The Mountain

Heartless Bastards

I’m on the record about Ohio: I don’t like going there, I don’t like to watch OSU play and I definitely don’t like 98 Degrees (Cincy natives, the lot). It’s nothing personal against Buckeyes; I just don’t feel like there’s a lot of native culture in our neighbor to the north. Imagine my surprise, then, when I find out that Heartless Bastards, a tell-it-like-it-is country/blues/garage-rock trio, hail from the other side of the river. Such passion! Such soul! Such … banjo! Lead singer Erika Wennerstrom, who’s since re-located to Austin, lays her everything out for the listener viscerally, but plausibly; there isn’t a corny bone in her bluesy body. The banjo picking, the mandolin-ing, the fiddling would fool even a seasoned listener; I thought these bastards were from Memphis at the northernmost. Check out “Out to Sea,” “Be So Happy” and the title track for killer hooks and much more rock than you bargained for.