New Heathens
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New Heathens


Band Americana Rock


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""A Complete Package That Could Easily Sell a Few Hundred-Thousand""

"Of all the WE Fest artists I've heard for the first time 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

""Jangle in your guitar and smarts in your lyrics""

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 - Village Voice

""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.

Led by New York journalist Nate Schweber, the band swing confidently throughout the album. Schweber, author of all the songs bar one, has a winning way with a story and sings with conviction. July 1, Near Helena Mt. is a cracking tale of college boys farting about with gasoline and tears along with a magnificent guitar break. Red White and Blue is an anthem to the modern protester, a fast R’n’B charged rant with a knowing nod to the Stones sixties anthem Street Fighting Man. Maudlin bar songs are tackled in When She’s Wasted, a role reversal tale of a drunken partner. Top this off with an amphetamine fuelled gospel song, Back To Jesus and a neo psychedelic homage to the god of Gonzo, Hunter Thompson, in Doomed Generation and you have a an album that deserves a listen. Closing track, For Crying Out Loud, written by The Yahoos’ Keith Christopher stomps along with crunching guitars and is the best Faces song the Faces never recorded.

Date review added: Monday, October 30, 2006
Reviewer: Paul Kerr
Reviewers Rating: 8 of 10 stars - Americana UK

""New Heathens Could Play a Major Role in Americana's Future""

3 1/2 stars (out of four)

Anyone who claims that roots rock is dying hasn’t heard the New Heathens. Their debut album, Heathens Like Me, burns with the sounds of 1980s Bruce Springsteen and John Mellencamp. Tracks like the satirical “Back to Jesus” tend to resonate with a tinge of Kings of Leon. 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. The band tends to stick with the typical three-chord progression, but in this case their traditional style isn’t bad. The result is an album that’s familiar, contagious and somehow new. After all, good guitar licks and catchy hooks never get old. Heathens Like Me is a reputable debut of energetic rockabilly. Frontman and primary songwriter Nate Schweber sings with gritty authenticity. As his voice twangs over the band’s tight portrait of electric guitar, bass and drums, Schweber’s knack for telling a story glistens. “141,” an autobiographical song about 141st Street in Harlem, is one of the album’s best. The electric guitar’s solo intro to “141” is gratifying. As the song pulsates between loud rock and softer sounds, it’s apparent that New Heathens could play a major role in Americana’s future.
-- Lauren Proctor - Marked Magazine

""Their Heartfelt Playing Comes Through on Every Tune""

Schweber’s lyrics are introspective and well thought out. His “Goodnight Paterson” aments a town with a “sprit underneath this mess” that he knows well enough to invoke his father’s recollections of the once great place to live. He also finds time on the album to diss Dubya as well as sing the praises of Jesus, all without sounding clichéd or preachy.
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. Handled by Butch Phelps and Dominick Tiziano, there isn’t a mad barrage of thirty-second notes between them, and their heartfelt playing comes through on every tune. - Good Times Magazine

""One Hell of a Clanging Calling Card""

by Tony Peyser

October, 2006

New Heathens' Heathens Like Me

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. Well, I'm breaking with tradition here with the debut release by some New York fellows called New Heathens. Yeah, there are some tracks with a social conscience. But the bottom line is this puppy really rocks.

When the drums kick in six seconds into the opening song, you can't help but be reminded of Rod Stewart's "Maggie Mae." But this classic rock rave-up has more than romantic nostalgia on its mind. It's a tale of young love gone way wrong and subsequent pleas for the girl involved to get on the right track. As driving guitar licks lead the way, it's like watching two cars speeding at each other and suddenly realizing that neither driver has the sense to swerve: "She wore her sister's short skirt with her hair curled and cleanest kicks/He had tattoos, a gold tooth, a short fuse and a crucifix." Lead singer and band songwriter Nate Schweber has a way with staccato lyrics that fly like knives in a carnival sideshow. If you know someone in a really bad relationship --- and we all do, don't we? --- sit ‘em down and make ‘em listen to "Getaway Baby." It might just musically bitch slap some sense into them.

Schweber and his Heathen band mates are channeling that restless sound that Bruce Springsteen and Southside Johnny plied in the 1970s at the Stone Pony down the Jersey shore. It's a salute to uninhibited city living: "It's hot as hell on a Harlem rooftop/Looking down I see a street covering my block/Young men are doing chin ups on a fire escape/While little girls are dancing to a serenade ..." You can listen to "141" and practically feel the spray from a fire hydrant. There's a band that critics --- and writers like Nick Hornby and Stephen King --- have hyped for several years called Marah. They've never really taken off with their pumped up, East Coast bar band sound but I think New Heathens should be getting some of their rave reviews. The extra punch in "141" is when Schweber --- who's now decamped to the quieter suburbs --- pines for those younger days when he knew what his nearby neighbors were listening to on their stereos and cooking in their backyard barbeques.

On "Back To Jesus," the Heathens crank it up in a Southern Rock mode that Allman Brothers fans will sidle up to in a heartbeat. The narrator sings about wanting to turn over a new leaf but his manner of expressing his contrition suggests he's not quite ready to surrender his wild ways: "I believed in mushrooms and I believed in cartoons ..." The song is so boisterous that you can imagine Jesus telling them to come back after they've settled down a little more. And you've got to love a song with these kinds of loopy lines: "And if you take me back, Lord, I won't stray again/I'll find those regicidal and hit ‘em with the bible."

In a rollicking country-rock and John Fogerty style is "July 1, Near Helena, MT." It shows they can shift genres without stripping any gears. It's hard to explain it without giving away too much and spoiling the fun. But let's just say that one person's jaw-dropping close encounter might just be somebody's knuckleheaded juvenile stunt.

The real barnburner here is the sixth song. No age is given but I'm guessing the girl it's about is somewhere in her teens. She's clearly been paying attention to the news and has just had it. The lyrics vividly illuminate her exasperated state of mind. The chorus cracks like a home run off the bat of Albert Pujols: "She wanted some peace so she hit the streets/Casting her vote with her lungs and her feet/She wondered how many lives would the world have to lose/She's was waving a white flag, seeing red and feeling blue." Schweber's progressive sensibility is revealed in mourning the loss of people of the world, not just Americans. "Red, White & Blues" is a loud, raucous track that wants to kick ass and take action.

A while back, I wrote about James McMurtry's devastating single, "We Can't Make It Here Anymore." (It recently won a fistful of awards at the Americana Music Awards down in Nashville .) That song about a town that has all but officially vanished can now be mentioned along with New Heathens "Goodnight Paterson." I love songs like this that have a sense of history and mourning the passing of eras. This one is about a New Jersey city that has seen much better times: "The factories here are fossils of a heyday gone/And the wages just keep dying down/And just because the Colt factory caught fire years back/ Don't mean that there's no guns to be found." Schweber could have left at that but pushes his examination even further: "Over on Rosa Parks Blvd. a boy was shot dead/The cops said he ran with a gang/And his baby's eating pain - Buzzflash

""Alleys and endless highways, early Rod and the Yayhoos -- how can you go wrong?""

The New Heathens' Heathens Like MeA 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? - Raleigh Independent

""A Little Trashy and Brash With Just Enough Energetic Recklessness To Move You""

"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

""New Heathens Are a Band to Watch""

Four Stars (out of Five)

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. The first thing you notice is the first rate vocals from front man and main songwriter Nate Schweber. He's has a classic rootsy swagger, not unlike Graham Parker or Steve Marriott, but tastefully under plays his vocal gifts (as opposed to say the Black Crowes' Chris Robinson.) Many young bands have a few good songs to frontload on their debut, but the Heathens have more than that to offer and this disc unfolds nicely. Armed with a straight ahead rock attack (similar to Eric Ambel, whose studio the band recorded in) they also have songs with a classic country rock feel. “Doomed Generation”, inspired of course, by the late Hunter S. Thompson, has a nice psychedelic groove on. So seek this one out for simple rocking pleasure and you'll come back to it for the well written tunes. - Freight Train Boogie

""Devilishly Good Debut""

The New Heathens are technically a New York City-based band, but they're rooted in Montana. The liner notes picture a Montana license plate and a glimpse of a Bob Wire & the Fencemenders T-shirt, and one of the songs is titled "July 1 Near Helena Montana." The local flavor comes courtesy of head Heathen Nate Schweber, the one-time renegade tuba player in UM's marching band and local writer who's now found a bigger playground to fool around in with this loose roots-rock quintet.

It's not just Schweber's local connection that makes him stand out. His vocals are rough in a road-weary, bar-rock way that makes it easy to sing along, and his lyrics are impeccable. Every line is memorable on the standout "When Shes Wasted," right up to the twangy chorus: "I smell the whiskey on her breath, she's getting faded. Cos she hates me when she's sober, but she loves me when she's wasted." "Back to Jesus" is a hilarious confessional in the form of a rockabilly rocker with verses that jump from praising Allah to finding religion in hallucinogens. Throughout, the writing is satirical and smart and, in more serious turns like "Goodnight Paterson" and "Kansas Romeo," heartbreakingly real.

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 Independent


"Heathens Like Me"



Rootsy, rocking and grounded in the storytelling traditions of songwriters like Bob Dylan, Warren Zevon, and bands like the Drive By Truckers and the Bottle Rockets, the New Heathens serve up 10 diverse, Roots Rock tracks on their debut album "Heathens Like Me". Taking listeners from the streets of Harlem, NYC to hard-luck Paterson, NJ, from the plains of Kansas where injustice grows like corn, to the mountains of Montana where teenagers mix pyromania with alien paranoia Heathens Like Me connects America’s coasts via blue highways with shotgun riders ranging from wasted women to Jesus Christ to Gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson.

Heralded around the northeast for their energetic live shows the New Heathens have opened for the Samples and shared stages with Ryan Adams, Marah, Graham Parker, Old Crow Medicine Show, Jim Lauderdale, Chip Robinson (of the Backsliders) and Eric "Roscoe" Ambel (of the Yayhoos, Del-Lords and Steve Earle's Dukes)

With members hailing from Virginia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Montana and New York, the New Heathens bonded in New York City over their love of songs made when two guitars, bass and drums combine with good melodies, harmonies and lyrics.