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There is little doubt in my mind that the Heartless Bastards’ album “Arrow” will hold a prominent position in my top 10 albums of the year and their live session this morning was even better!

Singer Erika Wennerstrom is just a powerhouse. Originally from Ohio (and it’s hard not to at least mention The Black Keys, who they have more in common with than their Ohio roots), the band relocated to Austin four years ago after Erika ended a 9-year relationship. You could hear the angst in their 2009 album “The Mountain” and her primal, pleading vocals. It’s a bit weightier than their new work, which is still heavy, musically speaking, but the overall tone seems a bit lighter, “Parted Ways” being a perfect example.  The band “road tested” the new songs by playing them on the road and then hopping into the studio just days later with producer Jim Eno (from Spoon).

Also, Jason Bentley has very much enjoyed saying the band’s name on the air over the last few months and asked Erika where it came from. It ends up she was working as a bartender and, while playing a video trivia bar game, it popped us as a wrong answer to the question about the name of Tom Petty’s backing band (the Heartbreakers) and she thought it was funny. She was also a fan of Joan Jett and the Blackhearts as a kid so it reminded her of that and…it sounded tough.

Check out the full session in the archives here.

RR

Heartless Bastards by Larry Hirshowitz

Heartless Bastards Live on KCRW Set List

Parted Ways

Got to Have Rock N Roll

Only for You

Skin and Bone

The Arrow Killed the Beast

Simple Feeling

Late in the Night

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