Unique Noise at the Orange Peel
By Claire Toal
I remember the first time I heard “Sleigh Bells”. Statistics, guacamole, Winston cigarettes, and a telemarketing job consumed that summer. Gale, my closest girlfriend at that time, took up residence in one of the extra bedrooms in my parent’s suburban home and spent her days searching for additional part time summer employment. On a hazy Thursday afternoon, she picked me up from my community college and bombarded me with the noise pop of “Sleigh Bells”. I could barely decipher the lyrics, but Gale seemed ecstatic about her new musical discovery. Although we listened to it frequently that summer it was not something that would be found in the “Recently Played” portion of my iPod.
While visiting downtown Asheville, I came across an Orange Peel poster that listed Sleigh Bells as being the featured artist on Tuesday, 10/9. I had never been to a show at the Orange Peel (primarily because I am not especially familiar with many of the artists who play at the venue) and thought that attending Sleigh Bells would be an enjoyable, worthwhile experience. It also presented itself as a great opportunity to write a story for reverb.
Sleigh Bells, established themselves as a “noise-pop, indie pop/rock, dance funk” duo, in 2008 in Brooklyn NYC. The duo consists of Derek Edward Miller (guitar) and Alexis Krauss (vocals). Miller, a former guitarist for Poison the Well, moved to Brooklyn looking for a female vocalist to collaborate with on his song demos. While working at a Brazilian Bistro in Brooklyn he met Krauss, who at the time was teaching Spanish to children in the Bronx. Miller expressed his desire to find a female vocalist, while Krauss was dining with her mother at the restaurant. After being volunteered by her mother, she met with Miller and reviewed his demos in a park, through his headphones. Krauss had been pursuing a Rhodes scholarship at the time, yet chose to begin a creative relationship with Miller instead. Sleigh Bells signed to M.I.A’s N.E.E.T Recordings, and Mom+Pop records in 2009, and soon after recorded their first seven track self-titled EP. Their first album, Treats, was released in May 2010.
Sleigh Bells released Reign Of Terror in February 2012, which also serves as the title of their current tour. I am partial to their first album, which features tracks such as “Tell ‘Em,” “Rill Rill,” and “Crown on the Ground.”
I definitely underestimated the intensity of the show. Krauss’ vocals are very unique, and Sleigh Bells produces an awesome, mind-boggling noise. The duo did not come on stage until a little after 11, yet definitely made their presence at the Orange Peel known. A little before the show started I remember glancing at a sign that advertised ear plugs for 50 cents, and thinking to myself that I might want to invest. I really should have. The sign accompanied with a case of ringing ears haunted me for days.
Although the concert was not exactly soothing to the senses, I found Sleigh Bells to be a great way to be introduced to the Orange Peel. The concert was a great experience with Krauss dawning a sick leather jacket that was a stunning contrast to the fog, and colorful lighting and the music was in a word, unfathomable.