Photo Credit: Aaron Conway
Acclaimed rock ’n’ roll band Heartless Bastards have announced the release of their long-awaited new album. A Beautiful Life arrives via Sweet Uknown Records/Thirty Tigers on Friday, September 10. The album is available now for pre-order including a limited edition hand-poured double LP and exclusive merchandise from the Sweet Unknown Records Official Store, and from retailers everywhere.
Heartless Bastards’ sixth studio album and first new music in more than half a decade, A Beautiful Life is heralded by today’s premiere of the soulful new single, “How Low,” available now at all DSPs and streaming services; an official music video premieres today via YouTube.
“It’s becoming harder and harder to choose a simple life; so many people struggle to get ahead so they don’t get left behind,” says Heartless Bastards frontwoman Erika Wennerstrom. “I believe that a truly elevated, conscious society is one that seeks to lift each other up—one where we work for the common good.”
On the new single, Wennerstrom says, “‘How Low’ was inspired by my frustration with late-stage capitalism’s effect on humanity and our environment. The planet sustains our lives, but if we continue to make everything we use disposable to where we have to constantly buy things over and over again, and we pollute, we’re going to wipe ourselves out in the not too distant future. Profits have been put far ahead of what is good for humanity. We’re all trying to get by in this world, but at what cost? We need a better system, one where we work for the common good. Today’s prevalent mental health issues are definitely tied to this every man for himself mentality. It’s very isolating, people are longing for deep connections. Maybe a balanced society seems idyllic, but let’s dare to dream of a better world and all the possibilities If we all stop fighting amongst ourselves, and look at the bigger picture. ‘How Low’ felt like a challenging message to convey in a 4-minute video, but I think Sam Wainwright Douglas and David Hartstein did an incredible job.”
A Beautiful Life once again sees Wennerstrom alchemizing her idealism into viscerally potent rock ‘n ‘ roll. Co-produced by Wennerstrom and Kevin Ratterman (Strand Of Oaks, Jim James, White Reaper), the album – which follows 2015’s Restless Ones – finds the Austin, TX-based singer-songwriter backed by a powerhouse lineup comprising guitarist Lauren Gurgiolo (Okkervil River), drummer Greggory Clifford (White Denim), multi-instrumentalist Jesse Chandler (Mercury Rev, Midlake), keyboardist Bo Koster (My Morning Jacket), guitarist David Pulkingham (Patty Griffin), and longtime Heartless Bastards bassist Jesse Ebaugh.
Though Wennerstrom first considered releasing A Beautiful Life under her own name as the follow-up to her widely praised 2018 solo debut, Sweet Unknown, she ultimately came to view the new album as a continuation of the journey begun on Heartless Bastards’ milestone 2005 debut, Stairs and Elevators. Indeed, with its coalescence of so many eclectic touchstones – from French pop and Celtic folk to space rock, Disney scores, and post-punk – A Beautiful Life stands tall as Heartless Bastards’ most elaborately realized work to date. Songs such as the sprawling, psychedelic epic, “Photograph” and the rambling folk of “The River” (the latter featuring contributions from such singular musicians as Andrew Bird and Persian setar virtuoso Fared Shafinury) channel Wennerstrom’s nuanced observations into glorious music that incites contemplation, catharsis, and a joyful sense of defiance.
“For me, music is a gift,” says Wennerstrom. “I do it because I love it, and because it helps me feel more connected to the world. I think we all long for a deep connection, and I hope this record adds to the conversation on how we as a species can stop seeing ourselves as separate. I hope it helps everyone to think about how we can look out for each other, take care of each other, and lift each other up.”
A Beautiful Life also includes Heartless Bastards’ 2020 single, “Revolution,” available now on all digital platforms. An official music video – directed by documentary filmmakers Sam Wainwright Douglas and David Hartstein – is streaming now on YouTube.
The undeniable musical chemistry of A Beautiful Life inspired Wennerstrom to invite Gurgiolo and Clifford into the newest Heartless Bastards lineup for upcoming touring, set to get underway Thursday, September 16. The band recently made its live debut with a sold-out two-night-stand at Austin’s beloved Mohawk Austin, hailed by the Austin Chronicle as “front-loaded with fresh, interesting material…If you didn’t know better, you’d think the improbably tight unit had been playing together for five years.” Artist pre-sale tickets are on sale at noon Eastern today at www.theheartlessbastards.com/tour; venue on-sale is this Friday at 10am local times.
HEARTLESS BASTARDS TOUR 2021
Sep 16, 2021 – Stickyz – Little Rock, AR
Sep 17, 2021 – The Blue Note – Columbia, MO
Sep 18, 2021 – Off Broadway Nightclub – St. Louis, MO
Sep 19, 2021 – 3rd & Lindsley Lightning 100 Sunday Show – Nashville, TN
Sep 22, 2021 – Fine Line Music Cafe – Minneapolis, MN
Sep 23, 2021 – Majestic Theatre – Madison, WI
Sep 24, 2021 – Lincoln Hall – Chicago, IL
Sep 25, 2021 – Madison Theater – Covington, KY
Sep 27, 2021 – Mr. Small’s Theatre – Millvale, PA
Sep 29, 2021 – The Sinclair – Cambridge, MA
Sep 30, 2021 – Bowery Ballroom – New York, NY
Oct 1, 2021 – World Cafe Live Downstairs – Philadelphia, PA
Oct 2, 2021 – Union Stage – Washington, DC
Oct 4, 2021 – Cat’s Cradle – Carrboro, NC
Oct 5, 2021 – Smith’s Olde Bar – Atlanta, GA
Oct 7, 2021 – The Heights Theater – Houston, TX
Oct 8, 2021 – Austin City Limits Festival – Austin, TX
Oct 29, 2021 – Gruene Hall – New Braunfels, TX
Oct 30, 2021 – Tower Theatre – Oklahoma City, OK
Oct 31, 2021 – Tumbleroot Brewery & Distillery – Santa Fe, NM
Nov 1, 2021 – 191 Toole – Tucson, AZ
Nov 3, 2021 – Belly Up Tavern – Solana Beach, CA
Nov 4, 2021 – Troubadour – West Hollywood, CA
Nov 5, 2021 – The Independent – San Francisco, CA
Nov 6, 2021 – Starline Social Club Ballroom – Oakland, CA
Nov 8, 2021 – Harlow’s Restaurant & Nightclub – Sacramento, CA
Nov 9, 2021 – Arcata Theatre Lounge – Arcata, CA
Nov 11, 2021 – Sessions Music Hall – Eugene, OR
Nov 12, 2021 – Wonder Ballroom – Portland, OR
Nov 13, 2021 – The Crocodile – Seattle, WA
Nov 14, 2021 – The Wilma – Missoula, MT
Nov 15, 2021 – The ELM – Bozeman, MT
Nov 17, 2021 – The State Room – Salt Lake City, UT
Nov 19, 2021 – Aggie Theatre – Fort Collins, CO
Nov 20, 2021 – Bluebird Theater – Denver, CO
Nov 21, 2021 – Fox Theatre – Boulder, CO
Nov 24, 2021 – The Kessler Theater – Dallas, TX