Why you should care

Because maybe the unexpected spirit of rivalry can make the holidays bearable, if not fun.

The holidays. The season’s songs bombard us with noble notions of peace on earth and good will toward men. But what if our reality is less good tidings and cheer and more steely stare-downs, High Noon-style, in the toy section over who will grab the last Rainbow Loom?

Cue “noise pop” band (and aptly named) Sleigh Bells and their song “Bitter Rivals” on the independent label Mom+Pop Music. The single is from the Brooklyn duo’s album of the same name. Released earlier this fall, it’s the third in three years for band members Alexis Krauss and Derek Miller.

The song’s heavy amps, screeching guitar and lyrics are just the thing to inspire the gritty determination needed to endure the gladiator arena of the holidays.

The song’s heavy amps, screeching guitar and lyrics — “You are my bitter rival / but I need you for survival” — are just the thing to inspire the gritty determination needed to endure the gladiator arena of the holidays, also known as the Costco parking lot. With the chant “Be not afraid / be not afraid” coursing through your veins, you may have the courage to brave the three Ts of holiday checkout doom: Target, Toys “R” Us and Trader Joe’s.

The holiday season caps a year of increasing visibility for Sleigh Bells. This summer, their song “Crown on the Ground” off debut album, Treats (Mom + Pop Music and N.E.E.T. Recordings) was used for the trailer to Sophia Coppola’s film The Bling Ring. The comparatively chill “Rill Rill” from the same album served as the backdrop for the catchy iPhone 5c commercial in September. And in October and November, the band blazed through a 30-show, six-week tour to promote Bitter Rivals.

Perhaps blasting the brash sounds of Sleigh Bells seems a touch antithetical to the holiday season’s traditionally warm sounds and sentiments. (It could also raise eyebrows blaring out of your sensitive, eco-friendly hybrid as it rolls up to the mall.)

But let the naysayers have their cheery sleigh bells of “Winter Wonderland.” Come Christmas Eve as they emerge from the Apple Store dazed with a mere gift card, you, revved up by this Sleigh Bells tune, may just be the one to emerge victorious — arms “Rocky” style — with that last iPad Air.

And as you ring in 2014, you’ll have Sleigh Bells to thank for your newfound innovation and true grit — something that only a good rivalry can inspire.

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