The Manhattan Cartel

The Manhattan Cartel

 New York City, New York, USA

Vocalist Elinor Arwyn and Aaron strand are intent on ridding the world of saccharine and talentless pop stars by proving that blues guitar matched with raw vocals is still a lethal combination in this ever-broadening world of music. The Manhattan Cartel is out to make believers out of you again.


Vocalist ELINOR ARWYN and guitarist AARON STRAND are a blues-duo who rebel against auto-tuned club hits and coffee shop Indie pop. Joining musical forces in 2011, the up-and-coming duo mixes a sound that's deconstructionist and simplistic with themes that are grand, glamorous and universal. ARWYN and STRAND are directly influenced by LED ZEPPELIN, LIGHTNIN HOPKINS, EMINEM, MADONNA, BASQUIAT and LAGERFELD. Without a hint of irony, they call themselves "as competitive as professional athletes." Let the games begin.

ELINOR ARWYN is a New York original: a hard hitting twist of old-Hollywood femininity and biting modern wit. A singer raised on classical and gospel music, ELINOR is also a former ballerina (Sleeping Beauty, Concerto Barocco, Divertemento), but truly honed her swagger (and her blues) while performing at notorious after-hours hot spot, THE BOX. She emerged from the underworld of nightlife a chanteuse in the truest sense: a musical story teller, weaving words and spinning tales of glamour, heartbreak, desire and vengeance.

AARON STRAND grew up in Southern rock n' roll capitol Athens, Georgia and came out a gentleman with a (borderline) healthy appetite for danger. He drew attention as an actor on the stage (The Man Who Ate Michael Rockefeller, Caligula Maximus, Macbeth) but has since decided acting sucks and re-focused his voice through his first love, the blues Guitar. Following a tradition set forth by Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page and Jack White, Aaron fills each song with strong, rhythm and seamless transitions to smooth, soulful solos.

The pair is bonded by the same loyal tension as their illicit namesake.


The Manhattan Cartel's ever-growing catalog of songs consisting of one-offs recorded on a near weekly basis along with the eponymous debut EP - released in December of 2011 - can be heard in its entirety on the band's SoundCloud page here:

Set List

The Manhattan Cartel prides itself on tailoring the performance set list to each venue it plays. Much time and care is taken to ensuring that the overall mood and attitude of the venue is preserved in the lyrical content, song tempos, and overall pace of the set list.