It’s taken me years (and a couple near misses) to finally catch the Old 97’s, despite having reviewed Rhett Miller’s (excellent) The Instigator for my college paper when it came out (15 years ago, holy smokes) and abundant recommendations of their live show. Fortunately, the Old 97’s haven’t gone anywhere. Friends, if you too are late to the party, it is time to effect a remedy. They sound timeless, transporting you to an alt-universe in which alt-country had taken over the jukebox rather than disappearing into Jeff Tweedy’s snappy Stetson. At age 45, windmill-strumming his acoustic guitar, Miller looks not…
Tag: Heartless Bastards
45. David Ramirez – Apologies – Singer / Songwriter David Ramirez wrote the wonderfully introspective folk album that is at times extremely downtrodden and sad, it’s a personal, wear your heart-on-your-sleeves kind of record, that’s posed in a songwriter / storyteller fashion. With his rough voice, and country-tinged music, this may be the most telling and open album of the year, and that is a great thing. Listen: David Ramirez – Paper Thin | Buy: Apologies 44. Reptar – Body Faucet – This may be the most dance-worthy album of the year, every song is laden with perfect beats that will get…
We caught the Heartless Bastards in town on Friday night as they landed at the Royale here in Boston. Check out the photographic evidence from Ian Doreian (@loroxphotog)
Austin’s Heartless Bastards release their album Arrow the follow-up to ’09’s The Mountain, which found their way deep into my library and became an album that I enjoyed for its folk rock meets punk noise sort of aesthetic. What Heartless Bastards have done with Arrow is quite similar, an expansive folk rock effort that really puts Erika Wennerstrom on display.
Essentially, Wennerstrom’s voice is the heart and soul of this band and this record. She’s got the passionate sound of Joplin, and a bit of Joan Jett in her voice and style as she lights up this new album. At its core, this is a Folk Rock album, one that seems entirely 70’s influenced. The music is guitar driven, and although there are a few down tempo folk songs like “Marathon,” or “Low Low Low,” there’s a lot of rock and roll here. Rockin’ songs like “You Gotta Have Rock & Roll,” “Parted Ways,” & “Late in the Night” are adorned by heavy riffs and hard driving rhythms, the album strikes a good balance as far as musical style, and luckily always features Wennerstrom’s incredible voice. The album’s arc and storyline sort of creates a feeling of loneliness in travel as I imagine a group of vagabond musicians find their way across the country, connecting with people, going their own way, and finding themselves in the process, and I imagine that’s sort of the way the band feels as they have matured and found their way through their career.
Songs that stuck out to me were the hard driving, “Gotta Have Rock & Roll,” a song that sounds as though it was pull straight from the 70’s era, the ambling, “Only For You,” which to me really defines this band, and Wennerstrom as she stretches the vocals to a fantastic level; and finally, the closing track “Down in the Canyon,” a 7 minute epic rock track with huge crashes, grungy guitars, a dirty, heavy feel, and a soaring finish, its a great feeling track, and the WAY you should finish an album like this.
It’s a great album, the furthers the lore of this bands eclectic energy and spirit, and will make you fall in love with it.
Tour Dates: (HUGE FREAKIN TOUR)