2016 was a great year for new music. A lot of highly anticipated new singles and albums were released – from Frank Ocean’s follow up to his blockbuster success channel Orange, to David Bowie’s new (and final) album, to Kanye West’s Life of Pablo. Even Brand New released their second new song since 2009. Lost in the dust left from the impact of so many mainstream artists’ new releases was the new music from Chicago suburbs’ garage-rock revivalists The Orwells.
They released three new singles from their upcoming new release Terrible Human Beings, slated to drop February 17, 2017. Below is the first of those singles, “Buddy,” a quick burst of energy that clocks in at around a minute and a half.
Each one of the three songs The Orwells released this year shows why this is a band you should already be familiar with. They each showcase their intense, right in your face energy. The band have established themselves as a lively band with incredibly interesting instrumentals that grab listeners by the ears and never really let go. And they’ve continued that trend on their new music while, if anything, getting more experimental – especially on their most recently released single “Double Feature.”
“Double Feature” is the longest of the three singles they released at seven minutes and nineteen seconds. They don’t deviate from what makes them who they are, but they’ve still evolved. The lyrics see the band dwelling on unflattering themes including self-deprecation, taking a girl “under the bleachers,” and going to jail. Mario Cuomo has always had a way of painting a picture with his words, developing characters with less-than-charming backstories and habits; and has a knack for stringing together clever lines. The rest of the band (Henry Brinner on the drums, Grant Brinner in charge of bass playing duty, and Dominic Corso and Matt O’Keefe each playing guitar) supplies power-packed backdrops for Cuomo to belt out Jim Morrison-esque vocals over. They’re talented at playing music that ranges from simple and catchy, to intriguing and distorted, and merging back and forth with ease.
The band started playing music together in 2009 when they were still in high school and had known each other for even longer – Henry and Grant Brinner are twin brothers, Cuomo and Corso are cousins, and each pair’s families are family friends with each other’s family and O’Keefe’s family. They quickly became known for their entertaining, energized sets, which helped them to be chosen by the Arctic Monkeys as support for a few American shows in January and February 2014. They made their network television debut in January 2014, as well, playing on the Late Show with David Letterman, who impressed Letterman and his sidekick Paul Shaffer so much they all but begged for an encore (which The Orwells did not give) and eventually Shaffer sort of took things into his own hands – see below. Cuomo’s performance was nothing short of strange, featuring him rolling around on the floor and sauntering over to the couch on the stage and taking a seat mid-song.
The Orwells’ last album, Disgraceland, was their first to make it to the Billboard 200 – debuting at 69 – as well as reaching 16th on the Billboard Alternative Album chart. It received mixed, but generally positive reviews, and was a big step forward for the band when it comes to attention. Cuomo’s storytelling capabilities and the band’s in your face instrumentals mesh with distorted guitar work incredibly well on the second single they released from their upcoming album, “They Put a Body in the Bayou.” The bass is catchy throughout the song, the drums play steady and powerfully, the guitar weaves through distortion from beginning to end, as Cuomo belts out vocals that just sound like they’re coming from a garage somewhere. This is probably the best representation of what to expect from the band and it really showcases them taking the step from being good at what they do, to being great at it. Here’s the audio for “They Put a Body in the Bayou,” check it out and get ready for The Orwells’ new album, Terrible Human Beings, out February 17, 2017.