It’s been a couple years since we heard new music from Sleigh Bells. And even though the noise rock duo of singer Alexis Krauss and guitarist Derek Miller stormed back on Wednesday (Oct. 23) with a haunting track whose roots are nearly 150 years old, they did it with their signature future buzz energy.
The song — a cover of blues icon Lead Belly‘s “Where Did You Sleep Last Night” (itself a spin on a folk tune believed to have originated in the 1870s) — was featured in the trailer for director Reed Morano’s upcoming Blake Lively/Jude Law drama The Rhythm Section and released on all streaming and digital services on Wednesday.
“We first met Reed Morano in 2013 when she acted as cinematographer for our ‘Bitter Rivals’ video. Not only was she a stellar DP but she was exceptionally kind, funny, creative, smart and humble,” the band wrote in a statement about the cover, which was made famous again in 1993 when Nirvana peformed a devastatingly urgent version on their MTV Unplugged special.
“She left a real impression on us and her tremendous success is no surprise. We’ve kept in touch with Reed over the years as her body of work has grown, and were honored this summer when she asked us to cover Lead Belly’s ‘Where Did You Sleep Last Night’ for the trailer for her upcoming film The Rhythm Section. The Nirvana and Lead Belly versions of the song are total classics, but with some apprehension we decided to give it a shot,” Sleigh Bells continued. “Reed and her team made an incredible trailer, and we’re happy to share the full version of our cover today.”
The duo do the song justice with their take, which opens with an ominous series of bouncing bass notes and chilly chimes behind Krauss’ whispered vocals, which explode at the one-minute mark as her voice is multiplied over the crashing arrangement, only to slip into a delicate acoustic glide ending.
Listen to “Where Did You Sleep Last Night” and watch the Rhythm Section trailer below.