About Heartless Bastards
soothes quite like music does. Like the ultimate balm, it releases tension and
stress and reinvigorates the spirit.
With a warm patchwork of rock 'n' roll, psychedelia, folk, alternative, and blues,
Heartless Bastards unlock healing and catharsis within their music. Whether in
the studio or on stage, the Austin-based band fronted by vocalist, songwriter,
multi-instrumentalist, and producer Erika Wennerstrom calm as they captivate.
After generating over 100 million total streams and enrapturing audiences at
legendary venues such as Red Rocks Amphitheatre, the group continue to connect
with listeners everywhere through boundary-breaking sonics and
medicine," observes Erika. "It gives me a sense of purpose beyond just creating
art. The idea someone might find comfort in it or it can actually help another person is incredible to me. I don't know if I ever thought about it in those
terms when I was younger. I've realized it over the years though."
turn-of-the-century, Erika founded Heartless Bastards in Cincinnati, OH.
Inspired by the likes of Joan Jett, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, and more, she cut
early demos in 2003, performing the bulk of the instruments herself.
A bartending gig inspired the name Heartless Bastards. The bar's
touch screen game posed the question, "What is Tom Petty's backing band?" and
offered "The Heartless Bastards" as
an answer option, so she accepted this humorous twist of fate and adopted it as
her band's moniker.
initially came to life with Stairs and
Elevators in 2005, building a discography of fan favorites highlighted by All This Time , The Mountain , and the seminal Arrow . The latter captured #2 on
the Billboard Top Independent Albums
Chart, went Top 10 on the Tastemaker Albums Chart, and even cracked the Top
200. "Only For You" notably amassed north of 42.6 million Spotify streams and 17.2 million
YouTube views. In the wake of the album, Time attested, "Wennerstrom's voice is one of the cornerstones of their
success. It is tender even when it is severe, and she is unabashedly soulful
even when she rocks, almost as though she were at once performing a slow
country ballad and singing alongside Mark Bolan from T. Rex."
Meanwhile, 2021's A Beautiful Life arrived to widespread praise from Uncut, Glide, and Classic Rock with Pitchfork going as far as to claim, "A Beautiful Life is her best album as a vocalist, as she finds new
ways to bend her voice to different styles and sounds." In addition to sharing the stage with The Flaming Lips, The
Decemberists, Wolfmother, Lucinda Williams, and The Avett Brothers, they lit up
festivals a la Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits, Newport
Folk Festival, High Sierra Music
Festival, and more. Through it all, Heartless Bastards constantly evolve.
"The vibe is pretty
eclectic," she goes on. "My voice ties it together. The earlier albums
were a bit more garage- and
punk-influenced. We've drawn from classic rock, indie, and folk too. I love
music, and I'm always exploring sounds."
In 2022, they celebrate
the 10th anniversary of Arrow with a special limited-edition re-release on vinyl, new acoustic recordings, and the
addition of the previously unavailable "Got to Have Rock and Roll," "Parted
Ways," and "Bye Bye Baby Blues" originally by George "Little Hat" Jones.
"Arrow is the album that reached the most people,"
she smiles. "It's
cool to celebrate the success of it
and give fans something else. The response to 'Only For You' made me feel connected to people everywhere in a
beautiful way. I'll always be grateful for Arrow."
In the end, Heartless
Bastards might just be able to heal what ails you.
"Ultimately, I hope people
enjoy themselves when they're listening to our records
or seeing us live," she leaves off. "Playing shows
really brings me a lot of joy. I hope the connection translates. I'm ready
to tour a lot and release