Donate Now to Support KDHX

Listen Live
Wednesday, 08 February 2012 18:26

Heartless Bastards 2/8/12 + Video

Heartless Bastards 2/8/12 Louis Kwok
Written by Annah Bender
Rate this item
(5 votes)

Related Video

About this Media...

  • Date Recorded: February 8, 2012
  • Artist / Band: Heartless Bastards
  • Hosting Show: Gold Soundz
  • Sound: Aaron Ruby
  • Video: Tori Gilbert and Andy Coco

Every note Erika Wennerstrom sings is fully soaked with heart despite the name of her band -- Heartless Bastards.

The band's current lineup -- Wennerstrom (guitar, vocals), Jesse Ebaugh (bass), Dave Colvin (drums) and Mark Nathan (guitar) -- play either soulful garage rock or garage-influenced soul from the wide open spaces of Austin. Theirs is the sort of fame modest enough for the nightclub tour circuit but big enough for its britches to make end-of-year notable mention lists whenever they release a record, which, fortunately, is happening soon.

In fact, this Live at KDHX session spotlights four songs on the forthcoming release "Arrow."

The band expanded its audience with "The Mountain," from 2009, an album that was critically acclaimed for the aching, understated current of yearning that characterizes Wennerstrom's songwriting -- do not listen to "Sway" if you have just been dumped and there is a bottle of spirits in front of you. However, it's the 2006 record "All This Time" that stays in heavy rotation in my iTunes library. "All This Time," in fact (from the record of the same name), is a gorgeous love song that showcases Wennerstrom's extraordinary voice, which, as the music builds, swells from a garbled whisper to full-fledged howling. Chunky, bright guitars and rolling drums belie Wennerstrom's confessional lyrics. She has said that most of her songs are first picked out on an acoustic, which despite the electrifying power of each finished product makes sense with each listen.

"Arrow" (Partisan Records) is the Bastards' latest, produced at Spoon drummer Jim Eno's house in Austin. It ought to come with a Surgeon General's warning: Use caution if you have a pre-existing heart condition. The big single is probably "Parted Ways," an upbeat track about shaking off a breakup and a rust-belt hometown, all at the same time. "I need a little bit of whiskey and a little bit of time to ease my troubled mind," croons Wennerstrom before an arena-sized guitar solo kicks in, courtesy of recent addition Mark Nathan. Meanwhile, "Low Low Low" is the requisite soundtrack for young adult disaffection: it begins with a languid, plucking melody as Wennerstrom wails, "I left my home and started to roam / A new beginning out on my own."

This is a strong record that sounds a little cleaner than some of the band's earlier work without a whole lot of extra production evident. Where "All This Time" is the type of crashing, restless dysphoria straight out of a garage during a dim Midwest winter, I imagine "Arrow" played in a field under a cloudless Texas sky. More heartfelt than heartless, the new record is coming out on February 14 just in time to buy one for someone special -- and maybe one for yourself just in case your Valentine doesn't make it to St. Patrick's Day.

All photos by Louis Kwok.

Sponsor Message

Become a Sponsor

Find KDHX Online

KDHX on Instagram
KDHX on YouTube
KDHX on SoundCloud
KDHX on Facebook
KDHX on Twitter
KDHX on flickr

Local Artist Spotlight


The Driftaways

Mon July 28
The Driftaways are a seven man reggae band hailing from St. Louis. Their E.P. Don't Hide is full of high energy jams and groovey improves that gives them a good time vibe. Download their song "Don't Hide"…

Dad Jr: Get Down. Hard.

Sun June 29

88.1 KDHX Shows

m-guitar.jpg

KDHX Recommends

July
Thursday
31

Bradford Lee Folk & The Bluegrass Playboys

Bradford Lee Folk & The Bluegrass Playboys KDHX presents Bradford Lee Folk & The Bluegrass Playboys at The Stage, July 31 at 8pm. Tickets available online.   Born in Louisiana and raised in Missouri, Folk remembers watching his Dad pick the country blues on a...


August
Saturday
02

The Aching Hearts at Harvest Sessions 2014

The Aching Hearts at Harvest Sessions 2014 The Aching Hearts are the husband and wife duo of Ryan Spearman and Kelly Wells (host of Steam-Powered Radio on 88.1 KDHX), who recently released the CD "Just a Habit." Join them and KDHX for a morning of classic, old-time...


August
Wednesday
06

Discovery Series: Mandolin Orange

Discovery Series: Mandolin Orange KDHX presents Mandolin Orange as part of the Discovery Series on Wednesday August 6 at 7:30 p.m. The North Carolina-based duo combines bluegrass, rock and country, providing a modern take on age-old styles. Tickets available...


Online Users

6 users and 9279 guests online
Sign in with Facebook

SYSTEM: S5 Box

Login/My Account

Sign in with Facebook