Erika Wennerstrom and company are back with the first new Heartless Bastards songs in five years, and it’s a doozy. Titled “Revolution,” it’s a brutally honest take on the current political and social situation in the country delivered in a rambling alternative folk style with soaring, atmospheric instrumentals that transcend the genre completely. “Revolution” is available on Bandcamp just in time for the site’s no-fee Friday, with the Austin, TX-based band donating all proceeds from the single to the ACLU.
“There was a time misinformation wasn’t so rampant in this sphere,” sings Wennerstrom. “There was a time you weren’t questioning everything you hear / Do you remember?” She ominously repeats the final line over and over. “Hypnotized by guilded lies to line the pockets of so few,” she continues, “While hungry politicians feed bullshit to the masses / To ensure their statuses and further divides the classes.” It’s a song that’s right on the nose and very much of-the-moment.
“Revolution is about self love,” said Wennerstrom in a press release. “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.”
Heartless Bastards last released an album in 2015 with Restless Ones, though Wennerstrom did release a solo album in 2018 called The Sweet Unknown. In our review of that album, writer Spencer Culbertson describes it as a “majestic and deliberate masterpiece.”
Photo Credit: Boston Lynn Schulz