Heartless Bastards crawled out of Cincinnati about a decade ago as a raw-boned garage-blues trio fronted by Erika Wennerstrom, whose fearsome scorned-woman howl supported the old saw that good things come in small packages. The band was quickly snapped up by roots-savvy Mississippi label Fat Possum, and had plenty of Southern comfort baked into its sound even before Wennerstrom relocated to Austin in 2007. Then it tripled on the Bastards' most recent album and masterpiece, 2009's The Mountain, which finds Wennerstrom both wise and wounded as the band, now a quartet, opens deep veins of folk and bluegrass within its hefty Zeppelin-at-Big-Pink rock. Just off their Austin City Limits debut and a tour with Drive-By Truckers, the Bastards should be in fighting shape for their first Houston appearance in several months. Joining them are two of Austin's buzziest Americana newcomers: Freewheeling power-rockers Bright Light Social Hour, who brought the Austin Music Awards to a standstill back in March with a devastating cover of The Who's "Young Man Blues," and the Louisiana-bred Wheeler Brothers, whose debut Portraits is due later this month on Asleep at the Wheel front man Ray Benson's Bismeaux Records.
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