Heartless Bastards Return To OpenAir, Talk New Album ‘Restless Ones’

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19min 31sec
Photo: Heartless Bastards At OpenAir
Heartless Bastards

Heartless Bastards performed at OpenAir three years ago in support of the breakout album “Arrow,” which caught the ear of Rolling Stone and NPR Music. The Cincinnati-born and Austin, Texas-based band -- known for the unique, hearty vocals of Erika Wennerstrom -- issued their fifth album, “Restless Ones,” this year.

OpenAir welcomed Heartless Bastards back into the CPR Performance Studio to perform three stripped-down songs from "Restless Ones" before their headlining show at the Bluebird Theater. We also spoke with the band about working with renowned rock producer John Congleton, recruiting rapper Bushwick Bill for a music video and why their music transcends musical genres.

Stream the session above and read interview highlights below:

Bassist Jesse Ebaugh on working with producer John Congleton, who has worked with Sleater-Kinney, Modest Mouse and David Byrne

"I really enjoyed the pace at which he worked and how encouraging he was of being quick, and allowing what an artist may view as a mistake to be viewed in a different way. Changing the perspective and viewing it as an unusual choice and a more interesting idea, maybe, than the original."

Wennerstrom on the overlapping genres of the band's music

"We're all fans of so many different kinds of music, and I actually think we can fit into every one of those categories. I think what ties it together and makes it make sense is my voice.

"We will have an alt-country song, then we'll have a garage-punk song. I have a song inspired by spaghetti western music like the old Clint Eastwood films."

Songs performed:

  • "Gates of Dawn"
  • "The Fool"
  • "Hi-Line"