But Miller wasn't thrilled with "a lot of the [nonsense]" that often accompanies a body-slamming, testosteronal heavy-rock party, so he was looking for a musical partner to "counteract all of that aggression." He found her in Krauss, a former singer in the teen-pop band Rubyblue, who came with her mother one night in 2008 to a Brazilian restaurant where Miller was waiting tables.
"Her mom was really talkative," Miller recalls, "and she was like, 'So what are you doing in New York?' I told her I was looking for a singer, and Alexis was like, 'That's weird, I'm a singer.' "
The duo exchanged info, and soon found they were musically simpatico. "We got along really well, and she liked the music," says Miller, who writes Sleigh Bells' songs. Krauss had spent a lot of time hanging out at her boyfriend's punk shows in New Jersey, says Miller, "and she likes pop music. That kind of mirrors my experience as well. I grew up playing hard-core, but I always liked pop." Miller is an avowed fan of Madonna, Phil Collins, and Foreigner. "Sleigh Bells," he says, "fall somewhere in the middle."
Miller and Krauss had played only a handful of shows before they took the blog world by storm last fall, when they unveiled their explosive live act at the CMJ Music Marathon in New York. The cause of the commotion has as much to do with Krauss' commanding, macha stage presence as it does with the music.
"That's her whole thing," Miller says. "She can be really calm or tired or relaxed, and then the second we get on stage, she'll have all this energy that she gets from the crowd." And with only two of them, plus an iPod playing recorded beats, onstage, the crowd interaction is a crucial part of Sleigh Bells' act, Miller says: "There has to be a give and take. If there's not reciprocation from the audience, the whole thing falls flat. We're going to show up. We're invested. We're happy to be there. We're going to play our asses off. But if you don't give back, it doesn't work. It's all about the audience."
- Dan DeLuca
Sleigh Bells with Glass Candy, plus DJs Dave P., Mike Z., and others, starts at 4 p.m. Sunday at Making Time at Bamboo, 927 N. Delaware Ave. Tickets: $12, $10 in advance. Information: 215-931-0101. www.igetrvng.com.