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4.7 out of 5 stars 49 customer reviews

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Audio CD, February 14, 2012
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

On Heartless Bastards new record, Arrow, the eccentric, hypnotic nature of songwriter Erika Wennerstrom's voice is captured by producer Jim Eno (Spoon) who helps blend the bands driving, straight-forward Rock 'N' Roll into a record that sounds unique and refreshing. Arrow instantly feels fearless and marks a major step forward for a band who continues develop with every release. Thanks to support from the likes of David Letterman, NPR, and a cameo appearance in the hit NBC show Friday Night Lights, Heartless Bastards show no sign of slowing down. Their past three albums have consecutive increases in sales from 20K(Stairs and Elevators) to 30K(All This Time) to 40K (The Mountain). Early press feedback has been unanimously positive, the most common response is that of Arrow being the Heartless Bastards career-defining record. Perhaps most exciting are the early indicators at radio, with WXPN, KCRW, WFPK, WFUV, KUT, and KXT already adding the record to their rotation


Erika Wennerstrom has proven herself a natural rock star. --Rolling Stone

With a voice as big and lonesome as the prairie and a mild presence that grows tenfold when she plugs in her guitar…her distinctive caw has a timeless quality. --The New York Times

Breathtaking. --Entertainment Weekly
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 14, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Partisan Records
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,165 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Dear Music Appreciators,

For true music fans, discovering a great new band can be a little like falling in love. No matter how rewarding a relationship becomes over time, there's nothing quite like those first few months of discovering each other and feeling like you want to know everything about the other person. After hearing the new album by Heartless Bastards (my first), I think I just may have a thing for this band.

When I first heard/saw pictures of lead singer Erika Wennerstrom for some reason I thought of Karin Bergquist of Over The Rhine - funny to later find out both bands come from Ohio - maybe there's some shared blonde/female Ohioian lead-singer vibe emanating from the both of them...although the music they play is quite different.

Heartless Bastards, for example, seems to be a red-blooded American rock band through and through. As a newbie fan I can't help but compare them to other bands in my collection. I hear similarities to The Stone Coyotes throughout, as well as the echoes of bands like Screaming Trees ("Simple Feeling"), Led Zeppelin ("Got To Have Rock and Roll"), and Brandi Carlile ("Marathon" and "Parted Ways"). There are countless other apt comparisons I'm sure, but at the end of the day Heartless Bastards sound most like themselves and the point is that this is rock music that sounds heartfelt and authentic and could be colored in sepia tones and sent to live on a record album from the 1970's.

The slow rock crescendo of the opening track, the radio friendly catchiness of "Only For You," the conga and acoustic 70's style goodness of "Skin and Bone," the epic seven-and-a-half minute guitar-god closing track "Down In the Canyon...there is, as they say, something for everyone, and I hate to say such an uncritical thing as this,'s all good. Really good.

Buy this, and maybe you will have a thing for this band too.


Constant Listener
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Format: Audio CD
Heartless Bastards originally hail from Cincinnati, moving to Austin about 4 years ago. Why is this relevevant? Because on their previous album, 2009's "The Mountain", there were some (albeit just occasional) signs and sounds of country-music infiltrating the band's sound, which was rather shocking to me, having seen the band many, many times in their early years here around town and their first 2 albums would've never given us any indication of that. Since then the band, which started as a power-trio, is now a 5 piece. Now, after another three years, comes the band's highly anticipated 4th studio album.

"Arrow" (10 tracks; 52 min.) starts of with a slow-burning "Marathon", showcasing singer-songwriter Erica Wennerstrom's amazing vocals. After that the album settles in nicely. Check out "Got To Have Rock and Roll", reminding us of early HB, just great. The album flows nicely, softer tracks mingling perfectly with harder tracks. This a band that is maturing before our eyes, to great effect. My personal highlight on here is the uptempo, hard-charging "Simple Feeling", again showcasing Wennerstrom's amazing vocals, she is amazing. It all leads up to the closing track, the epic, almost 8 min. track "Down in the Canyon", which captures this album perfectly, a slowly building, heavy track that eventually explodes.

In all, "Arrow" is the best and most satisfying album of the Bastards to date, period. So glad they've abondoned the country-flavors that popped up in "The Mountain" album! I had the good fortune of catching the band this weekend here in Cincinnati on their current tour, and they played many of these songs (and giving plenty of shout-outs to the audience of their beginnings in Cincinnati). "Arrow" is highly recommended!
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Format: Audio CD
Given my leanings (longtime fan of the band), take my review for this album as even more praise than I'm stating - it will certainly be regarded as of the best albums of 2012 when we look back and it can certainly be suggested that this is the strongest release as of yet by this mighty band from Austin, from their origins in Southern Ohio.

I'll let others go through it with a finer-toothed comb, but suffice to say, Erika Wennerstrom's songwriting, like her amazing voice, continues to get stronger, richer and more nuanced - and in the case of ARROW, more risk-taking on the Heartless Bastards' parts is definitely more reward for their fans.

I only choose to highlight "Skin And Bone," from a riff that's straight out of Keith Richard's canon and lyrics Neil Young would envy, it's as great an example of the album's strengths as any, and here's a good spot to mention Jim Eno (from the band Spoon) did an amazing job producing. Erika's singing is so powerful and equally so pure - truly a marvelous thing.

Okay, there's plenty more here and that's your reward - don't sleep on this one; and by the way, their live show is the only thing that matches their recorded output.
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Format: Audio CD
Well I got this on a recommendation and have been blown away, not in a naughty way mind. This is their fourth album and they think it is their best and they are probably right. Opener `Marathon' is one of those slow building broody numbers that builds to a climactic finish like many an early `Okkervil River' song would do, and it is sumptuous. `Parted Ways' is a more up tempo number amd Mark Nathan gets to show his talent for his guitar playing. It is one of those songs that changes tempo to become almost bluesy rock - it is brilliant.

`Got to have rock and roll' is as you might have guessed a pure rock number Erika Wennerstrom gives a Joan Jetesque vocal to the driving minimalist chord progression, one you could almost head bang to, if that is your thing of course. Track 4 `Only for you' has driving rhythm guitar and a simple but catchy bass line that melds to the mellifluous vocals in a way that just pulls you in and this great seventies style guitar riff that means you won't get off the hook, this is just musical excellence.

Track six is another classic that has been a constant on my MP3 `Skin and Bone' is done as an almost acoustic ballad and opens with what seem to be bongos before the acoustic kicks in and then the effortless beauty of the melody in a song of pure regret and this is another one that I just want to sing along and dance to, which proves that I have never really grown up. `The arrow killed the beast' slows us down to a ballad with the feel of the desert and old western themes.

Things pick up on the next track and its time to start rocking again on `Late in the night'. `Low low low' takes the pace down again for the final track `Down in the canyon' which is much more metal than anything else to begin with but this is a seven minute journey and takes us through their combined talent to round off what is an exceptionally fab album. Just listen to the samples and I am sure you will be hooked; seriously brilliant.
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