buzz tracker

Anatomy of a Buzz Band: Sleigh Bells

How does a band go from owner of a MySpace page to Internet obsession? A look back at the rise of everyone’s new favorite band Sleigh Bells — whose debut album, Treats, is out today — explains a lot.

October 22, 2009
Stereogum declares Sleigh Bells an official Band to Watch and provides the now familiar backstory: Derek Miller, former guitarist for Florida hard-core band Poison the Well, meets Alexis Krauss, former girl-group singer, to create unlikely duo. (It gets cuter: Krauss’s mom facilitated the connection when Miller, who was waiting on Krauss and her mother at a Brazilian restaurant in Greenpoint, mentioned he was looking for a female vocalist for a music project.) The site also posts the band’s demos, including “Crown on the Ground.”

October 25, 2009
Sleigh Bells play Market Hotel, at 1:00 am, as part of the CMJ Music Festival. M.I.A. is in attendance. The performance is said to be one of the fest’s best. The band has now unofficially “broken out.”

October 29, 2009
Pitchfork slaps “Crown on the Ground” with a Best New Music tag and follows it up with a loving interview.

November 15, 2009
The Times weighs in, mostly positively, on the “Internet nano-phenomenon.”

November 30, 2009
ABC News hops on the bandwagon.

December 3, 2009
Sleigh Bells play a crazy-sounding show at Dame Dash’s secret basement venue. Mos Def is there.

December 2010
“Crown on the Ground” makes a bunch of year-end best-of lists.

February 2, 2010
The band books dates with Major Lazer and Yeasayer.

February 4, 2010
Diplo tweets: “All day finishin up these @_m_i_a tracks … Its official … This team is from the FUTURE!! — diplo rusko switch mia blaqstarr sleighbellz FTW.” Miller is later confirmed as a co-producer on M.I.A.’s album.

March 16, 2010
M.I.A. signs Sleigh Bells to her label, N.E.E.T., in partnership with Mom + Pop Music. Release date for debut album, Treats, is announced.

March 2010
SXSW show triggers another round of kudos.

March 21, 2010
Sleigh Bells plays Coachella. ArtsBeat lumps them into a post on the return of rap-rock, but says nice things — “Here, in front of thousands of people, the music was on the right scale: massive, blunt and calibrated with jolts and silences to move big crowds.”

April 28, 2010
First official single, “Tell ‘Em,” is released. Vulture joins the rest of the Internet in a sycophant-off.

May 7, 2010
Joe Jonas tweets: “Check out Sleighbells the band they be rocking it.”

May 7, 2010
Later that night, Sleigh Bells play Coco 66. M.I.A. shows up. Says Sound of the City: “Really, we could use a word for it, that New York area show in which a variety of factors combine — imminent album release, absurd amounts of press attention, fervent old guard musician co-signs, a sold-out room, a novel sound, maybe — to make one of the thousands of shows that take place every night in NYC into a kind of special event you can’t ever really duplicate, though everyone is always trying.”

May 11, 2010
Treats is released. As of 4:15 p.m., the backlash has not yet begun.

Anatomy of a Buzz Band: Sleigh Bells