It's the voice that grabs you.
Heartless Bastards come hurtling out of the tracks, all blues bluster and rattling drums. Then Erike Wennerstrom open her mouth and unleashes a voice that sounds like a piece of leather pushed to within an inch of its life, then soaked in bourbon and left out in the raging California heat.
New album 'Arrow' drops on December 3rd, and finds Heartless Bastards doing what they do best: blood curdling, pulse quickening, nostril flaring rock 'n' roll. As a preview, Clash asked the band to tell us what's on their stereo.
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The Stooges - Open Up and Bleed
Unfortunately this song was never properly recorded, I think the most commonly available version is a rehearsal tape--but it's amazing and vicious, and I listen to it all the time. I was thinking of them because the reformed Stooges played the Austin City Limits festival the day I had to leave for tour and I missed it. Apparently they played this tune.
Futurebirds / Stevie Nicks - Wild Heart
We've been touring w Futurebirds, who are very nice folks, and they did this Stevie Nicks cover and it was one of my favorites in their set. In their hometown of Athens, GA they asked me to join them onstage for it, and only then did I realize it was a cover. Their version smokes the original, but hey, eighties production has a long and horrific gallery of victims. If Stevie wasn't drowned in cocaine -however it was administered -and bad digital reverb it probably would have been better.
Tom Petty - The Waiting
It's funny people think touring is a gigantic party and adventure, which it is sometimes. But in many ways it's all about the Waiting. And it has THE BEST guitar solo of all time. Mike Campbell is a genius.
Dinosaur Jr - See It On Your Side
I saw them right before I left Austin for this tour and they were fantastic. Erika was there too. This song is the last one from their new record and they opened with it. I love it when older bands are still great live and it's even more rare when their new material can hang with the old stuff. This song has a heavy Neil Young vibe that I love.
Bruce Springsteen - Atlantic City
I'm not a huge Bruce fan but this is probably my favorite song of his, and 'Nebraska' is definitely my favorite record. Probably no one is more associated with New Jersey than him, and for that they are really, really, lucky. We escaped Hurricane Sandy by the skin of our teeth, and spent the night of the storm in a hotel in North Bergen NJ without power, instead of playing at Union Transfer in Philadelphia. I family in the area, and luckily everyone and their homes are fine.
Bobby Charles - I Must Be In a Good Place Now
The relaxed sentiment and honest delivery makes this song a powerful blow to the memory of any and all loved ones, and it doesn't hurt that the players on the session were Rick Danko, Garth Hudson, Dr. John, Levon Helm and Ben Keith, among others.
Ry Cooder - I Think It's Gonna Work Out Fine
This is a version of the Ike and Tina Turner classic, done instrumentally with Cooder's guitar singing the melody. Cooder's vision of american music through the 1970's as represented on records like 'Bop Till You Drop', 'Paradise and Lunch' and 'Into the Purple Valley' are among the best curated, recorded and presented music representing the golden age of analog recording in the great studios of Los Angeles.
Captain Beefheart - Clear Spot
We all know that Beefheart's 'Trout Mask Replica' is a monument of American art, but his attempt to hit the mainstream with 'Clear Spot' produced a sonic fabric that was equal parts complex, accessable, textura,l and groovy. Stanley Brothers, 'The Rambler's Blues'. This comes from the earliest recordings of Ralph and Carter Stanley, for the Rich R Tone label. Hearing the purity and focus of the two brothers singing in harmony evokes a sense of life long gone to today's society. A life more simple, brutal at times, and rewarding in the most primary ways. The rewards of family, hard work and the essential role of music to humanity's survival.
Leon Russel - Beware of Darkness
This George Harrison tune, released on Russel's second album, "Leon Russel and the Shelter People" is a great example of what a masterful arranger Russel is. How does one take a song so perfect and make it even more compelling? Here's how.
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'Arrow' is set to be released on November 26th.