Heartless Bastards

Photo credit: Linda Beecroft

Calling myself fan of Heartless Bastards is an understatement. They’re one of those bands that I’ve been on board with since the moment I heard them. Erika has been teasing this solo album for awhile so I’m psyched to finally hear a track. If you’re a fan of Erika, you’re going to love it. It has some similarities while striking its own identity. Here’s some info on the new album.

“It’s just more of me,” she says. “It’s as simple as that. I was able to get deeper and you get another level of my heart and soul. And, it’s really about my journey of self-awareness and healing and finding acceptance and self-love. It’s very empowering.”

Wennerstrom attributes her deep emotional journey, in part, to two pivotal trips in the past year, which resulted in 400 voice notes on her phone with various lyric and melody ideas. “I went down to the Amazon jungle in 2015 right before the last Heartless Bastards record, Restless Ones, was released. I was at a point where I was deeply unhappy, and on a whim, I decided to do an Ayahuasca [pronounced eye-uh-wah-ska] retreat. Despite the idea frightening me, I felt I needed something to change with in me so bad that I had nothing to lose. It really opened the door and started me on a path to many self realizations,” she says.

Erika Wennerstrom is here

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2009 HearYa session w/ Heartless Bastards

2012 HearYa session w/ Heartless Bastards



I have been waiting for this for what seems like forever. Even since Partisan Records PR Guru, Shira Knishkowy suggested I see Christopher Denny at SXSW in 2013; I have been anxiously awaiting his album. But for all my impatience, it is nothing considered to the path that has led Denny to this point.

Denny has been battling addictions for a stretch of time that has led to the delay of his Partisan debut. Partisan Records founder Chris Putnam has this to say about Denny, “I saw Chris perform in the back of a club in New York in 2006. He had the kind of timeless, ethereal voice you seldom hear. There’s a sad, beautiful rhythm and poetry in his music that’s hard to wrap my head around. When I started the label, I searched him out and we made an album in upstate NY with versions of some of the songs on Roses. Chris was a mess. Although the album had some incredible moments, it was put aside. Chris went on a massive personal decline and we lost contact. In 2010, when he was putting his life back together, he got in touch. He was in recovery and we made If The Roses Don’t Kill Us. In the process, Chris and his music experienced a rebirth.”

Denny’s voice has a beautiful warble to it and you’ll easily be reminded of Roy Orbison. I have had the pleasure of seeing him live twice and both were wonderful performances. The lead track, Our Kind of Love features Erika Wennerstrom of The Heartless Bastards and its every bit as good as you would imagine.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa

Christopher Denny is here

Heartless Bastards are here. Our sessions with Heartless Bastards are here and here


Hi Kids. You like that rock and roll? We do as well and we’re going to give you a chance to see not one, but two fantastic bands that play guitars, drums, bass and all the other shit that makes music worth rocking to. I’m talking about Heartless Bastards & Futurebirds .

The show is Monday, October 22nd at The Metro. So if you like music that sticks to your ribs like a meatloaf sandwich, email us at freeshit@hearya.com.

Heartless Bastards – Session One

Heartless Bastards – Session Two

Futurebirds – Session

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Heartless Bastards, Live Session #101

by oz on April 25, 2012

On day one of SXSW, Heartless Bastards gave us one of our best memories. If you’ve ever been to SXSW, you know to expect your fair share of problems – venues with awful acoustics, sound problems, and laptop failures for the hipster bands. You expect issues in parking lots set up as makeshift stages, but not at famous Austin venues like Antone’s. But just as Heartless Bastards took the stage at Antone’s and played the first chords of “Parted Ways,” the power in the entire venue shut down and Erika Wennerstrom’s powerful voice became distant, trailing off without the benefit of a microphone. The power came back on a few minutes later and the band tried again. Same result. Then again. Same result.

Lesser bands may have been thrown off by such an unexpected catastrophe in a world-class venue. I’ve seen bands under similar circumstances throw in the towel, incapable of playing the set other than exactly as planned with a sound engineer tweaking controls to make the band’s sound just right. But Heartless Bastards are capable. After the third failed attempt at “Parted Ways,” they all just unplugged, grabbed their acoustics and walked to the front of the stage. The crowd, previously sparse, scattered and chattering across Antone’s, huddled as close to the stage as possible and the room fell silent.

The set, feeling more like a backyard BBQ with friends, was pure magic. The band exchanged jokes and casual conversation with the crowd between songs and Erika’s howling vocals still managed to fill the room. Heartless Bastards’ new album, Arrow, is their strongest effort to date and seeing the songs performed in this stripped down setting only validated its greatness.

This is our second session with Heartless Bastards (check out the first one here) and we were thrilled to welcome them back to Shirk Music + Sound as they passed through Chicago. The video format is a little different this time around, utilizing only a single camera for the duration of the set. The band was recently seen on Letterman and they’re touring like mad (I plan to catch them in Lawrence, KS on 5/29). Check the dates, listen to the session as an appetizer, and treat yourself to a night out at the rock show if they’re passing through town.

Heartless Bastards Band Introduction

Exclusive: Heartless Bastards – Got To Have Rock and Roll (Video: YouTube | Vimeo)

Exclusive: Heartless Bastards – Parted Ways (Video: YouTube | Vimeo)

Exclusive: Heartless Bastards – Simple Feeling (Video: YouTube | Vimeo)

Exclusive: Heartless Bastards – Skin and Bone (Video: YouTube | Vimeo)

Download the Heartless Bastards Live Session as a zip file.

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Free Heartless Bastards Tickets! [Valentine’s Day Giveaway]

February 13, 2012

We have a pair of tickets to giveaway for tomorrow’s Heartless Bastards show at Lincoln Hall! Just email us your full name at freeshit@hearya.com to claim them. We’ll respond by noon tomorrow if you’re the winner and the tickets will be held at will call for you. The show also celebrates the release date of […]

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Heartless Bastards – Arrow [Album Review]

February 6, 2012

2012 is shaping up to be all about the women of indie music. We covered incredible albums from First Aid Kit and Sharon van Etten already and Heartless Bastards are equally deserving of praise. Erika Wennerstrom is the heart and soul of Heartless Bastards and she’s at her best on Arrow. Arrow is the fourth […]

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Heartless Bastards Parted Ways

December 1, 2011

I just listened to the song “Parted Ways” from Heartless Bastards upcoming album, The Arrow. This album is officially the one I’m most eagerly anticipating in 2012, but then again, Erika Wennerstrom could sing show tunes and I’d listen. Based solely on this track and the buffalo cover art, the band sounds a little less […]

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The Gaslight Anthem w/ Heartless Bastards @ Masquerade in Atlanta [Concert Review]

May 13, 2009

The Gaslight Anthem make me want to dance like Kevin Bacon in Footloose. Do you know the scene I’m talking about? He flails his arms at the steering wheel, dramatically blows cigarette smoke into the air out of his mouth and nose holes and then chugs a beer before run-dancing his mother effing ass off […]

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HearYa Live Session 41: Heartless Bastards

March 5, 2009

Two words: Erika Wennerstrom. I’m not saying that the rest of the band is insignificant. They are great, but damn Erika can sing and play. I’m from Ohio and went to college near Dayton and Cincinnati, where Heartless Bastards originated, and its safe to say that the band is an anomaly coming out of the […]

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Heartless Bastards give an unreleased acoustic track, perform on Letterman [new mp3, SXSW 2009]

February 12, 2009

Heartless Bastards stopped in our studio for a live session with Shirk and have since been up to some good things. They just released an acoustic version of “Early In The Morning” off of their latest release The Mountain. It’s just Erika Wennerstrom playing guitar and singing, but what else did you need? The also […]

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