by Robert Bell
9 p.m. Juanita's. $12 adv., $14 d.o.s.
Erika Wennerstrom has long subscribed to the slow-build school of rock 'n' roll. And why not? With a voice as subtle and affecting as hers, starting softly and finishing forcefully (with chunky guitar riffs at her wings) always leads to anthems. Thankfully, that formula lives on in "Arrow," the fourth album from Wennerstrom's band Heartless Bastards (stream it before it's released on Valentine's Day at NPR.com). But not exclusively.
The arrangement on the "The Arrow Killed the Beast" sounds like a mournful take on Lee Hazelwood's baroque desert pop. Elsewhere, there are bongos, guitar parts that sound like Big Star at its most bombastic and Wennerstrom doing her best Marc Bolan impression. Heartless Bastards are known for touring relentlessly, so even though this show marks the kick-off of the band's tour and it comes with an added guitarist, look for them to be sharp.
Fayetteville gets a chance to see the group March 8 at George's. San Antonio's '60s-obsessed rockers Hacienda open.