Yes In My Backyard: Sleigh Bells, Interviewed


Yes In My Backyard is a semiweekly column showcasing MP3s from new and emerging local talent.

Sleigh Bells are having the best week ever. The Brooklyn noise-hop duo were the toast of CMJ, despite (or maybe because of?) doing their thing guerilla style: playing at four in the afternoon at Santos or one the morning in Bushwick; doing five-song sets; and having no official CMJ-festival-endorsed showcase to speak of. If you’re keeping score: Pitchfork sang their praises, Stereogum too, My Old Kentucky Blog and Brooklyn Vegan and Fluxblog and Pop Tarts Suck Toasted and a bazillion other blogs with even sillier names chimed in simultaneously. And the hivemind may have been right this time, as Sleigh Bells are a kind of irresistible smash-up of peaked-out distorto-beats, whiny Big Black chug, ecstatic shouts, and the occasional Funkadelic sample. Too hyperkinetic to be chillwave allies, too grating to be Fader flavors of the month, Sleigh Bells walk their own squonky, skuzzy, rapgazer line. Their best track to date, “A/B Machines” is a simple mantra (“Got my A machines on the table, got my B machines in the drawer”). Frontwoman Alexis Kraus coos with both chilliness and dance-friendly joy, splitting the difference between Santigold and Karen O; guitarist Derek Miller wails and whines like he’s trying to make funk with an electric drill.

Sleigh Bells on “A/B Machines”

What is “A/B Machines” about?

Derek Miller, guitars: It’s a secret. Alexis would have my head if I told you.
Alexis Krauss, vocals: Yes, his head on a platter. A silver one. Nice and shiny.

Well, what are A and B machines?

Both: People!

Tell me what the first taste of “blog fame” is like. Is it weird?

Miller: It’s everything I ever hoped it would be. My wildest dreams have come true. Actually it feels a lot like waiting tables, which is just fine really.
Krauss: It’s nothing like waiting tables.
Miller: My mom started Googling us and listens to us on YouTube. The YouTube rips actually sound better than the 320 versions.

What are your favorite rhythms of 2009?

Miller: I like the drip drip drip of beer in a glass. It’s house-y. Or anything below 60 BPM.

What’s your favorite place to eat in Brooklyn?

Miller: Van Leeuwen ice cream truck or Tommy’s Tavern for drinks.