About Sleigh Bells
While it's still too early to judge their staying power, few bands exemplified the evolving landscape of indie rock in the early '00s like Sleigh Bells. Whether or not they even make actual indie rock is up for debate; the duo's overdriven tunes, all with the volume knob glued to 11, have as much to do with hip-hop and R&B as they do punk and garage rock. Then again, their home on M.I.A.'s N.E.E.T. label underscores how thoroughly the lines between pop, hip-hop and indie culture have blurred. The Brooklyn-based duo came together in 2008 when Derek Miller, a former guitarist of hardcore band Poison the Well, met Alexis Krauss, formerly of the teen-pop group RubyBlue and a customer at the restaurant where Miller was working. (Miller's mother abetted in the matchmaking.) Sleigh Bells built a considerable following on the strength of their live show, but as their debut album, Treats, attests, they're no less skilled in the studio. The songwriting may be rudimentary, but they have an undeniable knack for recorded nuance, turning out guitar riffs and drum-machine beats that cut like knives, and using Krauss' '60s-inspired vocals as a soothing balm.