New Music Monday: Heartless Bastards

Heartless bastards
September 18, 2004:  An early morning flight under a thin overcast layer revealed this quilt-like vista southwest of Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Fall is an amazing time in farm country. For most of the year, fields tend to be the same color when viewed from above: white in winter, brown in spring, green during the summer. But the fall harvest brings out an amazing variety of color across the landscape. I suspect that the overhead cloud layer and low angle of the morning sun may have contributed a quality of light that accentuated the color differences more than usual.Heartless Bastards’ fifth album, titled Restless Ones and coming out June 16th via Partisan Records, reveals an experienced group fully in touch with one another’s abilities. The band’s sound remains within their roots rock wheelhouse but betrays no lack of creativity.

“Hi-Line,” Restless Ones‘ fourth track, is straightforward alt-country given an extra jolt thanks to vocalist Erika Wennerstrom’s voice and lyrics. The track, along with the rest of the album, sees her exploring as-yet-unvisited avenues of sound and sensation, her bravery and ambition readily apparent in the emotional timbre and the sheer physicality of her songs.

“Hi-Line” is surrounded by two of the catchiest tracks on the album, “Black Cloud” and “Journey.” Both songs, like much of the album, deal with personal realizations Wennerstrom had in the time between the release of Heartless Bastard’s previous album, Arrow, and the recording of Restless Ones. “Black Cloud” features the lines, “I had spun out and filled myself with doubt. I was standing in the doorway with the key to my own suffering, and I said to myself, ‘There’s no use trying to be what you want me to be,” while “Journey’s” reminds the listener that the “journey is the destination.”

These are familiar sentiments, and as the saying goes, “familiarity breeds contempt.” It is simple to be contemptuous of those feelings, but Wennerstrom’s voice does not allow for it. These mantras are true for Wennerstrom, and the power in her singing communicates not just the idea but the experience, too.

The band released the music video for the album’s first single, “Gates of Dawn,” on May 14 and Restless Ones comes out June 16 on Partisan Records. The video is viewable below, and the album is available for preorder on Amazon, iTunes, and Partisan.

Travel

The View of an American Road Trip from the Back of a Motorcycle

One day while heading to my favorite peak, an idea formed: "What if I could tour the Rocky Mountains of the West on the motorcycle of my dreams?"
Travel

Weird Roadside Attractions: 10 Picture-Worthy Pit Stops in the U.S.

From Cadillac Ranch to Salvation Mountain to Lucy the Elephant, wonderfully bizarre roadside attraction line American's highways.
Travel

The Best Road Trip Songs: Hit Play Then Hit the Gas

Ah, the open road! It beckons us to cast aside responsibility, embrace the unknown, jump in the car, and just go. Take this mixtape with you.
Music

The Best Funk Songs for Getting Down

From roller rinks to velvet lounges, funk is the grout between the tiles of life that keeps our bathtub all sparkly, scrubba-dub-dub fun.
Music

New Music Preview: Blood Orange, Ohmme, and Wild Nothing

August has plenty of new album releases in store, but there are three particular records coming out this month that we can’t wait to hear.
Culture

Ever Heard of a Cigar Box Guitar? This Book Teaches You How to Build One.

Known as the "poor man's guitar," these DIY instruments are low on cost but big on sound, according to author and musician Shane Speal.
Music

New Music Preview: Bob Moses, The Chills, and Cypress Hill

September has plenty of new album releases in store, but there are three particular records coming out this month that we can’t wait to hear.
Music

Workout Playlist: The Best Songs for Getting Pumped About Pumping Iron

Our workout playlist on Spotify has been audio-engineered to get you started on — and help you stick to — your new fitness routine.
Music

The Perfect Party Playlist for When It’s Time to Dim the Lights

Once everyone's eaten and the booze-infused blood of your crowd starts pumping, it's time to dim those lights way down and put on some good tunes.
Fashion & Style

Casio Announces New G-Shock X Gorillaz Watch Collection

In honor of Casio G-Shock's 35th anniversary, the timepiece specialists have released a tantalizing collaboration with one of the world’s most successful virtual acts.
Culture

18 Vinyl Albums Every Man Should Own

Your vinyl selection may vary depending on what kind of man you are, but there are some works of art that deserve to be in everyone's collection.
Music

A Christmas Music Playlist that Doesn’t Suck (Finally)

Let's face it: A lot of holiday music is insufferable. So, we curated an up-to-date playlist of Christmas and wintertime tunes that are actually great.
Culture

A New Year’s Eve Party Playlist to Ring in 2019

This Spotify playlist has been marinating in some extra zesty subsonic sauce to help you cook up a very tasty pregame or a full-blown party.