Heartless Bastards 

With Beaten Awake, Houseguest, and Poor Sailor. Saturday, November 25, at the Grog Shop.

Influenced by Aretha Franklin and the MC5, the Heartless Bastards deliver hard-edged blues-rock. Singer and multi-instrumentalist Erika Wennerstrom has a talent comparable to that of Tracy Chapman and Edie Brickell. And while the Cincinnati trio's debut exuded more of this bluesy vibe, its latest, All This Time, highlights the group's growing versatility. Sure, "I Swallowed a Dragonfly" grooves like Bo Diddley, but several tracks feel unabashedly reminiscent of '90s rock -- especially the subtle piano touches of "Into the Open" and the wild guitars bursting forth from "No Pointing Arrows."

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