I thought my Zoe Muth and the Lost High Rollers post was really random, but then I started to realize that random is what makes music really fun. There’s always someone/something new to find, and how you find them is usually — again — random (or at least that’s how it works for me). So, with that long-winded explanation in the books, the way I found the Heartless Bastards really shouldn’t sound all that strange.
I work in a television station right across the street from the Space Needle, which is located in an area called Seattle Center. There are always events happening at Seattle Center, including this weekend — it’s Bumbershoot. For those of you who don’t know, Bumbershoot is a huge, annual music and arts festival in the Emerald City. The best part about being so close is that I can hear some of the acts performing from my office (it’s a little echoey, but you can still get a good feel for the tunes).
I was pounding away on my shows last night when one of the bands peaked my interest. I immediately jumped on the Bumbershoot website to find out who was on stage. The answer — the Heartless Bastards. I’d never heard them before, but their name alone made them worth researching. I wanted to jump all over it, but I was working hard, so my research had to wait until this morning. Here’s what I found:
The Heartless Bastards are a “garage band” that formed back in 2003 in Cincinnati. They’ve since moved, so they’re now based in Austin, Texas. There are four people who make up the Heartless Bastards, but the centerpiece is singer/guitarist/songwriter Erika Wennerstrom. The iTunes review for the band’s latest album Arrow describes Wennerstrom as a “rock n’ roll goddess”:
“Wennerstrom is a versatile guitarist who has the rock bite of Chrissie Hynde, the wounded blues howl of singers like Cat Power and P.J. Harvey, and the classic rock soul of the women of Heart — all in one combustible package,” the review reads.
I haven’t had a ton of time to listen to their old stuff, but I like what I hear so far from Arrow (released on Valentine’s Day). ‘Parted Ways‘ and ‘Only For You‘ peaked my interest the most on the album. Heartless Bastards gets high scores for variety (often described as multi-dimensional). They slam songs like ‘Got To Have Rock And Roll‘, bring some country twang to ‘Low Low Low‘ and flashback to the Woodstock-esque ‘Down In The Canyon‘.
Here’s a sample of what the Heartless Bastards bring to the table (this is ‘Only For You’):
NOTE: You can actually get a free download of ‘Only for You’ by signing up for the Heartless Bastards mailing list on their website.
The Heartless Bastards’ Wikipedia page says the group is often compared to The Black Keys (also from Ohio), but I can’t say I hear a ton of resemblance (let’s be honest — The Black Keys are better). The Heartless Bastards have their own unique sound, and I think that’s what drew me to them from the beginning. This was a random find, but one I’m pretty happy with so far.
I’ll keep my ears peeled for another surprise from Bumbershoot today…
Have you listened to the Heartless Bastards? What do you think of them? I’d love to hear from you! Simply leave a message below or connect with me on Facebook, Twitter and/or Google+. Don’t forget to also check out http://allaroundtim.com for more of my take on music!