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Heartless Bastards

Photo courtesy of the band

Heartless Bastards

Heartless Bastards acoustic 

When: Thu., July 21, 9 p.m. 2011
Price: $12-14

Erica Wennerstrom's flinty voice is hard and rough like unfinished oak, its weathered tone complementing the swaggering sinew of the Heartless Bastards' roots-based sound. Their first two albums offered bruising garage-blues built on brash strokes of distortion and pliant melody. After trading Cincinnati for Austin in 2008, Wennerstrom overhauled the quartet and revamped the approach for 2009's The Mountain. Electric guitars give way to acoustic instrumentation (violin, banjo, mandolin) pursuing an old-timey ache. Wennerstrom's vocals deliver a lithe torch-country waver showcasing heretofore unseen finesse. It's a marked departure that retains much of the arid, lumbering sway of prior efforts while increasing dynamics and dialing back the power. —Chris Parker

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