Demons by Sleigh Bells – (Ups on the recco to the guy with absolutely nothing wrong with him, whatsoever.) (N.B. I did my best on the link. It was a tough one to find.)
I was 22 the first time I ever smelled, saw, or touched the ocean. It seemed odd at the time. It seems odd now for it to have been so “late in life.” Since then, I’ve grown fond of the ocean. Not being on it or using it for any number of highly questionable, yet adrenaline-rich purposes, but being in the ocean, standing in it, swimming in it. I love its endlessness, its power. And I love that point, standing in a swelling ocean, waves crashing at you interminably, when you feel it, that power belittling you. Again and again it hits you. Things start not to make sense. And you realize this thing, this immense and limitless thing surrounding you could batter you to death if it wanted.
That moment of succumbing to power was on my mind after my first complete Windshield Time listen to the Sleigh Bells’ newest album, Reign of Terror. I had just hit Bristow, OK as the album ended and I was literally (figuratively) out of breath. The first seven tracks hit you that hard. Relentless. Reign of Terror is indeed apropos, and I was completely hooked. I listened to this album (in this White Stripes free world) three times on Friday and I felt a torch being passed. Jack and Meg’s incendiary rock gave way to Derek and Alexis’ shredding guitar and inscrutable anti-hooks. This may prove incorrect or even foolish in the uncertain universe of broad pronouncements, but I felt it nonetheless. Listen up, this is the band of now.
Demons is the seventh track and final chapter in the 7 song reign of terror that begins, um, Reign of Terror. So far, it’s my favorite, but that maybe fleeting. There are a couple other exceptional tracks (esp. the 8th track Road to Hell).
What won’t be fleeting is Demons’ place in a far more important lineage. A musical history, if you will, by which I can trace the very essence of my life. This lineage began in the quiet simplicity of the late 80s with Simply The Best by Tina Turner, then to the growing fury of the early 90s and Porch by Pearl Jam followed by Do the Evolution. At the turn of the century, and the upheaval that followed, The White Stripes and Seven Nation Army broke PJ’s grip only to be suceeded by a new and blasting curiosity with Arcade Fire and Wake Up, who have now given way to Sleigh Bells and Demons.
The lineage I’ve just described is, of course, my entry music when I become a professional wrestler.
Scoff away, ladies. But I promise you every male reading this who was ever marginally captivated by the Von Erichs, Sting (not that Sting), Hulkamania, Stone Cold, The Rock, or whoever is on top now, has considered this very thing.
I know they have. Because like me they’ve felt that sense of hope when, amidst a pit
of orchestrated despair, they heard “I am a real American / Fight for the rights of everyman / I am real American / Fight for what’s right / Fight for your life.” Or they learned what Pomp and Circumstance was before they’d ever graduated anything simply because it meant Randy Savage was about enter. Or they knew the true hate of the blaring bagpipes harkening Rowdy Roddy Piper. Or they felt a thrill in seeing fear on a villain’s face when reminded of the ominous “When you hear the glass, it’s your ass” and Austin 3:16 was set to dispense justice.
And I’m certain that a completely new generation of kids will one day, when moments before all had seemed lost, fill a stadium with electricity at the opening guitar riffs of Demons. As the cymbals crash, they’ll explode as I jump from the curtains glistening and be-tighted in a froth of bald-headed fury. Bam!
Post Script: Mayhap this is the final Weekly Download in the style to which you’ve become accustomed. I go under the knife on Friday. And despite repeated assurances, I’m unconvinced that, after a Lortab laden convalescence, my wisdom will ever return. So if the above is your last peek into WD’s crumbling genius, I’d ask that you remember it as was. Take not the obtuse ramblings in WD VIII N19 – ∞ as the inevitable enervation of once revolutionary rhetoric. I was better than that.
I’ll see you on the other side.