Charming Disaster is a goth-folk musical duo based in Brooklyn, NY, formed in 2012 by Ellia Bisker and Jeff Morris. Inspired by the macabre humor of Edward Gorey and Tim Burton, the murder ballads of the Americana tradition, and the dramatic flair of the cabaret, they write playfully dark songs that tell stories about death, crime, myth, magic, folklore, science, and the occult.
Led by drummer Brad Elvis (Screams, The Elvis Brothers, Big Hello, The Romantics) and vocalist/guitarist/saxophonist Chloe F. Orwell (Big Hello), Chicago’s The Handcuffs will be releasing their fourth studio album Burn The Rails. The 13-song album was tracked at Kingsize Sound Labs, Chicago with producer/engineer Mike Hagler (Wilco, Neko Case, Billy Bragg, Mavis Staples, My Morning Jacket, The Mekons). Burn The Rails is being released by Pravda Records in June on CD, download and via streaming platforms and later on 12″ vinyl.
For the the new album, The Handcuffs found inspiration from the heady, analog days of early 1970s rock & roll, weaving together elements of glam, indie, garage, art and blues rock. Inhabiting some of the same musical turf as T-Rex, Mott The Hoople, Roxy Music, The Raconteurs, P.J. Harvey, Led Zeppelin, and Patti Smith – all filtered through a modern lens – they deliver bold, sexy songs with memorable melodies and unexpected twists.
Guest keyboardist Morgan Fisher (Mott The Hoople) demonstrates his synthesizer and piano prowess on a couple of tracks on the new LP. The relationship with Fisher, a musical hero of the band, began after singer Orwell’s rave review of Mott The Hoople’s 2018 reunion tour went viral on social media, attracting the attention of Fisher, who got in contact. From there a creative collaboration was sparked, in-spite of an ocean separating the now real-life friends.
Finishing the record during the peak of the pandemic and lockdown, gave several of the songs an inadvertent anthem-for-the-times feel – with themes of love and loss, heartache and hope, and even the great ideological divide that was as omnipresent as the virus.
Elvis and Orwell formed The Handcuffs from the ashes of Big Hello, their first band together, which released three indie label records and toured from coast to coast. Elvis’ career also includes a few major label go-arounds, arena tours, and a backstory that will be documented in a new autobiography in the near future. The duo’s eagerness to explore new sonic territory and evolve into an entity that aligned more with their ever-expanding influences and broad range of musical tastes prompted a change. The Handcuffs began as primarily a studio project, in which Elvis and Orwell wrote and recorded an abundance of material. During the process, they realized that they missed the live band experience, and so The Handcuffs as recording artists and a dynamic live band was born. Completing the line-up are bassist Emily Togni, lead guitarist Jeffrey Kmieciak, and keyboardist Alison Hinderliter, all of whom originate from different parts of the country, but have made Chicago their home.
TENNIS COURT OATH
Tennis Court Oath is:
A jaunty ride on a just-tamed stallion
A glass of bubbly under a lunar eclipse
A cabaret with a cup of strong tea
This trio of seasoned musicians explore searing pop songs with French sensibilities, weaving together fervent rock, smokey cabaret, and quasi-folk styles to bring you a refreshing repast of fun entertainment.
The band was created initially by longtime musical partners Babette Novak and Mike Collins, as Femme de Champagne. The Femmes released a full-length CD and two singles but needed an excellent bass player to round out the sound permanently. Charlie Short was added to the mix and the band was reborn as Tennis Court Oath.
Mike Collins – drums, hand percussion, backing vocals
Charlie Short – bass, backing vocals
Babette Novak – guitar, keyboards, vocals, hand percussion
Members also play in/have played in: Femme de Champagne, The Hurtin’ Kind, Third Sunday, Babette’s Feast, Tiberius Strange, Daddy Burger Swag, Phil Angotti and friends, The City Thrills, Psycho Ex-Lover and scads of others.
CLAMOR & LACE
Clamor & Lace Noise Brigade is Chicago’s first street marching band composed solely of musicians and performers of marginalized genders. In Clamor & Lace, musicians, dancers, and artists of all backgrounds and skill levels collaborate to create joyful, raucous, and high-energy performances. The band’s eclectic repertoire embraces and promotes female and non-binary composers–with cover songs by new wave and riot grrrl goddesses, pop divas, and outsider music legends, as well as an ever-expanding collection of strange and wonderful originals.