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Heartless B**tards

Anchored by the powerful vocals and incisive songwriting of Erika Wennerstrom, the Heartless B**tards are a roots rock band whose tough, emotionally resonant music incorporates elements of blues, hard rock, garage punk, and country as filtered through tales of a hardscrabble life lived in the American Midwest. Erika Wennerstrom was born in Dayton, Ohio; her parents broke up when she was nine, leaving her mother to support her and her brother. She grew up with a keen interest in music and songwriting, but it wasn't until she was 18 that she summoned the courage to begin singing in public after she'd dropped out of school, left Dayton, and settled in Cincinnati. Wennerstrom picked up a guitar, began writing songs, and started performing at open-mike nights and for family and friends, and in 2002 she decided to form a band. Taking the name "The Heartless B**tards" from an incorrect answer on a multiple-choice trivia game (the question: what is the name of Tom Petty's backing band), Wennerstrom cut a demo tape late in the year with a handful of local musicians, including guitarist Reuben Glaser, bassist Jesse Ebaugh, and drummer Dave Colvin. In the summer of 2003, the Heartless B**tards began playing out with a lineup that featured Wennerstrom on vocals, guitar, and keyboards, Mike Weinel on guitar, Adam McAllister on bass, and Colvin on drums. This edition of the band proved short-lived, but the group found a stable lineup when Wennerstrom met bassist Mike Lamping. As Wennerstrom gained confidence in her skills on electric guitar, she and Lamping reintroduced the Heartless B**tards as a power trio with the addition of drummer Kevin Vaughn. The B**tards began playing regularly throughout Ohio and the Midwest, and when Patrick Carney of the Black Keys saw the band at a small club, he liked what he heard and passed along a copy of their demo to Fat Possum Records, the Black Keys' label at the time. Fat Possum liked the demo and signed the Heartless B**tards, releasing their first album, Stairs and Elevators, in 2005. A second album, All This Time, followed in 2006, and the Heartless B**tards were earning enthusiastic notices from critics and found themselves sharing stages with the likes of Wilco and Lucinda Williams. However, Wennerstrom and Lamping had become romantically involved, and when they broke up, they found it too difficult to work together, so Wennerstrom opted to fold this lineup of the group. She relocated to Austin, Texas and recorded a third Heartless B**tards album, The Mountain, using a handful of session musicians. When it came time to tour behind the album, she recruited Jesse Ebaugh and Dave Colvin, who had played on her first demos, to play in the new version of the band. The trio expanded to a quartet with the addition of guitarist Mark Nathan, who originally signed on as the band's soundman. In 2011, this edition of the Heartless B**tards went into the studio with Spoon percussionist Jim Eno serving as producer; the group's fourth album, Arrow, was released by Partisan Records in early 2012. Arrow became the Heartless B**tards' first album to break into the top half of the Billboard Top Albums chart, peaking at number 78. In August 2014, the band settled into Sonic Ranch Studios in El Paso, Texas with producer John Congleton to begin work on their fifth album. The sessions resulted in Restless Ones, released in June 2015. ~ Mark Deming
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Gates Of Dawn (Single)

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Track List: Parted Ways (Single)

Comments

Report as inappropriate
What is wrong with the word b**tard? Why do you have to put asteriscs? It literally means a child born from unmarried parents. Please! I think this language sensitivity has gone too far. BTW, excellent band!
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What's wrong with the word b**tards? It literally means a child born of unmarried parents. What is wrong with that?. So much sensitivity is actually offensive!
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Saw them @ 9:30 Club in DC w/ Wolfmother. She has some powerful damn pipes.
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Perfect match between melody and lyrics
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Perfect match between melody and lyrics
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Not one of my favorite song or groups
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One of my favorites!
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The vocalist hurts my ears. It's just so unnecessary.
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Cool
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So the censoring of the band's name is new. Sad, really.
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I just felt in love with thus heartless b**tards
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d.energy
I liked this song the first time I heard it...when it was called "not too soon" by the Throwing Muses
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Would love to see them live. I've been listening to them just recently. This is my new favorite band.
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Cincinnati represent!
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Just started listening, great stuff. Will buy.
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This song gets me everytime!!! love them
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Gainesville, FL show, summer 2012 kept me from killing myself.
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leahy72
love them!!!!
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awindels2002
Missoula, MT show was very memorable!!! !
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They hurt my ears. Thumbs down
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when, oh when will there be a tour to australia. i'm a patient guy, but its been years and years since i first heard runnin' and i haven't stopped looking behind my back for a melbourne gig.
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opened up for them in 2005 at Canal St Tavern in Dayton and have been a fan ever since
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nmwarpete
seen them @ 2007 ACL Music Fest and in Bozeman MT. This is a must see live band Erika's power and energy is very moving and she just ROCKS!
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Saw them open for Lucinda at the Fillmore in S>F, have been in love ever since
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erika,hope the wild turkey i recommended over the crown did the trick.
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saw them this past sat dec.11 in mobile al @ the alabama musicbox aka the al sh*tbox and they were amazing. hope they will perform there again soon.
Report as inappropriate
kjdale
HB is responsible for some of my favorite songs of all time. "Sway", "All This Time", "Brazen", "Onions", "So Quiet", & "Witchy Poo". Super band and solid performers. I've seen them twice and they R_O_C_K_E_D each time.
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WHAT A COOL BAND
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This is one great f**kin band....I'm almost glad nobody knows about them even after 3 fantastic records!!
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is dick cheney in this band?
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freewaystar
LOVE the B**tards...
Report as inappropriate
Saw them a Moe's Alley in Santa Cruz last night. Wow! Wish I had heard of them before, but I'm glad I do now...they'r e pretty bad a**
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best find of the year.
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still rocks
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her voice reminds me of a Midwestern Bjork.
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Stairs and elevator is definately my fave album by them
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Let me be the first entry for Heartless B**tards in 2011. I love this band and it's easy to see how anybody can get hooked on them fast. Like JuilaE below.
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My latest band obsession.
Love the combination of bluesy vocals and garage-y rock. Cannot get enough of Erica Wennerstrom! Id love to follow in her footsteps!
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diggin it
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I like them more and more every listen.
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davidphogan
Pretty cool music, I'll listen to more. It vaguely reminds me of the Cowboy Junkies cover of Lou Reed on the Natural Born Killers soundtrack.
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Cant wait to see them in concert again
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Wow, this is some really good stuff. I love Pandora! or else i would have never of heard of this!
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Wow, Erika sounds very much like Johnette Napolitano of Concrete Blonde. Good stuff!!
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mars55
Descriptions says they're a trio. That's out of date; they're now a quartet.
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WOW..good stuff.
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Amazing! This sounds so much like a plugged in "Be Good Tanyas", a concept that was previously unimaginable . I love these guys.
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ri_shelton
Wait... Dave Alvin toured a few years back as "Dave Alvin and the Heartless B**tards". What's the link? I really like this sound fusion.
Report as inappropriate
I was looking for a female lead singer to follow Janis Joplin and I found her. I love everything about this band. This is my music.
Report as inappropriate
I'm in love....can' t stop listening - what a voice. I don't understand the name Heartless Ba....she sings out with incredible heart!

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