One of Cincinnati's most successful contemporary bands, The Heartless Bastards, returns to the Southgate House on Oct. 2 with some new songs and a new lineup. In fact, it may not be appropriate to call the Bastards a "Cincinnati" band anymore, given that singer/songwriter/guitarist Erika Wennerstrom has relocated to Austin, Tex.
Wennerstrom moved to Austin last winter; the Austin Chronicle reported that the move came following the "demise of her 10-year relationship with bassist Mike Lamping," which provides a hint as to why Lamping and drummer Kevin Vaughn no longer play in the Bastards. Lamping has gone on to form something of an allstar band, The Chauncers, which includes Wussy's Lisa Walker, ex-13s/Ditchweed drummer Kendall Davis, singer/songwriter Billy Catfish and ex-Moth/Virgins member Bob Gayol. Meanwhile, it was recently announced that Vaughn has joined superb Dayton PsychRock band, Lab Partners.
Though now in Texas, Wennerstrom (a Dayton native), is still keeping strong ties to Cincy. Replacing Lamping and Vaughn are Jesse Ebaugh, the jaw-dropping bassist for Pearlene (rumor is The Greenhornes' Craig Fox has been playing bass with Pearlene), and Dave Colvin, who played with Shesus (which Wennerstrom was also once a member of). Colvin and Ebaugh have played with Wennerstrom before — they were in the Bastards when Wennerstrom recorded her first Bastards demo (the one that caught her label Fat Possum's attention).
Wennerstrom teamed with another former Cincinnatian, producer Mike McCarthy, to record the new Bastards album, The Mountain. McCarthy has recorded albums with the likes of Spoon, Trail of Dead, Sound Team and Patty Griffin. The album is said to be more expansive, with mandolin, banjo and strings blended into Wennerstrom's old-soul Blues/Rock. The band will reportedly tour with extra band members to handle the non-bass/drum/guitar parts.
The Mountain is due from Fat Possum in January. The band has posted a rough, unmastered recording of the title track at their MySpace page here.
— Mike Breen