The Orwells

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The Orwells
The Orwells at Pointfest in 2014.jpg
The Orwells performing at Pointfest
Background information
OriginElmhurst, Illinois, United States
GenresPunk rock, garage rock revival, indie rock
Years active2009–2018
LabelsAtlantic, Autumn Tone, Canvasback Music
Past membersMario Cuomo
Dominic Corso
Grant Brinner
Henry Brinner
Matt O'Keefe

The Orwells were an American rock band from Elmhurst, a suburb west of Chicago.[1] The members included Mario Cuomo (vocals), Dominic Corso (guitar), Matt O'Keefe (guitar), Grant Brinner (bass), and Henry Brinner (drums).[2] Their debut album Remember When was released in August 2012.[2] Their first EP, Other Voices, was released in June 2013, followed by Who Needs You in September 2013. The group disbanded as a result of accusations of sexual misconduct by members.


Remember When[edit]

The Orwells formed when all the members attended York High School in Elmhurst, Illinois. The band was discovered in late 2011 by Aquarium Drunkard blogger Justin Gage, who signed them to his Autumn Tone label imprint.[3] They graduated high school early in 2013 to pursue their musical career.[4]

The Orwells were named as one of the overlooked artists of 2012 in MTV's annual list.[5] Their single "Mallrats (La La La)" was also reviewed by music website Pitchfork.[6] They performed at Lollapalooza in August 2013. On November 5, 2013, The Orwells appeared on Later... with Jools Holland.[7] On November 22, 2013, Arctic Monkeys announced that The Orwells would be their support at nine American concerts in January and February 2014.[8]


On March 24, 2014, The Orwells announced their new studio album Disgraceland through social media outlets. The album was released on June 3, 2014, and includes singles such as “Who Needs You” and “Dirty Sheets”.[9]

The song "Who Needs You" was featured on the August 6, 2013, episode of NPR's All Songs Considered. Co-host Bob Boilen said "You can't say The Orwells without saying 'young'" and called the song his summer anthem.[9]

The Orwells performed on Late Show with David Letterman January 15, 2014.[10] Their performance was enthusiastically received, so much that Letterman and others called for an encore. The band did not respond, partly because guitarist Matt O'Keefe had broken all of his strings and physically could not play. After waiting for the Orwells, the house band reprised the Orwells' song and Paul Shaffer parodied the way that Mario Cuomo had lain on his back, thrashing.

On September 25, 2014, the band was featured on an episode of Adam Devine's House Party, performing their single "Who Needs You".

On December 7, 2014, the prospering note "Who Needs You" was found in an Apple Inc. commercial for the iPad Air 2, "Change is in the Air." This track was also to be later found in a Rockstar Games video game, "Grand Theft Auto V" on one of the in-game Rock N' Roll stations.

Accusations of sexual abuse[edit]

On September 10, 2018, Consequence of Sound published a series of allegations made by 9 women who accused members of the band with serious instances of sexual abuse:

"“The Orwells’ abuse was not only a well-known scene secret, but it was something that happened to so many women WITHIN the scene. Girlfriends of band members, friends of girlfriends of band members, to the women that are in the front row every show, etc.,” ... “People were SO close to the abuse. They saw what happened to their friends and knew these awful dudes lived nearby. I think they didn’t want to start even more trouble.”"[11]

Such allegations had been raised on Reddit and Twitter against Cuomo and the Brinner brothers.[12] The range of allegations include rape, sexual relations with underage girls, and sending unsolicited nude photos.[13] The Orwells issued a statement to Paste magazine denying allegations.[14]

On August 29, 2018, the Orwells announced that they had disbanded.[15] This came in the wake of members of the band being accused of sexual misconduct.[16][17][18]


On June 15, 2019, Mario Cuomo released the self-titled fourth studio album by The Orwells onto his YouTube channel.[19]

Musical influence[edit]

Several band members have expressed a love for the Supremes in interviews.[20]

The lead singer, Mario Cuomo, is heavily influenced by six distinctly different performers; Iggy Pop, Jay Reatard, Julian Casablancas, Cole Alexander and Jared Swilley of the Black Lips, Pelle Almqvist of the Hives, and Tyler, the Creator. Inspired by Tyler, the Creator's talk about skipping class, disobeying parents, and going to record. Mario is quoted saying that, "It like spoke to me even more than any other music I was listening to. I think if it wasn’t for him, I probably wouldn’t have had the balls to drop out or even be in a band."[21]

Band members[edit]

  • Mario Cuomo – vocals (2009–2018)
  • Dominic Corso – guitar, backing vocals (2009–2018)
  • Matt O'Keefe – guitar, backing vocals (2009–2018)
  • Grant Brinner – bass guitar (2009–2018)
  • Henry Brinner – drums (2009–2018)


Studio albums[edit]

Title Album details
Remember When
  • Released: August 7, 2012[22]
  • Label: Autumn Tone Records
  • Formats: 12" vinyl, Compact Disc, digital download
  • Released: June 3, 2014
  • Label: Canvasback/Atlantic[23]
  • Formats: 12" vinyl, Compact Disc, digital download
Terrible Human Beings
  • Released: February 17, 2017
  • Label: Canvasback/Atlantic
  • Formats: 12" vinyl, Compact Disc, digital download
The Orwells
  • Released: June 15, 2019
  • Label: Self-released
  • Formats: Digital download

Extended plays[edit]

Title Album details
Other Voices
  • Released: June 30, 2013
  • Label: National Anthem (ANTHEM0011)[24]
  • Formats: 10" vinyl, digital download
Who Needs You
  • Released: September 10, 2013
  • Label: National Anthem (ANTHEM0013)[25]
  • Formats: 10" vinyl, digital download

Other releases[edit]

  • Head Ep (2010) [unofficial]
  • Head Lp (2010) [unofficial]
  • Oh! Well (2011) [unofficial]


  1. ^ Pavlik, Carol. "Elmhurst Punk Band Headed for the Spotlight at Austin's South by Southwest". Elmhurst Patch. Retrieved January 7, 2013.
  2. ^ a b "Orwells". Autumn Tone. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
  3. ^ Aquarium Drunkard
  4. ^ Timony, Mariana. "Interview: The Orwells". Lo-Pie. Retrieved January 7, 2013.
  5. ^ MTV. "The Most Criminally Overlooked Artists of 2012". MTV. Retrieved January 13, 2013.
  6. ^ Minsker, Evan. "The Orwells: Mallrats (La La La)". Pitchfork. Retrieved January 13, 2013.
  7. ^
  8. ^ "2014 US Tour Support". November 22, 2013. Retrieved November 23, 2013.
  9. ^ a b "New Music: Elf Power, Bill Callahan, FKA Twigs, More". NPR. August 6, 2013. Retrieved November 23, 2013.
  10. ^ Late Show with David Letterman. January 15, 2014. CBS.
  11. ^ "Female Fans Use Social Media to Expose The Orwells' Allegations". Consequence of Sound. September 10, 2018. Retrieved June 15, 2019.
  12. ^ "3 members of The Orwells have received multiple accusations of sexual misconduct and homophobia". Reddit r/indieheads. August 26, 2018. Retrieved August 31, 2018.
  13. ^ "The Orwells respond to sexual assault accusations, cancel Chicago show". Consequence of Sound. August 28, 2018. Retrieved August 28, 2018.
  14. ^ "The Orwells Issue Statement About Sexual Abuse Allegations | Pitchfork". Retrieved August 28, 2018.
  15. ^ "The Orwells". Retrieved August 29, 2018.
  16. ^ Stroka, Mary (September 7, 2018). "Elmhurst natives' band The Orwells break up amid allegations of sexual misconduct". Suburban Life Media. Retrieved September 9, 2018.
  17. ^ Torres, Libby (September 5, 2018). "They Were Indie Rockers With a Bad Reputation. Then Their Alleged Victims Spoke Out". The Daily Beast. IAC. Retrieved September 9, 2018.
  18. ^ O'Connor, Roisin (August 30, 2018). "Rock band The Orwells break up after disturbing sexual abuse allegations emerge". The Independent. Retrieved September 9, 2018.
  19. ^ Young, Alex (June 15, 2019). "The Orwells quietly release new album less than a year after breakup". Yahoo! Entertainment. Retrieved June 15, 2019.
  20. ^ "The Orwells - New Music". Retrieved May 11, 2017.
  21. ^ "6 Frontmen Who Inspired The Orwells' Mario Cuomo". Retrieved May 11, 2017.
  22. ^ "Remember When by The Orwells". iTunes. Retrieved November 23, 2013.
  23. ^ "The Orwells Announce New Album Disgraceland, Share "Let It Burn" Video". Pitchfork. Retrieved April 25, 2014.
  24. ^ "The Orwells – Other Voices EP (ANTHEM0011)". National Anthem. Retrieved November 23, 2013.
  25. ^ "THE ORWELLS – WHO NEEDS YOU (ANTHEM0013)". National Anthem. Retrieved November 23, 2013.

External links[edit]