for them, and I’m sure there’s a solid list of drummers out there who would love to be in this band. Perhaps they feel that such a big alteration would then cast a lack of significance on their earlier work, but whatever the hold-up is, it’s time to flip the script. They’ve got 12 Marshall Cabinets on the stage, I think they could move em to the sides a little and fit a kit in between. Here’s “A/B Machines” from last week’s gig at Terminal 5 – it’s huge, but just imagine how much huger it could be with an actual bass-kick getting attacked behind them.
Oh, and here’s the new video for “Comeback Kid” while we’re at it.
Photo by Chris La Putt courtesy of Brooklyn Vegan.
All right, I live in a new corner of the country, and after a few weeks of being attacked by the collective, neuro-waves of slow-motion that exist West of the Rockies, and my body’s inert realization that this voyage is far more than temporary, I’m ready to start shitting some fucking music here again. I’m back, I’m angry on Tuesdays, and let’s kill it. What better synonymous re-entry could I ask for than the badd-fucking-ass promo video that Sleigh Bells just released today for their February 2012 sophomore release, Reign of Terror. I hate to say it, but with The White Stripes officially done, the Sleigh Duo has to be the most awesomely evil, Bro and Fly-girl act out there.
When I saw them open for LCD Soundsystem last year in a lofty auditorium, it was one of the loudest things I’ve ever heard – let alone loudest bands. But Alexis Krauss still manages to look fucking-amazing, and kills it. The smaller, intimate stage definitely seems like the far-more ideal spot for them. If you don’t have last year’s Treats yet, it’s a must-have for the modern noise-rock, one-man shred-attack with a hot grrrl who wants to kick your ass, band-lover. It’s dope, and gets you pumped up with a little swagger smirk in your heel.
Anyway, I love the idea of a promo video for a new album. It’s like in the 70′s when the radio would play those ads -”If you enjoyed the dark vibes of The Velvet Underground, then you’ll love the hot new hits from front-man Lou Reed!” And then they play 5 seconds of each song off Transformer. Whatevs, that shit’s awesome if you’re really into it, you know? God, I know I was pumped when they played the preview for Back to the Future III at the end of Back to the Future II. Anyway, just watch the shit – it’s so awesomely evil in a dark witch kind of way, and makes you want to be front row with the band.
And here’s the one Mom-friendly tune, “Rill Rill” – I still think it’s my favorite, but it’s all about how it falls in with the context of the album.