New Noise

Heartless Bastards Look to an Internal ‘Revolution’

Heartless Bastards share their first single in five years and donate a portion of proceeds to ACLU.

“The revolution is in your mind.” A familiar mantra that repeats midway before immersing into an dusty rock affirmation. This 6-minute ballad is the latest from Heartless Bastards, which acts as their first release in five years. The Austin-based outfit teamed up with Spaceflight Records to digitally release “Revolution” on Bandcamp only, so that a portion of proceeds may be donated to ACLU.

The re-emergence from the band sparks joy for longtime fans as earlier this year Erika Wennerstrom returned to the studio with producer Kevin Ratterman to work on an upcoming album. “Revolution” not only indicates a new chapter for the band — which the track will be available at digital retailers everywhere on a later date — but puts into perspective our starting point as humans.

“Revolution” takes on the Americana wind and political debris that gets stuck along the way. Its narrative is a cathartic stream of consciousness from observation and suppressed tones. And yet, Wennerstrom’s organic approach and build are sharp and centered. The artist’s smoky, signature rasp catches light the best throughout its range and is poignant during the first half, meditating on a slow burning acoustic. With the track’s two distinct tempo changes, there’s an allurement to face the mirror.

Erika Wennerstrom of Heartless Bastards (Charlie Pearce)

Wennerstrom pens an explanation on the new single and says:

“Revolution is about self love. I think if people loved themselves more there wouldn’t be racism, bigotry, and classism. Some people are so worried that there is not enough pie to go around, and that lifting up others limits their own opportunity. There is mass misinformation and manipulation to peddle this narrative. Money, materialism, privileged access to better education are things people constantly measure themselves with. The need to feel better than someone in order to feel good about oneself is an age old insecurity. I think there’s fear there too. So many struggle to get ahead because they’re afraid of getting left behind. The planet really can’t sustain everyone having more. Everything is made to fall apart like cars, and $1100 cell phones. I think humanity needs to learn how to have less, and not play into the commercialism that constantly sends the message we lack things that we don’t really need.

“Revolution is a mantra, and reminder to myself to avoid playing the game as much as I can. I don’t need this, and I don’t need that. I don’t need to compare myself to others.This marathon everybody is running is exhausting. There is so much true suffering in this world with a lack of food, shelter, and basic running water, and if you suffer depression and anxiety remind yourself of that, and try to possibly be of service to someone in need, and not even necessarily with writing a check, but with even something as simple as kind energy, and compassion. True connection. The more man attempts to look at the world from another man’s perspective it becomes apparent how connected we all really are. Dave Chapelle said at a show years ago ‘Poverty is a state of mind.’ That really stuck with me. I was in the Amazon several years ago, and it struck me how little people had materially, and children were running around and they all seemed so happy. Aside from the basic necessities of sustaining our lives I think giving and receiving love is really what we need the most. All the rest is just a bunch of noise.”

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