Monday, December 24, 2012

Sleigh Bells -- "Comeback Kid" (2012)

You're gone away 
But you'll be back some day

I've been saving this one until the right time.  And if Christmas Eve isn't the perfect time to feature a song by a group called the Sleigh Bells, you can butter my buns and call me a biscuit.

Let's get right to the music video for "Comeback Kid," shall we?

I'm not sure what you were hoping to get for Christmas from 2 or 3 lines, but I think a video that opens with a chick jumping up and down on a bed in slow motion while wearing a hot-pink bathrobe and holding a hunting rifle (complete with 'scope) is a pretty good present.

Alexis Krauss of the Sleigh Bells
The Sleigh Bells are a duo consisting of Alexis Krauss (the lead singer -- she's the one with the hunting rifle) and Derek Miller (who plays all the instruments).  "Comeback Kid" was the first single from their second album, Reign of Terror, which was released in February 2012.  

Here's a picture of the album's cover.

The story goes that during one of their live performances, Miller accidentally hit Krauss in the head with his guitar, and some of the blood from her wound ended up on her shoes.  Voilà -- they had a cover for Reign of Terror.

Here's what Miller had to say about the album's cover when it was released:

If Keds are a symbol of youth and purity, having them tainted can be seen as a loss of innocence; a lot of life has happened to me in a very, very short period of time.  And the shoes are a reflection of Alexis as well.  She wears Keds every night on stage.  It's a ritual.  So I feel like we're both present in that cover. Aside from all that, it also just works as a striking, bad-ass image.

Miller is clearly full of sh*t, and so are a lot of other young indie musicians.  But being full of sh*t is not limited to the current generation -- a lot of older musicians (Mick Jagger comes to mind) were full of sh*t as well.

Derek Miller and Alexis Krauss pose for GQ
I wouldn't be surprised if Miller was responsible for the press release that accompanied Reign of Terror, and which describes the album as "the sonic equivalent of a beautiful shotgun to the head."

Critics are full of sh*t, too.  The music of the Sleigh Bells has been described by critic as noise pop, indie rock, dance-punk, synth punk, digital hardcore, etc., etc. -- do those terms really tell you anything?  "Noise pop" actually isn't a bad way to describe the Sleigh Bells' music, but all those other labels are either just plain wrong or so general and all-inclusive as to be useless.

You're going to love how Krauss and Miller got together.  

Miller joined a hardcore band based in south Florida when he was 17, playing guitar for them for five years before quitting to write songs.  He waited tables and bartender to pay the bills.  

At about the same time Miller joined his band, Krauss joined a tween pop group -- she was 12 at the time.  After the group broke up several years later, Krauss went to college, taught Spanish at a Bronx elementary school, and moonlighted by singing at weddings.

In 2008 Miller moved to Brooklyn expressly to find a female vocalist for some song demos he wanted to do.  He got a job at Miss Favela, a Brazilian bistro (which the Brazilians would call a botequim) in a trendy Brooklyn neighborhood.

Miss Favela
One day, Krauss and her mother walked into the restaurant.  Miller was their waiter, and he mentioned that he was a songwriter in search of a singer.  Krauss's mom immediately nominated her for the job.  Miller played his demos for her, and the rest is history.

Krauss told the New York Times that she was pursuing a Rhodes Scholarship at the time, but that "with her family's blessing" she decided to join musical forces with Miller.

Let me translate this:

1.  "Pursuing a Rhodes Scholarship" sounds pretty impressive, doesn't it?  When I was in law school, there was a very good wide receiver on the Harvard football team was repeatedly touted as a "Rhodes Scholar candidate" in the local press.  A friend of mine who had gone to Harvard College with this scholar-athlete shed some light on how one becomes a Rhodes Scholar.  "You go to this office on campus, pick up a Rhodes Scholar application form, fill it out, and hand it in" he explained.  "Then you're a Rhodes Scholar candidate."

Cecil Rhodes, who established
the Rhodes Scholarship program
2.  As for having her family's blessing, Krauss's father was a New Jersey musician -- musicians have no common sense, and musicians who end up in New Jersey instead of the Big Apple are likely to be desperate to see their kids do better.  As for Mrs. Krauss, she was obviously a major stage mother who would do anything to help her wonderful little girl become a star.

Don't get me wrong -- I like the Sleigh Bells.  "Comeback Kid" is one of the better singles of 2012, and the video is pretty entertaining.

So here's the "Comeback Kid" video one more time so you don't have to wear out your poor widdle fingers scrolling all the way back up to the top of this post:

You can use this link to buy "Comeback Kid" from Amazon:

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