Looking at The Orwells’ last two albums with a more sobering, mid-20s hangover, we see they’ve grown up, they still make rock ‘n’ roll that nods to Bruce Springsteen and classic punk, and they still don’t trip over the snarky celebration of party culture that, for this band, was a rise to teenage fame. They released Terrible Human Beings in February on Canvasback Music, and today they’ve shared two previously unheard songs, “Vanilla” and “What’s So Entertaining.” Both were recorded during the album’s sessions with producer Jim Abbiss, who’s also worked with the Arctic Monkeys and Adele.
Mario Cuomo has a voice that you take seriously—it doesn’t take heavy listening to understand why. It was Popmatters that wrote, “The group has elevated their songwriting ambition” in regards to this last album, and they’ve at least wised up enough to realize everything is wrong. “Vanilla” opens with whiffs of something grungy and gritty, tied to the song’s subject matter: “Middle America / You want your families vanilla.” And then on “What’s So Entertaining,” Cuomo plugs perceptions of a generation (“Stuck in wet pavement / spend it don’t save it / millennial sensations”) and asks a very real question: “What’s so entertaining when nothing’s ever changing?” Maybe with that off their chests, the party can continue.
The Orwells just finished a European tour supporting Weezer and have embarked on a U.S. tour supporting The Pixies through Dec. 13—dates below. We’ve included “Vanilla” and “What’s So Entertaining,” plus “Southern Comfort,” one of the songs that made us fall in love with the rustling, tumbling, teenage spirit of The Orwells in the first place.
The Orwells Tour Dates:
01 – Portland, Ore. @ Roseland Theater w/ Pixies
03 – Seattle, Wash. @ The Paramount w/ Pixies
04 – Vancouver, B.C. @ Queen Elizabeth Theatre w/ Pixies
06 – Berkeley, Calif. @ Cornerstone w/ Pixies
08 – Napa, Calif. @ Uptown Theatre Napa w/ Pixies
09 – Napa, Calif. @ Uptown Theatre Napa w/ Pixies
11 – Santa Cruz, Calif. @ The Catalyst w/ Pixies
12 – San Luis Obispo, Calif. @ The Fremont Theater w/ Pixies
13 – Los Angeles, Calif. @ Hollywood Palladium w/ Pixies