Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs and recordings from independent artists that our DJ’s think you should hear. Each and every Friday we deliver songs by local artists. Today’s selection, featured on the Morning Show with John Richards, is “Crown On The Ground” by Sleigh Bells from their 2009 demo.
The red-suited fat man may have left weeks ago, but the sound of Sleigh Bells clangs on. With 8ish demo songs, no album, a killer CMJ performance and only a dozen or so shows under their belts, Brooklyn-based hip pop duo Sleigh Bells is already screaming Top New Band Of 2010. Producer and guitarist Derek Miller, ex-member of the defunct hardcore act Poison The Well, and vivacious frontwoman Alexis Krauss, a former 4th grade teacher, combine forces to create catchy club-approve beats meets unmistakable hurts-so-good noise. From their nonsense lyrics and rambunctious live performance to their haphazard beginnings, everything about Sleigh Bells is combustible.
The pair met at a diner where Miller was waiting on Krauss and her mother in July 2008. After bonding over their Floridian origins, Miller chatted to Krauss’ mom about his search for a female vocalist to front a “kinda melodic, kinda heavy” project he was working on. She nominated her daughter, who sang in the short-lived girl pop band Ruby Blue. With teaching taking priority, Krauss didn’t end up recording until January 2009 after deciding not reapply. The two set to work, Miller laying down all the drums and beats in his bedroom, before playing their first show in September.
“Crown On The Ground” is by far their most impressive song and sounds most like Miller’s vision/picture of Sleigh Bells as “a big flaming thing” (he drew a picture of Santa’s sleigh on fire when trying to come up with the band’s initial sound). Miller leads with lacerating guitar before painfully blaring treble slams down with blast bass to create a ridiculous dance melody. It’s so intense and loud, my first reaction was to adjust the EQ. Krauss grunts her way in before exposing her beautiful, edgy high-pitched voice. With her vocals fuzzed out from the shattering layered noise, the song blends into pure blasting goodness, urging me to let go and dance like no one’s looking.
Miller and Krauss aim to have their first album out in the spring, as early as February or March. Once recorded, the two are wasting no time getting back on the road. But for now, you can check out their Myspace page or surf the Web for a small taste of their performances. Here’s “Crown On The Ground” live at Le Poisson Rouge NYC: