Unless you’re talking about Prince, most musical acts sound like somebody else–or at least people try to tell you they do. Like, when Muse started to get attention after appearing on the “Twilight Saga: Eclipse” soundtrack, everyone was all like, “They sound like Radiohead!” And I was all like, “Naw man, no one sounds like Radiohead!” But really, yeah, they do kind of sound like Radiohead.
So in the spirit of “this thing sounds like that thing,” I present you the taxonomic breakdown of the musical influences of noise-pop outfit Sleigh Bells, before you can watch them on MTV.com’s “Live In NYC” on Monday, Sept. 20.
1. Sleigh Bells Sound Like… Yeah Yeah Yeahs (or The Ting Tings)
Any time you have a band, or in this case a duo, fronted by a woman who can zero-to-60 from a loud, bitchy shout to a sweet, honey-dipped soprano, the Karen O comparisons are going to pour in. And Alexis Krauss, the female half of Sleigh Bells, has a vocal range that ranks right up there with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs frontwoman and The Ting Tings’ leading lady, Katie White. Just check out Sleigh Bells’ track “Infinity Guitars” and tell me if you don’t pick up on a definite “That’s Not My Name” feel.
2. Sleigh Bells Sound Like…M.I.A.
The track list on Sleigh Bells’ debut album, Treats, ranges from pretty, straightforward Brooklyn indie pop, like on the dreamy “Rill Rill,” to deliriously distorted stomp-clap anthems underscored by hip-hop beats that would find themselves right at home on an M.I.A. track. (That’s thanks to the male half of Sleigh Bells, guitarist-producer Derek Miller.) For more on the latter, check out “Run the Heart,” which sounds like it’s being pumped out of broken computer speakers, and that’s totally a good thing.
3. Sleigh Bells Sound Like… The White Stripes
No indie band worth its weight in flannel shirts can succeed without mastery of the lo-fi guitar riff–just ask Jack White. And there’s plenty of fuzzed-out guitar lines leading the charge on Treats. Check out “Riot Rhythm” for a bratty jam that sounds like it’s making fun of you. Again–a very good thing!
4. Sleigh Bells Sound Like… Björk
Here me out on this one. There is this drum-snap-clap sample on the Sleigh Bell’s track “Tell ’Em” that I swear was inspired–if not all out borrowed–from “Jóga,” the first single off Björk’s 1997 album Homogenic. Anyone?
+ Don’t miss Sleigh Bells, Live In NYC, on Sept. 20, streaming live from the Studio at Webster Hall on MTV.com at 10/9c!