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February 2022

Check out Sleigh Bells' Teenage Kicks playlist, feat. Cyndi Lauper, Deftones, Madonna and more

Take a wander through Derek Miller's formative years.
Published: 10:59 am, October 13, 2021
Check out Sleigh Bells' Teenage Kicks playlist, feat. Cyndi Lauper, Deftones, Madonna and more

When you load up Spotify, a great big chunk of the time you can’t think what to play, right? You default back to your old favourites, those albums and songs you played on repeat when you first discovered you could make them yours.

This isn’t about guilty pleasures; it’s about those songs you’ll still be listening to when you’re old and in your rocking chair. So, enter Teenage Kicks - a playlist series that sees bands running through the music they listened to in their formative years.

Next up, Derek Miller from Sleigh Bells.

Cyndi Lauper - Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

Bonkers energy. Cyndi's voice sends me to the moon. The video rules, too; it's a massive part of my childhood. And the scene in the Goonies when she appears briefly on television while they tie Bran to the chair is sick as well. Big blasts of white noise on the snare. Euphoric synths etc. Rad. Love Cyndi.

Deftones - Dai the Flu

Sleeper smash on 'Around the Fur'. Abe and Chi (RIP) hold down the verses, Stephen steps in with a big, pretty, noisy riff for the chorus, Chino's vocals... just wow. I've been a Deftones fan for what feels like my entire life. I saw them on the Adrenaline tour (April 8th, 1996 in West Palm Beach, FL), and that was that... I started forming bands the very next day and never stopped.

Madonna - Like a Prayer

Gun to my head, I'm going with 'Like a Prayer' for my favourite Madonna song. 'The Immaculate Collection' was/is a staple for my family. When I was a kid, my mom and I would sit in burning hot Florida traffic and blast it over and over. I still remember the sound the cassette made when I put it in the player thingy. That sound meant joy was about to happen. This song is a masterpiece. Madonna and Patrick Leonard co-write. Perfection.

George Michael - Faith

So lean and mean. Is there ANY reverb on ANYTHING? There's nowhere to hide! Everything in this mix sits right on your ear, crystal clear for maximum impact. I can't even explain how the swelling Wham! organ intro makes me feel. I'd just end up trying to sound clever or poetic, don't want that. I love this song. Thank God for 'Faith'.

Tyler, The Creator - Corso

This is brand new, but I'm putting it in here cause it's my favourite track of the year (so far), and I can picture my 16-year-old self losing my mind to it. 58 seconds in, a stack of dissonant piano chords drop on us while Tyler is flipping out rapping about boats and houses and stuff. It's so, so inspiring and life-affirming; I can't get enough of it. If you haven't heard this record yet, give it a spin!

Smokey Robinson - Tracks of My Tears

My parents were huge Motown fans, so I'm sure I heard this when I was extremely young, but the first time I REMEMBER hearing it is when I saw Platoon in 1986 or '87 around age 7. It changed me. Marv Tarplin's opening guitar figure is so gentle and quiet and totally devastating. I don't know what else to say other than I love this song very much. I'm going to stop typing and listen to it.

Sleigh Bells - Never Say Die

I know, I am such a loser for putting one of our own songs on this list, but oh well! This is on the back end of our second record, Reign of Terror. The title is, of course, a Goonies reference (notice a theme here??). The track itself is really thin sounding and repetitive with nonstop double kick, overlapping guitar arpeggios and a Yamaha TG33 bell patch on top. I think the snare is from my OP-1?? Been a while. Alexis' vocal is super hypnotic and pretty. I love this track, and it would be cool for more people to hear it, so give it a chance.

Santo & Johnny - Sleepwalk

This plays during the opening titles of the Lou Diamond Phillips film La Bamba which is one of my favourites. I could throw a bunch of adjectives at this one - otherworldly, sublime, heavenly - but they all fall short. My 6-year-old self would sit in front of the VCR, play the opening, rewind the tape and play it again and again, over and over. This piece of music means the world to me. I feel lucky that at any moment in time, while I'm alive, I can put in my earbuds, hit play and experience this miracle of a song.

Taken from the October issue of Upset. Sleigh Bells' album 'Texis' is out now.

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