Heartless Bastards - The Mountain
Label: Fat Possum Records – FP1125-1
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album, Limited Edition + 7"
7" Heartless Bastards - Wide Awake / So Quiet - FP1125-1
180 Gram Pressing
Genre: Blues, Rock
Style: Alternative Rock, Garage Rock, Modern Electric Blues, Indie Rock
A1 The Mountain
A2 Could Be So Happy
A3 Early In The Morning
A4 Hold Your Head High
A5 Out At Sea
B1 Nothing Seems The Same
B2 Had To Go
+ 7" Heartless Bastards - Wide Awake / So Quiet - FP1125-1
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The Heartless Bastards' story starts in Dayton, Ohio, where Wennerstrom found the name on a multiple choice video trivia game at a bar.
As a songwriting teenager during a time when GBV and Brainiac were packing local bars and three of the Breeders were still in town, Wennerstrom used to sneak into clubs to check out the scene. I would just see those people my music heroes hanging out at the bar like everyone else she remembers. I could see myself in them. It gave me inspiration to do my own thing.
After doing the usual business of playing local shows, the trio set out the following year on a regional tour. One of the first gigs of the trip took them to a bar in Akron, where Black Keys' drummer Patrick Carney just happened to be one of only a handful of people in the audience. This chance encounter led Wennerstrom and the Heartless Bastards to Fat Possum Records, with whom they released their debut, Stairs and Elevators, in early 2005.
The band moved on with critical praise in their back pocket, including a four-and-a-half star review from Rolling Stone, which took note that, when Wennerstrom opens her throat on Stairs and Elevators ... she sounds like she s wailing on the shoulders of giants; her sad and angry vocals channeling all the swagger and spit of a young Robert Plant
All This Time, was released during the summer of 2006, it received even more widespread critical acclaim than Stairs and Elevators. The Bastards played hundreds of shows to support the record. They played huge festivals and toured with Wilco & Lucinda Williams. Wennerstrom s songs appeared often on TV shows & in films, this would be measured by most as a huge success. Though in Wennerstrom s mind her sound and band were still evolving, and she knew it was time for a change.
In true ascetic discipline, she moved to Austin, Texas in 2007 for a change of inspirational scenery and a new recording project. With the help of producer Mike McCarthy (Spoon, Trail of Dead), she assembled a group of musicians with whom she gave the songs life and uncovered yet another layer of herself and the Heartless Bastards. The two new Bastards aren t Texas ringers, but fellow Dayton brethren Dave Colvin on drums, and Jesse Ebaugh on bass, who actually played on the original demo that hooked Fat Possum.
The album, entitled The Mountain, delivers the powerful howl that fans expect from the Heartless Bastards, but also weaves in adventure with mandolins, banjos, strings and Erika s transcendent voice.
"The Mountain" (11 tracks; 51 min.) introduces new elements to the band's sound, check out the opener and title track, which features a steel guitar. Check out also "Had To Go", a 7+ min. slow-burner of acoustic guitar, mandolin and violin, of all things, but somehow it works great.
Most other tracks are more traditional to the band's sound. Check out the hard-charging (and very short) "Early In the Morning", the beautiful "Out At Sea" (first radio single), and the pensive "Wide Awake". The album closes with 2 great tunes, "Witchy Poo" and "Sway".
Her somewhat deep voice, emitting from a small stature, lends a very unique quality to an already distinctively psychedelic sound. She possesses one of the most silky-smooth voices I've heard in a very long time. I would personally rank her up there with female singers such as Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders or Annie Lennox of The Eurythmics, even the underappreciated Grace Slick at times. These are three extremely heavy hitters for sure, and great company for an up and coming young singer, but her voice is truly that strong.
Heartless Bastards - The Mountain
Heartless Bastards - Out At Sea
(Live on Late Show with David Letterman)
Heartless Bastards - Sway
Mountain Park, MA 8.16.09
Heartless Bastards - Early In The Morning