The heart of the Heartless Bastards is Erika Wennerstrom, a Dayton, Ohio, native, transplanted to Austin, Texas, where she fits in like a lioness in a taco bar. On last year's career record, The Mountain, Wennerstrom and the Bastards stalk a core of minimalist electric blues and martial garage punk with all the gorgeously overdriven guitars and shambolic rhythms of Zuma-era Crazy Horse. Even when the band adds quasi-rootsy touches of fiddle and pedal steel, it still sounds like an engine fueled by principled anger and unjaded wonder. "I've been living underground trying to get my spirits up," Wennerstrom sings wildly but precisely. "There's more than one direction to get to the same end." And if you care about honest, unadulterated rock & roll, you'll go there with her.
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