In the past decade, Heartless Bastards has been transformed from a local band with world-class talent to a world-class band that has never once forgotten its local roots. Thank Erika Wennerstrom for that deft bit of art-before-commerce hand-jivery. The Bastards’ blistering frontwoman has somehow achieved the perfect balance of ambition, drive and ego to create an increasingly impressive catalog of music while remaining humble enough to insist none of it is that big of a deal. For instance, Restless Ones stands among the Bastards’ finest work, and it’s being touted as a best-of-2015 frontrunner and yet, other than slightly better-produced videos, Heartless Bastards isn’t greasing the path to the bigger time at the expense of their dignity, ethics or loyal fan base. Although Wennerstrom’s brand of sincerity can’t be taught, her approach (and reaction) to fortune and fame is a lesson to all musical up-and-comers. Bring the goods, be someone (instead of becoming someone) and be better than your reviews when you take the stage. That’s success, the Heartless Bastards’ way.
You'll Dig It If You Dig: Tom Petty channels ’60s Rock chicks while playing arena-scaled garage-band riffs. (Brian Baker