The Unsacred Hearts
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The Unsacred Hearts


Band Alternative Punk


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"The Unsacred Hearts - In Defense of Fort Useless CD review"

Tales of bourbon-soaked nights and the chaos of the city streets figure prominently in this band's roughhewn songs. Tracks like "Whiskey in the Fridge," and "Airline Bottles" combine the rawness of early Johnny Thunders and the fall-apart charm of The Libertines. Hailing from Brooklyn, NY, Unsacred Hearts are every inch a rock and roll band, but unlike some of their NY brethren, they refuse to get stuck on one level. "Will You Be Coming Back To Me" is a hard little gem wrapped up in a 120 second package. "Teenage Palace Daydream" is another titanic track. It layers poetic phrases like "crumbled like sugarcubes beneath her steps" upon a bluesy backbone, proving that Unsacred Hearts may like to party, but they've also read a book or two.--Frank Stein - Sentimentalist Magazine

"The Unsacred Hearts - Unsacred Hearts EP review"

No one who heard Cold Memory's 2002 indie rock album Damage/No Damage could have predicted this as the follow-up: guitarist Dave Siegel and drummer Travis Harrison splintered off to form a retro-punk band. As Unsacred Hearts, their self-titled debut EP is a promising and enjoyable effort, all 14-minutes-and-40-seconds of it. EPs don't get briefer than this: five of the seven tracks clock in at under two minutes. In those short structures Unsacred Hearts prove themselves to be clever boys, tossing off the delicious pun "Secret Dakota Ring" as one song title, and telling in "Stuck Inside a Mobile Home With the Mansion Blues Again" an amusing tale of NYC street musicians and Bob Dylan. In a more serious vein, the Clash-ish "We Were a Band" tackles the un-punk theme of leaving rock & roll for "real jobs," and is very effective in doing so. An album unsubtle in its ethos -- "Oh no, I was born too late / Take me back to 1978" -- Unsacred Hearts successfully whets the appetite for more, and is recommended without reservations. - All Music Guide

"Working Hard for the City ; The Deli Magazine Interview"

Unsacred Hearts - by Jim F Keller
Working Hard for the City

Monikers, partying and rocknroll make-up The Unsacred Hearts, but beneath it's frat-brother shell lies four persistent men with an appreciation for a formidable city that simultaneously crushes and realizes dreams. I chatted via email with Joe Willie (vocalist) and Travis Harrison (drummer) about calling Long Island "home", musical vicissitude, and their band's new album, In Defense of Ft. Useless.

The Unsacred Hearts have subsisted since 1995 with other names/line-ups, what musical changes have you made through the years?

TH: "If we've reinvented ourselves, it's the result of learning how to play, discovering new music and remaining best friends. We started out as a [Bruce] Springsteen-worshipping backyard party band--idealistic and clueless. That morphed into a power pop-oriented thing. Then all the guys who could sing or write songs married, moved away or gave up. So we became The Unsacred Hearts, it became more punk, and the bands that never hit us as hard, like Richard Hell or the Replacements, started to make a lot of sense."

-Were any changes conscious efforts to modify the overall sound of the band?

TH: "For us, musical changes have been reactions to real-life situations. When your singer/songwriter quits to start a family, you gotta' figure something out or quit, we're not quitters. When the Hearts started, we had me on drums, Dave on guitar and Joe Willie, the lyricist. Joe picked-up the mic and started hollering, all hell was raised."

Your music seems to owe a lot to NYC, in what ways has this city
been good to you?

JW: "I was born in Brooklyn, so I've always felt a deep connection to the city. Growing up Long Island, the city casts a long shadow. You feel the nearness and the distance, that provides a unique perspective on the city. Some of the best NY rocknroll came from that same kind of insider/outsider view--Lou Reed, Bruce Springsteen's early stuff, and The Ramones. For us, the city always remained a place of distinct energy, romance, history and mystery. We draw on that--the underlying kinetics, structured chaos, bright lights and darkness."

-In what ways has it been not so good to you?

JW: "For any artist who doesn't make enough money off their art, the city is expensive. It fosters a Bohemian culture where every painter and writer still has to have a 9 to 5 job. When you live in a place that forces you to hustle 24 hours a day and 7 days a week to make rent as a musician, and you make it work, that's beautiful. Our music is fast and loud because we don't take moonlight strolls in NYC, we hustle."

TH: "There's a litany of complaints: "New York is too expensive, too over-saturated with bands, too hard a place to get anyone to notice you, too uptight"--but this is our home and we make it work. We play loft parties. We started our own label (Serious Business Records). We hang up posters and eat tamales from bodegas."

I understand the band is gearing up to release an LP entitled "In Defense of Ft. Useless", have you made any musical modifications since the release of your self-titled EP?

JW: " We still have the two-minute blasts and shouts, but we're exploring and stretching our ideas. There are more stories about fighting dogs and cocktail waitresses, and more songs about rocknroll."

TH: "Tina from Man In Gray sings on one song."

Musicians employ different methods in their songwriting processes,
briefly walk me through the songwriting process for The Unsacred Hearts.

JW: "Dave is our songwriting engine, most songs start from a riff or
short piece that he's written. I have lots of lyrics in a folder, and we
see what feels good."

Your website contains an in-depth journal, detailing the latest of your band. It has this friendly appeal to it-- the reader feels like they're your friend. What made the band decide to employ such a personal method of updating?

JW: "That's how I write, conversational, relaxed. We wanted the website to be more than a promotional tool, more interesting and expressive, that gives people a view on who we are. We thought if I kept a blog, it would extend the connection and foster community."

What plans lie ahead for The Unsacred Hearts, including touring, and other projects?

JW: "We'll keep playing, maybe make it out of the state. We'll be working on the album--getting our friends over to Serious Business to sing and play." - The Deli Magazine

"Unsacred Hearts EP Review"

The material on the Unsacred Hearts' debut EP follows the time honoured tradition of rock songs about rock. That always comes with the potential of sounding silly (we all have nightmares about bad hair metal where the main subject was "RAWK!") but as this is a fairly charming and skilled band their subject matter is delivered with a good deal of reverence and conviction.

The band shows off a number of influences over these 7 songs. At the core this has the feel of early New York City punk rock, but the band dips into moments of folk, blues and soul, 60s mod and even a bit of outlaw country before the record's run it's course. "Stuck Inside A Mobile Home With The Mansion Blues Again" is an infectious amalgam of post-punk dissonance, garage rock and folky storytelling. It sounds fresh and original yet it's deeply rooted in the band's influences. The song's about an old busker claiming that Dylan's "Love Minus Zero/No Limit" is the only Dylan song in which the title doesn't appear in the lyrics (it's not). Weird subject matter for a rock song? Sure, but the Unsacred Hearts make it sound damn important nonetheless. "1978" is a tribute to the NYC punk scene of that year, one that the band admits they were "born too late" to witness. They wax nostalgic for the time of Johnny Thunders and berate the current trends in punk rock (the line "I don't want your diary stuck in a fucking song" makes me smile). "We Were A Band" is another high point, showing off well integrated country influences in a tune that you'll be singing for hours afterwards.

I'm really excited about this band; there's less than 15 minutes of material on this disc yet I could easily keep talking about it. The lead track "I Was Raised To Be Polite & Kind" is barely a minute and a half long and it ends with a guitar solo that feels classic for lack of a better term. It's the ultimate tease and leaves you in such anticipation for what's to come. The same can be said about this EP. -Adam - PunkNews


Unsacred Hearts
CD EP (SBR01 2004)

Man In Gray/Unsacred Hearts Split 7"
7" vinyl (SBR03 2005)

In Defense of Fort Useless
CD LP (SBR07 2006)

Five Believers
Digital EP (SBR09 2006)

The Honor Bar
CD LP (SBR40 2009)



The Unsacred Hearts draw from a wide range of influences: formative punk rock, outlaw country, warped '60s blues, Dylan rhymes and gutbucket soul to name a few. These and other musical strands are apparent in Unsacred Hearts music but never supplant the band's own original noise.

The Hearts have been writing, recording and performing since late 2003. Front-man Joe Willie started the group with hometown friends Travis Harrison (drums) and Dave Siegel (guitar) after the dissolving of their previous band for which Joe served as an outboard lyricist. Bassist/vocalist A-Ross spent over a year in the band before joining OK Go. He was replaced in 2005 by S. Andy Bean (also of the Two Man Gentlemen Band).

On stage, the Hearts take audiences on sweaty beer-soaked joy-rides, summoning comparisons to Mitch Ryder, Guided By Voices and vintage Clash. Alongside original tunes, you'll often hear twisted reinterpretations culled from the band's repertoire of cover material. In the studio, the Hearts challenge the limitations of a typical guitar-bass-drums lineup. Their latest album In Defense of Fort Useless displays the use of myriad musical textures, from spare experimental country to the meanest punk.