Sleigh Bells - Reign Of Terror, Varsity Edition

Here it is, the opening salvo to Sleigh Bells’ second LP in their ongoing campaign to punish earplugs and epileptics worldwide. With Treats, Alexis Krauss and Derek E. Miller bottled the visceral crush of in-the-red guitars and distorto-beats, the punk/hop snarl and playground pop coos that brought them the BTW; earlier this year, they’d promised a followup with an “immense” sound that couldn’t be cast off as merely “party” music. This two-and-a-half minute trailer is all tense and hard guitar-based instrumental, sans vocals, with shots of Alexis’s shiny hair, goof-off behind-the-scenes camcorder footage, and new varsity and military-chic jackets. I don’t know where this leaves the BELLS jersey, the ever-present Ray Bans, or the old varsity jackets, but the little we have here by way of sound and aesthetic is at least promising.

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Comments (31)
  1. Maybe a bit premature on my end, but I think this is an indication that one of the big style trends in 2012 is going to be hardcore. Based on what I see and hear here, there’s a lot of Derek’s past on display in the riff (as the former guitarist of Poison the Well.) Then, there’s the whole thing with the varsity jacket — That’s a style prevalent in hardcore culture. Add to that, Wes Eisold is doing some American Nightmare shows and one of the best albums next year will likely be Ceremony’s Matador Records debut. Touche Amore are popping up on year end lists everywhere, which is going to grab a few more eyeballs onto the scene. I’m pretty sure this time next year, hipsters will be rocking Unbroken crew necks like they’ve been listening to them since they were 13.

    • Drake wears a varsity jacket.

      • Sure, but given Derek’s past life in Poison the Well and seeing that its something that’s embedded in hardcore culture and has been for years, I don’t think they’re following in Drizzy’s fashion footsteps:



      • Sure, but given Derek’s past life in Poison the Well and seeing that its something that’s embedded in hardcore culture and has been for years, I don’t think they’re following in Drizzy’s fashion footsteps

        (At this point, I had embedded three images showing hardcore varsity jackets but the ‘Gum seems to be cracking down on spammers by making every comment with a link go through moderation. Since the comment I posted a few hours ago on another article hasn’t shown up yet, I’m thinking anything with a link goes into limbo, so pretend you’re looking at three images of hardcore varsity jackets with the words like “STRAIGHT EDGE” stitched into them.)

        • WordPress puts any comment with more than 3 links through moderation! I’ll go approve it…

          • Color me excited. And I’m glad people around these parts realize Derek Miller is from PtW, though I wouldn’t really call them “hardcore” because I reserve that term for bands that sound like Black Flag, Minor Threat, Husker Du, early Replacements etc (e.g., OFF! is hardcore).

            Full Disclosure: “Nerdy” was once my favorite song… 10 years ago. I’ll call PtW emo-metal to make up a more precise sub-sub-grenre.

    • Just because Sleigh Bells is coming out with a heavy album and a few hardcore bands are on the up doesn’t mean that hardcore is making a comeback. I’m from Orange County where the “hardcore scene” was huge but I definitely think it’s dead. Sorry man.

      • ATTN: Hipsters
        Hardcore never went away, you all just moved onto something else. Resume lambasting LDR. End Transmission

        • You’re right, hardcore hasn’t gone away, but I don’t think you’re talking about Trash Talk, OFF!, Iceage, Drive Like Jehu, Fugazi, Fucked Up, Trap Them, (early) Jawbox, Botch, Converge, or The Jesus Lizard.

          I think you’re talking about the bastardized hardcore of the “chugga chugga neeeeeeeeow”/ I don’t have two brain cells to rub together like variety like Hatebreed (has anyone heard Hatebeak? Greatest thing ever):

          • I agree with both of you, but Mr. Ashworth has a grip on what we’re talking about here. I’ve never stopped paying attention to hardcore since it was the first type of music I really listened to when I started taking an active interest in music as a teen, but during the first decade of the 2000s, it became very bastardized in the way that’s described above (I think they used to refer to it as “metalcore,” “deathcore” and at its worst — “emocore.”) The “hipster”-friendly hardcore that’s become popular in recent years thanks to Fucked Up and OFF! has been that which that which homages ‘a more simple, pure ’80s influence, which can be transparently annoying when you look at a sea of kids in Black Flag t-shirts (which are the new Sonic Youth t-shirts are the new Ramones t-shirts) but I doubt the Pitchfork crowd havs been paying attention to Paint It Black or Dillinger Escape Plan, or even knows who they are.

            After I wrote my initial comment, I read a small interview with the lead singer of Ceremony about their new album, and he more or less says he thinks hardcore is dead. I can see what he means, as it’s not a genre that has a lot of give to in with what you can do until it turns into something polarizing for hardcore purists (such as David Comes to Life.) Then again, Chuck Dukowski and his new band Black Face (their logo looks just like Black Flag) just put out their first single on Hydra Head and I hear it’s pretty good. I really don’t know how long the hardcore “revival” will last or where it will head, but for the time being, I’m not going to complain just because a few publications that used to ignore it suddenly started paying attention again. Usually a resurgence in interest can lead to better music coming out of the scene.

            As far as Sleigh Bells go, I wouldn’t be surprised if this teaser video was just a bait, and the album doesn’t sound as heavy as the video indicates. I really just suspect hardcore is becoming fashionable kind of like how “grunge” did this year, shoegaze before that, noise rock did a few years ago, or old school punk, and before that, garage rock. You all saw that Flipper t-shirt being sold by Forever 21, right? It definitely stings a lot more when it happens to something like hardcore since its scene prides itself on shunning commercialization and “posers,” yet here you have a teen clothing stores trying to make a buck off of it.

          • Oh, and in the same magazine I read the interview with Ross Farar of Ceremony, there’s a feature article with that Paramore band which includes photos of that Hailey chick covering the spread of “I’ve got cred” t-shirts: The Smiths, Ramones and, to show she’s with the times — ICEAGE.

          • I’m talking about all of that…(for those about to peck)

    • Just because Sleigh Bells is coming out with a heavy album next year and a few hardcore bands are on the up and up doesn’t mean that hardcore is making a comeback. I’m from Orange County where the “hardcore scene” was huge and it’s definitely dead. Sorry man.

    • I agree with you. The hardcore and punk scene is not quite as huge but its definitely still around. I know a lot of friends involved, either in bands or just by going to shows and such. There’s also still quite a few great ones. You heard of the Night Birds? They have put out some of my favorite songs this year.

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  3. Bud Light, college football and Jackson guitars?

    Jock rock is ironic now?

  4. That’s a Drive rippoff if I ever saw one.

  5. usually don’t have much hope for sophomore albums (especially because i adored treats) but i’ll keep my head up high

  6. I love Sleigh Bells. Do you think their over the top – in your face hardcore sounds is them being ironic or do you think they really dig it? I mean I know Derek was in PTW so he has to be into hardcore but the way they do it seems ironic. Plus I question if the girl is into it. I saw them live and they had super loud heavy metal playing in the speakers before they want on. It was intense but seemed funny and over the top at the same time. You know what I mean?

    • Hardcore/Metal musicians have a different sense of how to create over the top rythem (i.e. sick breakdowns). I don’t think there anything ironic going on. I think Derek found a really great way to make a breakdowns with electronic music. Entrance music is also fairly routine in our world and is often embraced by indie artists that listen to metal (Mountain Goats coming out to Hate Eternal last time I saw them, for those that don’t know John also writes a hilarious column in the metal mag Decibel). So the long and the short of it, is no he is not being ironic…he is just metal as fuck.

  7. oh shit, i think i need to buy eardrum insurance before this album comes out.

  8. The song in the video is fuckin’ awesome sounding. Sounds like an appropriate intro to an album called “Reign of Terror”

  9. Reign of Terr-ible.

  10. I agree with you. The hardcore and punk scene is not quite as huge but its definitely still around. I know a lot of friends involved, either in bands or just by going to shows and such. There’s also still quite a few great ones. You heard of the Night Birds? They have put out some of my favorite songs this year.

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