New Heathens, "Hello Disaster"
Before playing one note of "Hello Disaster," there is already a promising sign about the CD -- the words "produced by "Eric 'Roscoe' Ambel" on the back cover. Ambel, a former member of the Del-Lords and current member of the Yayhoos, knows a thing or 10 about making great no-nonsense bar-band-style rock 'n' roll. And in the New Heathens, he's working with an act that delivers the goods, as this group delivers some terrific rockers, like the grooving "Responsible" and the hard-charging "Crybaby." But "Hello Disaster" shows the New Heathens are more than a highly accomplished bar band. "Thankless War," a shuffling country-edged rocker, takes a hard look at the futility of war. "Don't Think I Can't Stop (Just Because I Don't)" is a pop-rocker that's strongly influenced by the original Byrds, but is strong enough to not be an imitation. If the New Heathens keep this up, they'll soon be mentioned alongside the likes of the Drive-By Truckers and Dave Alvin as one of the premier roots rock acts going.
-- Alan Sculley
New Heathens Take It To The Proud Highway
New Heathens' accomplished cast is led by New York's Nate Schweber, but despite its northern home, the band's sophomore release, Hello Disaster, exudes southern grit, its music delivered with sweat and twang.
"Proud Highway" is a glimpse into Hello Disaster and a fair representation of an emerging voice in roots-rock. -- Jamie Lee
Bursting forth right out of the gate with a furiously snappy and aggressive forward-ho dynamism with the rousing “Crybaby,” this get-down lively and exciting country-flavored rock’nroll group serves up a tasty and tuneful helping of no-bullshit straight-up rock. The passionate twangy vocals yell and holler over a fierce sonic onslaught of crunchy ringing guitars, churning basslines, and ferociously relentless steaming drums. The rapid-fire speedy tempos and chunky driving beats rarely let up for a minute. Bonus kudos are also in order for the sharp and spot-on smart songwriting. Favorite song: The superbly biting and powerful “Thankless War.” An excellent and hugely enjoyable winner. -- Joe Wawrzyniak
New Heathens - Hello Disaster
On Only Gets Better, lead singer Nate Schweber lists all the wonderful things that help you get through the tough times, from eating ice cream and Playstation 3 to wearing corduroys and masturbating. You can also add listening to "Hello Disaster" to those joy-producing activities; pleasures abound on the New York City-based band's Eric "Roscoe" Ambel-produced sophomore album.
Strong songwriting, led by Schweber, is chief among the band's assets. Only Gets Better is but one fine example of Schweber's ability to pen memorable songs that connect through details that merge scruffy smarts, humor and heartstring tugging. Songs such as Crybaby, Bastard Like Me and Proud Highway certainly reflect the swell seasoning of the Montana native's musical heroes, including Steve Earle, The Backsliders and Warren Zevon. Guitarists Domenick Tiziano and Butch Phelps also contribute solid senders in 27 Years and Pig Pen respectively.
"Hello Disaster's" delights, however, are not limited to songwriting. The 11 songs offer a good amount of variety, from the ringing-in-the-60's garage pop of Don't Think I Can't Stop (Just Because I Don't) to the harmonica-driven folk of Thankless Warand showcase a talented band that simply sounds like it's having a hell of a good time. So will you. -- Andy Turner
"Roots rock doesn’t get any rootsier than some of the stuff on this second album from New York band The New Heathens. Their debut “Heathens Like Me” sizzled and burned with an energy borrowed from the likes of The Stones, The Faces and Graham Parker. On this outing they have moved to a more classic Americana rock vein, due in part perhaps to having Eric “Roscoe” Ambel in the producer’s seat.
Anyhoo, Crybaby is a blistering opener that would not be out of place on the new Jason and the Scorchers release. Other stompers include Pig Pen, a muscular celebration of a night on the town and Proud Highway, a classic driving song the title of which alludes to the late and great Hunter S Thompson (who was also referenced in their first album).
Able to rock with the best then , The Heathens have a mellower side which is also evidenced here. I Thought You Were My Friend is a chunky country ballad while Don’t think I Can’t stop has a ringing Byrds’ like guitar chiming throughout it. They top it all on the closing song, Bastard Like Me which is a simple, short confessional with singer Nat Scheber, accompanied by acoustic guitar and accordion, admitting to past failures in a heartstopping fashion.
All in all this is a great little album, a step up from their first and a joy to listen to."
Paul Kerr, Blabber 'N' Smoke, 3/13/10
Heathens Like Me
"The chords begin and immediately the lyrics draw you into the first song." SouthCoast247.com, 2/13/07
"Schweber's working man lyrics, the band's Jersey home and their old school rock 'n' roll sound might draw comparisons to early Springsteen, but the more apt comparison would be to New York punk-fueled roots rockers, the Del-Lords and the Hangdogs. Comparisons aside, the New Heathens' impressive first release is a powerful, memorable effort." All Music Guide, 1/26/07
"Like the Faces if Rod Stewart sang all of Ronnie Lane's songs, the New Heathens give rootsy rock & roll a good kick in the tuchis without dumbing it down." High Bias Blog, 1/9/07
"Anyone who claims that roots rock is dying hasn't heard the New Heathens. ... The quintet's rock is pure and genuine, the type of music you can't help but turn up until the windows start to rattle." MarkedMagazine.com, 12/1/06
"Schweber's lyrics are introspective and well thought out.....The guitar work on the album sounds remarkably like Keith Richards would have sounded during a sober moment in his twenties, if he had one." GoodTimesMag.com, 11/21/06
"Superior Slice of American Roots Rock. The writing and execution of their songs raise this album above the parapet until its crying out for a major label release..." Americana UK, 10/30/06
"Apart from some obligatory political content, the other thing that most albums I've reviewed here have in common is they're mostly by singer-songwriters. This is primarily because their songs are generally more lyric-driven than ones by bands..." Buzzflash.com, 10/30/06
"The New Heathens' Heathens Like Us is one of those from-out-of-nowhere (or, in this case, New York City) treats that makes it possible to keep the faith. They do some city-street-level reporting a la Marah's Kids in Philly, but they can also go heartland on you. The album's opener sounds like "Maggie May" done NYC roots-rock style, and things close with a cover of Keith Christopher's "For Cryin' Out Loud." Alleys and endless highways, early Rod and the Yayhoos--how can you go wrong?" INDY Raleigh, 8/30/06
"The New York City-based New Heathens have members from Connecticut, Massachusetts, Montana and the Empire State. Their gritty heartland-meets-Southern rock seems to reflect this spread, touching on a variety of rootsy elements that suggest they've been around. Their sound is a little trashy and brash with a straight-ahead feel, but with just enough energetic recklessness to move you along. The guiding force behind the band is working journalist and songwriter Nate Schweber, whose almost-journalistic stories carry the songs. The hooks within those stories accent each song with a catchy sing-a-long that recalls similar numbers from The Georgia Satellites or Drive-By Truckers. One track sounds like neither, the dark and moody tribute to Hunter S. Thompson, "Doomed Generation." And certainly their closing set cover sounds like the faithful rendition that it is, "For Cryin' Out Loud" by The Yayhoos." Miles of Music, 8/21/06
"The New Heathens are a NYC based roots rock band making a splash on the east coast Americana scene, and they're one to watch...." Michael Meehan, Freight Train Boogie, 7/06. See four star review on FreightTrainBoogie.com!
"Heathens Like Me is a devilishly good debut, one with enough sustenance to satisfy Big Sky locals even if it does arrive via the Big Apple." Skylar Browning, Missoula News, 7/23/06
"Have you ever poured gasoline across a desolate mountain highway and then taken a match to it, creating a so called wall of fire?" Emily Donahoe, HelenaIR.com, 6/28/06
"'Heathens Like Me'...shows a lot of promise, a lot of heart, and knocks at least one song completely out of the park." Bob Wire, NewWest.net, 6/22/06
"...Track No. 8 is a touching tribute to teenage debauchery in the biggest state in Nate's heart: Montana." Courtney Lowery, NewWest.net, 6/18/06
"Of all the WE Fest artists I've heard for the first time, while studiously researching this article, The New Heathens might be my favorite. They come across as being a loose, fun band, but their music is tight and lyrics well-written. We get straight rock with a southern feel from this NYC band, a task at which most NYC bands would likely fail miserably. Their new album, Heathens Like Me, is a complete package that could easily sell a few hundred-thousand, should the band take the major label plunge. Here's hoping they don't, because The New Heathens don't need any A&R folks messing up their good things." Encore (Wilmington, NC), 5/26/06
"Local root rockers the New Heathens make the best with keeping their music focused, but simple. They sound familiar at first listen, some Bruce, then a bit of Graham Parker and the Rumour creep in. You're getting jangle in your guitar and smarts in your lyrics, but that's why you love bands like this in the first place, right?" Village Voice, 5/9/06
"(The New Heathens) rocked my socks off this summer, singing about Paterson, NJ, Hunter S. Thompson and the West, but if you don't believe me, check out their profile on MySpace for a listen." Chris Heaney, muscularheart.blogspot.com, November 2005. Read the full post.
"Hot Nelly, it's not often I hear something that sizzles my eardrums quite like Heathens Like Me the first album by New York City roots-rock upstarts the New Heathens. If it ain't a classic, and it is compared to the crap that comes invading through my car stereo every time I drive my Chevy to the levee, then it's sure as hell a tremendous harbinger of great things to come for these five dudes." Bill James-Woods, www.billjameswoods.com/music, October 2005
"Ragged but right, that's what these guys sound like," Tornandfrayed.com, 8/15/05
"...It wasn't until the band performed its ballad "When She's Wasted," featuring the refrain "She hates me when she's sober/But she loves me when she's wasted," that the crowd took to its feet and gave, appropriately, a rebel yell." Peyton Manning, rockreviews.blogspot.com, August 2005
"...The New Heathens are one of New York's newest bands to throw its hat into the roots rock ring. The band's sound is defined by the guitar interplay between (Domenick) Tiziano and Butch Phelps, the group's second six- string slinger. What sets the New Heathens apart is an emphasis on detail and storytelling in songs, which touch on themes ranging from UFO sightings to criminal justice system failures in rural America." Avi Jones, newyorkrock.blogspot.com, July 2005
"The New Heathens' songs take you from a woman leaving an abusive relationship to an old timer mourning what's become of Paterson, New Jersey. From Montana teenagers playing pyro pranks to booze-soaked lovers to the Christian right, the New Heathens play gutsy rock n' roll with a literary heart, a wink and a 'one-two-three-four-here-we-go' attitude," suckstobeyou.net, 7/23/05
"Three chords and a-nod's-as-good-as-a-wink, if you understand what I mean," Felix Flash, firecrackerwire.org, 7/1/05
"Thank god there's a band of rockers writing singable melodies and intelligent lyrics instead of whining about their broken hearts over straight eighth notes in an effort to impress Wynona Ryder and Drew Barrymore," TakeTheRide.net, 6/24/05
"Balls to Joe Levy, music editor of Rolling Stone, and his proclamation this year that roots-rock is a dying genre. The New Heathens prove that not only is roots-rock alive, it's dancing a three-way jitterbug with satire and love," Meatgrinder.org, June 2005