Much like the actual March Madness tournament, MTV's second annual Musical March Madness brackets are filled with upstart bands looking to shock the world.
Everywhere you looked this year, there were unknown acts making big moves — everyone from Mumford & Sons and Florence and the Machine to the Black Keys and Cage the Elephant — but perhaps no band went from obscurity to the big time quite like Sleigh Bells. The Brooklyn duo broke out with their squalling, squelching debut Treats.
So it should probably come as no surprise that, as we gear up for the tipoff of the 2011 MMM on Monday, the Bells are making preparations for a deep run in the tournament. And, in keeping with the spirit of dark-horse contenders like the Butler Bulldogs (who came within a desperation 3-point heave of upsetting Duke in the 2010 NCAA finals), they're entering firmly as underdogs — which suits them just fine.
"We are definitely an underdog," singer Alexis Krauss laughed. "I don't know ... it's a bit overwhelming. But I'm appealing to you as the underdog to try and go out at least fighting a good fight."
And, really, that battling spirit is perhaps Sleigh Bells' best shot at making their way to the MMM championship. They already know they'll face tough challenges from established acts like Linkin Park and Panic! at the Disco and up-and-comers like Adele, and if they survive that, they might just run into defending champs Coheed and Cambria in the finals. But as Krauss put it, underdog or not, her band possesses a trait that none of the other MMM bands have: Namely, a lot of weapons. And genuine psychosis.
"Have you seen our videos? In my first video, I was walking around wielding a baseball bat. In my second video, I was pushing [guitarist/producer] Derek [Miller]out of a car, and he was covered in blood. So clearly we have some tricks up our sleeves," she explained. "Derek, he knows his basketball, he knows his stuff. We already have jerseys made; we're ready to go. So, I don't know, expect the unexpected. And we may not just use basketballs, we may use baseball bats and switchblades. Who knows? We're psychos."
MTV's 2011 Musical March Madness Tournament begins Monday, March 14, when we reveal the full field of 64 bands that will battle for the championship. Winners are determined by fan votes, so if your favorite act made the cut, it'll be up to you to guide them to glory. You can rally the troops on Twitter using the hashtag #MMM — but get ready, it's gonna be a war.