Posts Tagged ‘Sleigh Bells’

This past weekend was a great one. So great in fact, that this is part one of the weekend, focusing on the Sleigh Bells concert I attended on April 14th 2012.

The show started off with a band I’d never heard of, Elite Gymnastics, who’s presence on stage was muted yet exaggerated all at the same time. If that makes sense….

To start off with, when we arrived at the venue for the concert the Slowdown, near the beautiful Old Market in downtown Omaha NE, the stage was set up like this;

Then Elite Gymnastics came on. I must say I wasn’t that impressed when they first started but once you began to understand the type of music they were playing; more noise-pop than Sleigh Bells but also a lot more electronica added. The odd thing was the way they turned down the lights completely so you couldn’t really see the two band members as they played. Instead we were shown a Karaoke Music Video that played through the duration of their set. That in itself set Elite Gymnastics apart from almost all bands I’ve ever seen perform.

Next up on the docket was Brooklyn based electronic duo Javelin.

I’ve heard Javelin here and there over the past few years and was not at all ready for the awesome show they pulled off. The duo, cousins in actuality, rock out with a Bass Guitar and a single Ride Cymbal being the only ‘analog’ instruments on the stage. The rest of the music is played through prerecorded loops and melodies and beat out by the drummer on his electronic drum pad. It was a great show and if you have a chance to check them out you definitely should. Here’s a small excerpt of a song I was able to record.


And then it was time… Time for the thunder and the lightning and the more than off chance of getting Epilepsy from the strobe lights. That’s right Sleigh Bells. I have thoroughly enjoyed Sleigh Bells since getting turned onto them a little more than a year ago. I listened to the CD a few times then had the opportunity to pick up the Vinyl which me and my friend ‘S’ pretty much played through more than a few times a week. So I was happy when ‘S’ said she’d go along to this show too. It was incredible to see the energy that singer Alexis Krauss spread through the crowd. I always think of the line from the 2000 Cameron Crowe film “Almost Famous” when I see great shows. The line comes from singer Jeff Bebe (Jason Lee) “You know what I do? I connect. I get people off. I look for the guy who isn’t getting off, and I make him get off.”

It’s the job of the singer, when they don’t also play an instrument, to make people enjoy the show, to move around, to . . . well . . . get people off! Alexis has a great understanding of this. I don’t believe she really stopped moving since the moment she stepped on stage.

The music was infectious, people were up on their feet, hands were in the air, laughter and joy was all around and that was only after the first song. As the set continued, you could see the crowd inching closer to the stage, but at the same time, there were stragglers, people sitting back in the bar area, just there to enjoy the music and that’s what bands like Sleigh Bells bring out.

 

 

 
I’ve been to rock concerts where there are more fights than enjoyment of the music, more screaming than listening, more wasted money than entertainment gained.

That said, I would follow Sleigh Bells around for a while just to see another performance like that. It sounded real, it looked real, it felt real and when all was said and done, the band was just chilling in back by the merch table smiling and laughing with their fans.

 

 
If you get a chance to see the Sleigh Bells on this tour, do it. It’s going to be hard to beat the tour as a whole including both openers. Great show, and a great weekend.

The next post should be pretty good too as it focuses on the foodie aspect of this past weekend. I miss my foodie weekends, maybe they’ll come back sometime.

 

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This is a little new for me. I’ve never done a music review before, but I’m going to go through with it regardless.

My formal education started out in the form of a music education major before I transitioned to Advertising and Public Relations before eventually settling in with my degree in Film Studies. While I am a few years out of practice as a musician, I still believe I can communicate my ideas thoroughly and concisely through written word.

That being said, here is my review of the new Sleigh Bells album titled Reign of Terror (RoT), released by Mom + Pop Records.

I bought this album on Vinyl, because I’ve always enjoyed listening to the sound of the needle as it slides into the virginal groove of a new record. There’s something about that initial pop that sets the mood off right. (Not intentionally meant to be so perversely graphic)

The big factor to buying new albums on vinyl is the fact that, if you are actually paying for your music, it only costs a couple of dollars more, if at all, plus you get a digital download code to get the mp3 version as well. So for nominal extra cost you get your music, digital copy of said music, and in the case of Reign of Terror, an awesome collection of LP sized artwork to frame or do with as you please.

The other reason I bought RoT on vinyl is because I’d already picked up their freshman album Treats as a collector’s edition vinyl, meaning it’s a thicker gauge record plus it’s psychedelically colored which helped guarantee it’s place on the turntable as my friend(s) and I would lay about in the “Lounge” listening to it and other albums for hours on end on countless occasions.

On to the review. This being the Sophomore release after a successful first time run by the noise pop duo based out of Brooklyn, NY, you’d expect some growth out of them musically and stylistically. If you were expecting major change, you’ll be disappointed. If you enjoyed Treats and want more similar music that is just different enough that you can enjoy it as its own album, you’ll be pleasantly surprised…

for the first side of the album at least.

The album kicks off with a live version of “True Shred Guitar” a powerhouse song that continues a strong pulse through the remainder of the first side of the LP. That’s 6 songs that in my humble opinion kind of rock the house. Each of the six show enough growth that tell me that Sleigh Bells are trying to expand their fan base from the Buddy Holly glasses wearing ‘sters that swayed along with “Rill Rill” two years ago when Treats was released. Not to say they’ve abandoned that group. Quite on the contrary, they’ve embraced the fact that they’re first fans are going to be those ‘sters who are going to drive the sales of this new album.

The sloppy guitar riffs of Derek Miller still remain as well as the sometimes indecipherable lyrics sung by Alexis Krauss. But that’s what Sleigh Bells is. The song Crush, third on the release, starts off with almost the same beat as “Crown on the Ground” from Treats, but quickly turns into its own song leaving it’s roots behind as it progresses.

The biggest joy from this album came when I flipped over to side two which concluded the album with five final songs. The first being “Demons”. The tones that rang through my vintage Sansui speakers were incendiary. I was beginning to think that the Sleigh Bells had surpassed Treats and come out with an amazing new album that I would listen all the way through countless times.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

The final four songs pale in comparison to the rest of the album. Even as the final notes of “Demons” faded from my ringing ears, I was bombarded with the rhythmically repeating sounds the band used much more effectively on Treats as well as the first seven songs on RoT.

The final songs felt empty, like they’d given up. It took a lot to finish listening to the rest of the album while fighting the urge to flip the record back over to the front side and just forgetting the second side existed.

On a final note, RoT is an incredible release for a Sophomore album chasing the coat-tails of an impossible freshman run that was Treats. I still have hopes that Sleigh Bells will continue to grow and hopefully the next album will be a complete success and not have the drop off at the end like this one does.

I will be listening to the first side of this album for a while though. And over all, if you can get an album and enjoy 7 out of the 11 produced tracks on it, you’ve made a good buy.

TRACKS TO LISTEN TO NOW: True Shred Guitar, Comeback Kid, Demons, End of the Line.

Here’s a couple of their songs and where you may have recognized them before knowing who they are;

Honda Commcercial featuring “Riot Rhythm” off Treats

Video for “Rill Rill” off Treats

Video for “Comeback Kid” from Reign of Terror

And a bonus track. The original song by Funkadelic that Sleigh Bells sampled for “Riot Rhythm”