If the nascent football season needed a soundtrack, it may’ve just found one in Sleigh Bells' stadium-stomping single “Bitter Rivals.” From its chopped and screwed “We Will Rock You” beat to its title to the feral Jock Jams breakdown in its coda—not to mention guitarist Derek Miller’s LSU jersey and tiger-striped guitar—it’s almost as if the song was commissioned by the NCAA. Pigskin overtures aside, though, “Bitter Rivals” is also Sleigh Bells affirming its status as an honest-to-God pop act. As a duo, Miller and singer Alexis Krauss released two fine records previously, but they were obtuse enough to keep Sleigh Bells confined to minor indie stardom. “Bitter Rivals” cleverly moves the dial closer to the center without sacrificing all the thrash and sonic hubris that made them critical darlings in the first place.
A filmmaker returns to his hometown to profile the patriarch of a family farm