Led by acclaimed drummer Brad Elvis and vocalist/rhythm guitarist Chloe F. Orwell, Chicago's The Handcuffs explore broad sonic territory while believing in the power of a great radio hook. Inhabiting some of the same musical domain as T-Rex, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Killers and Spiders from Mars era Bowie, The Handcuffs deliver bold, sexy songs with memorable melodies and unexpected twists. Known as much for their dynamic live shows as for being prolific writers and producers, their songs have been featured in dozens of films and television shows on the CW, NBC, Showtime, MTV, VH1, PBS, HBO, A&E and more. The band has released three full-length albums and is currently working on the fourth. "The Handcuffs are one of the few bands capable of effectively combining the spontaneity and musicianship of glam/punk with the urgency and rough-edged sound of garage rock," says New Jersey-based rock critic Phil Rainone. "There's a sexy, swaggering street vibe throughout," adds North Carolina-based critic Bill Kopp, and the Chicago Sun-Times exclaims that The Handcuffs are simply "effervescent." Music fans and drum aficionados may recognize co-leader Elvis from a few major label go-arounds during his career (outspoken fans of his drum chops include "Little" Steven Van Zandt, Cheap Trick's Bun E. Carlos and Blondie's Clem Burke and Debbie Harry). Completing The Handcuffs powerhouse garage-glam lineup are bassist Emily Togni, lead guitarist Susie Q and keyboardist Alison Hinderliter.
The Handcuffs embody the spirit of rock music's uninhibited, sexy and overbearing appeal. A perfect blend of style and energy. They do not sound like anyone else, but at the same time they seem very familiar. They are influenced by everything good that sells and anything good that doesn't. Rock and roll music is loud (not just in volume, but in its nature), pompous and fun - and The Handcuffs embrace every reckless minute of it.
At first there were two...
Chloe F. Orwell, the (sometimes) designated blonde of the duo, is the lead singer whose stage presence and vocal stylings ooze sex and scorch and rock and roll. She can slide from a corduroy growl to a shimmering silky sigh in a Detroit second.
Brad Elvis, the other half of The Handcuffs, is a black-haired, four-handed drummer whose manic-panic style paints a 747 jet rhythm to every Handcuffs tune. Brad is also the chief songwriter (although Chloe is known to have a song or two stashed in her boots) and one of the visionaries of the duo. Bam!
The Chicago-based pair originally teamed up when Brad recruited Chloe as lead vocalist and contributing songwriter for his band Big Hello, which released three CDs and two EPs, played hundreds of shows around the country, and received airplay on college and commercial radio all over the globe. Their potent creative chemistry earned the duo praise from fans and critics alike for their musicianship and showmanship plus accolades in the mainstream and alternative press throughout the world, including the Los Angeles Times, LA Weekly, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Columbus Dispatch, Illinois Entertainer, The Herald-Review, The Big Takeover, Punk Planet, Amplifier, Sound Affects (Sweden), Jem (Japan), Mojo (U.K), Bucketfull of Brains (U.K.) and countless others.
The Handcuffs evolved from Brad and Chloe's desire to explore a broad sonic territory, while still believing in the power of a great radio hook. Their songs are fresh yet timeless; edgy yet accessible; skillfully crafted yet easily memorable. Their influences are many, but the short list ranges from Sparks to Bowie, Eno to T-Rex, PJ Harvey to the Pixies, White Album to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs with some Blondie and Bacharach tossed in for good measure. You could spend all day trying to name that tune, but by nighttime it would still be The Handcuffs.
The duo started out making boombox demos in their apartments with Chloe on guitar or bass and Brad often singing the lead vocals and keeping time on a cardboard box or whatever was handy. Proper studio sessions, with the help of additional guest instrumentalists, followed and The Handcuffs recorded more than three albums worth of material. Then came song placement in television shows and films, followed by a self-produced music video (with more on the way), all of which seemed to help get the buzz in motion - not only in Chicago, but in other parts of the country, as well. With plans to release their debut album, they finally decided to put a live band together. Oh, and then they got married.
To complete their line-up, Brad and Chloe have welcomed three powerhouse musicians to help them deliver the rock. Enter bassist Emily Togni, a Tennessee-by-way-of-Arkansas native; Susie Q (another Arkansas native), on lead guitar; and former New Jersey girl Alison Hinderliter on keyboards.
Prolific writers and producers, The Handcuffs have officially released three albums, recorded with Mike Hagler (Wilco, the Pulsars, Neko Case, the Mekons) at Kingsize Sound Labs in Chicago, and are currently working on the fourth. Songs from the debut CD "Model for a Revolution," their second "Electorluv" and their third "Waiting for the Robot," (in addition to many unreleased tracks) have been placed in numerous feature films and television shows on the CW, MTV, VH1, A&E, E!, Showtime, PBS, FUSE, Fuel, ABC and NBC, including Gossip Girl, Roadtrip Nation, Jersey Shore, Snooki & JWOWW, The Hills, Celebrity Rehab and many more. The Handcuffs are also featured on the soundtrack of the Sundance and SXSW award winning documentary "The Education of Shelby Knox" and the critically lauded Showtime special "Wendy Liebman: Taller on TV."
The Handcuffs have received airplay on dozens of college, commercial, satellite and internet radio stations throughout the world, including KROQ (Los Angeles), KCRW (Los Angeles), KCSN (Los Angeles) InterFM 76.1 (Tokyo), WXPN (Philadelphia), M3 Radio (NewYork City), Onda Madrid (Spain), WKQX (Chicago), WLUW (Chicago), GOLDIE'S GARAGE (Sirius Satellite), KEUL (Girwood, AK), WECS (Willmantic, CT), KWAR (Waverly, IA), WLFR (Pomona, NJ), KCSU (Ft. Collins, CO), WCUR (West Chester, PA), WCBN (Anne Arbor, MI), WLOY (Baltimore, MD), KUNM (Albuquerque, Santa Fe) and many more. The band has also performed at CMJ in New York City and on hundreds of festival and club stages throughout the country.
The Handcuffs' goals for the future: keep writing, keep recording, keep evolving.
Web design and development by Orwell & Fischoff: www.fischoff.comFull band cover photo by Christy Bassman. Elvis & Orwell cover photo by Sam Pillsbury.
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