Heartless Bastards

Biography

Dine Alone Records is excited to announce the June 16 release of the new highly anticipated Heartless Bastards record. Titled Restless Ones, the album is the band’s fifth and was produced by GRAMMY® Award-winning producer John Congleton (St. Vincent, Angel Olsen, Swans). […]

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Dine Alone Records is excited to announce the June 16 release of the new highly anticipated Heartless Bastards record. Titled Restless Ones, the album is the band’s fifth and was produced by GRAMMY® Award-winning producer John Congleton (St. Vincent, Angel Olsen, Swans). Restless Ones was tracked in August 2014 during a 10-day session at El Paso, TX’s renowned Sonic Ranch. Located on 2,300 acres of pecan orchards bordering the Rio Grande and Mexico, the studio – the largest residential recording complex in the world – provided the perfect setting, miles away from all real world responsibilities and thus able to fully invest themselves in the act of creation.

“We took a lot of chances,” says singer/songwriter Erika Wennerstrom, “taking the sounds in different directions in order to grow. I don’t ever want to make the same album twice.”

Heartless Bastards — Wennerstrom, guitarist Mark Nathan, bassist Jesse Ebaugh, and drummer Dave Colvin — have spent the past decade in motion, boldly pushing their unique brand of rock ‘n’ roll into new shapes over four acclaimed albums and nearly non-stop roadwork. Now, with Restless Ones, the band sets out once again, blazing a path to a place of shifting moods, seasoned songcraft, and unbridled spontaneity. Restless Ones is the follow-up to 2012’s breakthrough Arrow. The album finds Wennerstrom exploring as-yet-unvisited avenues of sound and sensation, her bravery and ambition readily apparent in the emotional timbre and the sheer physicality of her songs. Her spellbinding vocals are of course front and center, her one-of-a-kind voice as primal, cathartic, and indefinable as ever.

Having spent the better part of two years on tour, summer 2014 saw Heartless Bastards humming on all cylinders and ready to commence work on their next record. Wennerstrom began honing in on the myriad ideas she had accumulated, developing melodies and arrangements though not yet committing lyrics to paper. She experimented with vowel and consonant noises, toying with untested sounds and instrumentation.

The band put their back into the project as one, living together, dining together, always alert to their mission. The communal nature and concentrated schedule of the Sonic Ranch sessions proved an intense but inspirational combination. They were marked by Heartless Bastards’ openness to the unfamiliar, allowing previously untapped influences – from The Byrds and Syd Barrett to the Faces and the Flaming Lips – to take root in their own distinctive blues-powered rock ‘n’ roll.

“We started with sketches and ideas of directions,” Ebaugh says, “but allowed the process of discovery to guide the finalization. It allowed us to think about the songs more globally and really flesh them out.”

“There were some happy accidents,” Colvin says. “Things that were completely organic, that could’ve only happened in that moment. Things are still shifting, nothing’s set in stone.”

On the other hand, writing the lyrics was something Wennerstrom didn’t want to leave to chance, and she found the process daunting, yet ultimately rewarding. “Writing words is always a real challenge for me,” she says. “So I end up taking off in my car and roaming around by myself looking for inspiration. I think in doing that I’m taking myself out of my comfort zone. I turn my world upside down over and over and start anew.”

Further insight came from such literary touchstones as Haruki Murakami, Jack Kerouac, and the late photojournalist/artist/activist Dan Eldon, whose “Be Here Now” philosophy is at the very heart of Restless Ones.

“I love the idea of ‘The Journey Is The Destination,'” she says, referencing Eldon’s most famous work. “Not looking too far ahead and really focusing on the present. I’ve tended to look so forward that I forget to stop and smell the roses. The process of working towards the things you want in your life is more important than the goal itself.”

“As always, Erika’s lyrical honesty informs the behavior of the whole project,” says Ebaugh. “There comes a time in an artist’s trajectory when you realize that your entire life experience is expressed through the work, so you better be able to relax and let the work reflect the experience that is yours.”

Restless Ones was finished in the fall with two mixing sessions at Congleton’s Elmwood Recording in Dallas. Heartless Bastards’ next challenge is bringing the album’s studio-crafted songs to the stage.  “It’ll be fun to chuck it all at the wall and let the collective experience of band/audience dictate the conversation of the music,” Ebaugh says.  “That’s the mission ultimately: rock ‘n’ roll communion.”

Members

  • Erika Wennerstrom - vocals, guitar, piano
  • Jesse Ebaugh - bass
  • Dave Colvin - drums
  • Mark Nathan - guitar

Contacts

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Videos

“Hi-Line”

“Gates of Dawn”

“Gates of Dawn”