Most of the time, my aversion to being Pitchforked serves me well. I don't fall prey to hype easily (Clap Your Hands and Say Whaaa?), and I feel like new music comes to me in a more organic fashion, usually via a random discovery while working at KEXP, or via a discussion with a colleague or fellow fan. Hell, my last half a dozen iTunes purchases were driven by advice from a bartender at Ocho. I prefer it that way, and really, it's more practical. My in-box averages somewhere between 30 and 50 press releases a day; there's very little chance of a publicist breaking through all that noise anyway.
However, sometimes turning away from the hype machine means you miss out on something truly thrilling. Case in point: Brooklyn-based duo Sleigh Bells. I had heard some murmuring about Pitchfork and Brooklyn Vegan going nuts for them, which almost immediately made me tune out. The other night, the aforementioned bartender asked me if I liked them, and when I said I hadn't heard them, he instantly went both slack-jawed and saucer-eyed. "Um, Hannah, meet your new favorite band," he said, and flicked the house iPod over to "Crown on the Ground," the track they are playing live in the clip below. Good grief. This pretty much makes up for all the disappointment I feel about most of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' post-Fever to Tell output and the Go! Team's sophomore slump.
I'm now currently harboring wildly unrealistic fantasies about flying down to see them at the Hollywood Bowl next month, as they wrap up their tour in support of LCD Soundsystem. Barring the spontaneous appearance of a plane ticket, I'll have to settle for watching this over and over. And over. The sound's not even that great on this clip, but the song is so insistent on keeping your attention and so freakishly original, it's positively addictive.
Good thing SW clubs editor Erin Thompson was all over this earlier this year. Read her thoughtful and equally enthusiastic endorsement over here.