I went down the Heartless Bastards path because a buddy of mine kept talking them up. Then I saw they were from Ohio and have a Black Keys style (somewhat), so I dove in. The leader, literally and figuratively, is vocalist Erika Wennerstrom. She runs the show, named the group, and has been the one constant in the band’s almost decade-long history. I Googled her and there are a ton of recent interviews with her because this album was released in Feb 2012 and they toured in mid/late 2012. She’s passionate about her music for sure.
If the term blues rock is used to describe Michael Katon and Heartless Bastards, I welcome the breadth of the genre. Knowing that I only own live stuff from Katon and studio stuff from Heartless Bastards, I cautiously place Katon towards the blues end of the spectrum and Heartless Bastards towards the rock end.
Wennerstrom’s voice kicks ass. It kind of has an occasional 70s twang, southern notes, and a touch of raspiness, but is well-conditioned for the ears of mainstream pop lovers. It carries well over the guitars and drums even on the loud, fast songs.
I’m running through these songs trying to figure out which ones I like best and what makes them distinctive and I’m struggling. I’ve been through the album maybe four times total. I don’t necessarily have a favorite song and I feel like this is one of those albums that I’ll just listen to in it’s entirety every time I pick it up, that I’ll put it on when I’m not looking to achieve any particular purpose, when I just want some rock ‘n roll that’s a little artsy.