The Bleeding Hearts


"On Divorcing New York, the third LP from The Bleeding Hearts, the band offers everything you want from basic rock 'n' roll bluster: riffs, hooks and humor, all simmering in the unmistakable air of Saturday night...a trove of newly minted treasure. Summoning a wit and classic rock bravado that don't exist so much anymore, The Bleeding Hearts have at last delivered on their cocksure promise."
- Chris Parker, IndyWeek Read Full Article Here

Bleeding Hearts proudly fly the Raleigh blue-collar rock flag, in that they have “The Sneer” down pat – that snarling edge to their guitars, vocals and words. All three are in full effect on their righteous new album, Divorcing New York. - David Menconi, News and Observer

Earlier this year I was sitting at my bar with Sam Madison, singer and guitarist for the BLEEDING HEARTS. I was talking to him about what I thought when the local Indie Rock Loser media whores over-hyped them and their last release. I mean it was appalling to see so much clueless bullshit being spread over pages on a weekly basis. One reviewer stated that they reminded him of CHEAP TRICK, KISS and the HEARTBREAKERS. Wow isn't that ironic since during the band's shows at that time they would do covers of songs by those three bands. What a fucking douchebag! Anyways Sam understood my point and also thought that the local Indie Rock media were laying on a little too thick. I thought their debut CD was a decent release. Sam promised me that this one was going to be more old school Punk.

Well to be honest with you it's not but there are some great moments on this dink that blow the genre pigeonholing wide fuckin open. "My Cross To Bear" comes with a bit of 70s English Punk snarl with guitarist Joe Yerry tossing in some Steve Jones bombast. "Status Symbol" and "It Hurts" are great Punk Fuckin Rock & Roll numbers in the vein of the HUMPERS. "Wasted & Waiting" is just bar band rock that kicks ass. "Scene of the Crime" sounds so much like DEGENERATION's "Capital Offender" that the band got Richard Bacchus (formerly of DEGENERATION) to add vocals. But the BLEEDING HEARTS are not out to conjure up ghosts from the past. They do a pretty good job at playing some decent Rock & Roll with a few catchy hooks without relying on others. And when they play live there's no need for more covers.

The songs "Your Addiction" and "No Pain" have more hooks than your granny's curtains. And if you're a fan of Little Steven's Underground Radio Show then you already have heard the band's infectious hit song "Rehab Girl". It's been played on there at a regular basis for weeks now. Little Steven has even gone so far as to say that the BLEEDING HEARTS are his favorite new band now. But there's nothing new about the BLEEDING HEARTS. These four guys (Sam Madison: lead vocals/guitar, Jim Britte: bass/vocals, Joe Yerry: guitar, and Dave Bartholomew: drums/vocals) are music vets who've paid more Rock & Roll dues than most of the modern day flavors of the month. So listening to this on it's own I'd say that the BLEEDING HEARTS have created an almost perfect Rock & Roll release. I say almost since the song "Don't Judge A Book By It's Cover" is really sappy. I had to take off points for that. Still when it comes to the North Carolina music scene as a whole. Chapel Hill will always be known for their Indie Rock Losers. Where as Raleigh will always be known for it's Rock & Roll winning stalwarts. And the BLEEDING HEARTS have added another page to it's music history with this CD. Oh yeah the cover model Luva is friend of mine who I've known for many years.

Wolf, Scumfest

The Bleeding Hearts: 5:30pm, Cherry Bounce Stage, Friday Raleigh Wide Open
Posted at Earfarm.Com

If rock and roll has to be one thing, and one thing only, it has to be LOUD. Sexy. Abrasive. Dangerous. Rapturous. Feverish. Bluesy. Foot-tapping. Body-moving. Deadly. Did I say one thing or ten? The definition differs for every listener, but whatever that most central characteristic is for you one thing is certain: The Bleeding Hearts have it. It. Raw power.

Grayson Currin, The Independnet Weekly
[A] Raleigh rock favorite: The Bleeding Hearts harnesses four decades of vinyl references into polished but hulking two-guitar paeans that meet somewhere between Mott the Hoople and Cheap Trick. Despite its scantily clad cover, the band's second album, Nothin' On but the Radio, showcases a more mature, balanced approach from Sam Madison, its braggadocio-belted frontman.


LITTLE STEVEN'S LETTER TO SWEDEN (in which we are mentioned)
There's a lot of random shit out there on the web.  But every once in awhile, when you're at home Googling yourself (not like that!  try to stay with us here), you come up with some interesting tidbits.  Like this letter from Little Steven to his fans in Sweden.  Click here for the original in Swedish.  Well, we didn't have access to the original English version, but we've let Google translate it back into English for us.  That's right, people, English -> Swedish -> English.  Enjoy!

Girl in rehab in the coolest song

Learn Little Stevens sommarkrönika - exclusively for Aftonbladet

Dear compatriots!
Sweden now feels like my second home, so I feel that I may call you that.

Today's chronicle would actually have been my last one, but it has been so fun to keep in touch with you, so I've decided me to write in four weeks.  And to keep in touch with what is good in life, it is also the week's theme in my radioshow. It pays tribute we are currently Film Noir genre.

We will light a födelsedagsljus for legendary director John Houston, which started the whole thing with the brilliant film "Riddarfalken from Malta" in 1941.  But it's not all. You who are listening have also (o) the good fortune to hear signed to do a Humphrey Bogart-imitation of a very special terrible way.

Better, it sounds when we play the world's coolest song - this week.

It fits into the category of pop culture that matter - that is the one normally found at 50 - and 60-talsplattor.  The song is called "Rehab Girl" and, believe it or not, but it is not about Amy, Britney, Lindsay or Courtney.

The group is The Bleeding Hearts from Raleigh, North Carolina, and may my vote for having succeeded in creating this year's coolest album.

You can find their slice of doublenaughtrecords.com, and you will find me as usual in undergroundgarage.com now at the weekend.

- Stevie

While you wouldn't exactly call Raleigh's Bleeding Hearts retro, they do put you in mind of stuff you've heard before. Their long-awaited second album Nothin' on But the Radio (Doublenaught Records) opens with radio static that resolves into shotgun blasts of guitar, with riffs and tones suggesting everybody from Velvet Underground to 38 Special. But they don't trot out reference points for the purposes of revering or mocking. Instead, Bleeding Hearts simply tap into The One True Rock that so many of us grew up with, and you know what? It rocked then and it rocks now (even 38 Special). Bleeding Hearts show off the album tonight at Raleigh's Pour House. - David Menconi

The Bleeding Hearts were born to be badasses, liars or both. In 2003, Sam Madison, a longtime Raleigh musician who'd played half a dozen styles of music in as many local bands, met a trio of New York immigrants: Joe Yerry played guitar, Jimbo Britt played bass, and Scott Taylor played drums.

Madison, in his mid-30s at the time and finalizing a divorce, wrote some songs about having fun in high school, and the band took off: The first Bleeding Hearts show nearly packed the Lincoln Theatre, and the band made its first record, Stayin' After Class, fast, after a blast of early buzz earned it a deal with Charlotte indie label MoRisen Records. Four tough dudes playing slicked-back rock 'n' roll with the sneer of a young punk: Pure badasses, it seemed.

But some people thought The Bleeding Hearts were liars. They looked tough, but their agile riffs and juvenile obsessions weren't rough enough for great Raleigh rock.

"We got a lot of attention right away, and there was instantly a backlash because of it," remembers Yerry. "Most of that album was silly, but it was like rock 'n' roll high school by an unknown band in Raleigh."

But The Bleeding Hearts stuck with it, playing often and writing plenty. Time and its troubles—a member leaving, the search for a replacement, a divorce for the frontman—shaped and steeled the band's edge. Its just-released second record, Nothin' on but the Radio, is more involved and involving than Stayin' After Class. The band says the four-year wait between records was worth it for them, at least.

The end result of a good record didn't make a tough few years any easier, though: The deal with MoRisen was scratched not long after the record was finished, and a New York-based indie picked up Stayin' After Class. Madison admits the record fell flat upon release. The label didn't know what to do with it, and The Bleeding Hearts—still somewhat new at being a band—didn't either.

On Stayin' After Class, Madison had written the songs and taught them to the band. Yerry's guitar lines mostly doubled his. Shortly after the record was made, though, these roles began to change. The four-piece slowly started to gel as a group, and new songs were written and arranged as a band.

Then, of course, someone quit.

"Me and Jimbo grew up with Scott. I mean, I've known him since I was 9 years old, and I'm 36," says Yerry, sitting on the back porch of Slim's, the rock bar in downtown Raleigh where he books bands and serves Madison drinks. "When he announced that he was leaving, he was shaking."

Madison had more than an album's worth of songs ready to commit to tape two years ago, but after so many bands and so many breakups, he was more than a little suspicious of The Bleeding Hearts' shelf life. He wanted to find a new full-time drummer before making the second record or simply move on to the next project.

"There is a sell-by date," says Madison. "We had been together four years by the point Scott left, and it crossed all our minds, 'Well, we may as well call it a day.'"

After spending the better part of the year looking for a drummer, The Bleeding Hearts found him in an unexpected place. Dave Bartholomew—a rock 'n' roll journeyman who toured with The Screaming Trees and plays in eight Raleigh bands including Tres Chicas—produced Stayin' After Class and was set to record its follow-up. Then he decided he'd also like to be in the band. The Hearts were as shocked as they were thrilled.

"He's into the band, but I didn't know he'd be into playing in the band. I never heard Dave play drums like that," says Yerry. "He nailed it on the first rehearsal."

Indeed, Bartholomew was perfect for the job. He knew all of the songs, either from producing or from hearing the new numbers in venues around town. And it was a band effort, says Yerry: "This is much more a Bleeding Hearts record than a Sam Madison record."

Mostly for that reason, Nothin' on but the Radio improves on Stayin' After Class in every way. The guitars don't simply state and restate the themes. The parts dovetail and redirect, lacing through feedback and into electric lines that sound written in italics. Britt and Bartholomew sound comfortable and cohesive, and Madison takes chances with his writing, opting for an acoustic guitar on one song and a modern-rock, manipulated vocals coda on another.

More importantly, Madison isn't writing like a kid anymore. Between records, he went through his second divorce. He and his wife had adopted a child, and he says the guilt he felt when he left his family found its way into the lyrics.

"This is the rawest stuff, and the most naked, I've ever allowed myself to be in writing," says Madison. "There are love songs on this album, and I've never in my life written a love song."

Songs like "In a Bad Place" and "Don't Judge a Book" deliver charged emotional scenes, and they're even more compelling stacked against a tongue-in-cheek take on adult situations like "Rehab Girl" or the veiled social critique of "Nothin' on but the Radio." The songs give the music the right to have an edge, to take chances. That had never been a strength of the band. The Bleeding Hearts, at last, sound the part of the badass—and, at last, they seem honest.

HANX (Dutch Site) (We think they liked it!)
Die hoes! Ik kan mijn ogen maar niet afhouden van die mevrouw haar getatoeëerde billen. Het zet de toon zonder dat er een noot is gespeeld. En na de eerst gespeelde noot is één ding duidelijk: Nothin’ On But The Radio begint zoals je verwacht, en gehoopt, had dat het zou beginnen. De aftrap is een nietszeggende maar overheerlijke dijenkletser. Zou Green Day een roots-neefje hebben? Sam Madison heeft het grootste bloedende hart. Hij schrijft de doodskop-met-een-lach melodieën en versiert ze stuk voor stuk met een moordende gitaarrif. Tegen pijn mag je best knipogen en de liefde mag je best met cocaïne vergelijken. Opsnuiven en roepen dat je van haar houdt! Madison en zijn mannen nemen zichzelf serieus en zo hoort dat ook. Dat de meesten van ons op het bezongen leed een neiging tot springen, in plaats van meehuilen, niet zullen kunnen onderdrukken, zal ze niks uitmaken. Springen doet goed bij alles wat je doet. Het mag dan allemaal niet veel dieper gaan dan de inkt op die mevrouw haar billen, Nothin’ On But The Radio is een knaller. "I am in love with a rehab girl", dat zijn toch woorden om hard mee te zingen? Ik doe het al dagen. En nou ga ik mijn lief eens vragen of ik wat op haar billen mag tekenen. (Patrick Donders)

The Google Translation (We still think they liked it!)
These cover! I can not deter my eyes but those of Mrs her tattooed buttocks. It sets the tone without a note is played. And after the first note is played one thing clear: Nothin 'On But The Radio begins as you expected, and hoped, was that it would begin. The kick-off is a meaningless but delicious dijenkletser. Would Green Day a roots-nephew? Sam Madison has the largest bleeding heart. He writes the skull-with-a-laugh melodies and decorating them piece by piece with a murderous gitaarrif. Against pain may best winks and you love best you can compare with cocaine. Opsnuiven and urge that you keep her! Madison and his men take themselves seriously and if it deserves. That most of us at sung suffering a tendency to jump, instead meehuilen, will not be able to suppress, they will not belong. Jumping is doing well in everything you do. It all may not go much deeper than the ink on that Mrs her buttocks, Nothin 'On But The Radio is a stunner. "I am in love with a girl rehab", that his words still hard for them to sing? I do it all day. And now ga I love my agree on what questions whether I should sign her buttocks. (Patrick Donders)

When local Raleigh favorites The Bleeding Hearts announced their upcoming sophomore release, I confess, I was a bit worried. Was this new record to be just a repeat of the catchy, teenaged angst-ridden, power-poppiness of their debut album, Stayin' After Class? Would the boys be able to show us something new after playing the same tried-and-true set for several years? With this new record, would they get all sentimental and watered down with regrets contextualized in a soup of the rock-and-roll influences they so proudly bear?

Ahhhh no, dear reader. I needn't have worried. Our Hearts have crafted an album that deliciously, doggedly, unabashedly and most unapologetically yells out, Well, mother-fuckers, we were whelped on 70s radio and made into men by the lese-majesty of burning, blazing 80s punk. Here's what we got for ya'. Period.

These boys acknowledge this metamorphosis with explosive energy contained in rounded, creamy, swooshy hooks that leave you feeling like you just gleefully gorged on a yummy Pop-Cream Pie and then washed it down with a Schlitz, a bourbon straight up, and a bump or two of snake-scale. The skin-tight riffs, smooth hooks and changes, and gritty melodies are obviously informed by punk and hard rock, but the songs never make it to filthy and low-down. It ain't that kind of project. No, the songs are more like "hard rock" candy - these rock boys delightfully tease us with power pop in the way that The Replacements and Eddie Money and Joe Jackson did the same. But it's simplified and jacked-up a notch with a brat-punk ethos pulled straight from The Ramones and The New York Dolls. (And, the Brooklyn band Heap is an ever-present influence).

How so? This rock-n-roll throw-down is playful, sometimes cheesy, self-conscious, surreptitiously calculating, a little bit melancholy, and joyously balls-out studded with the necessary references to self-abuse and failure. This isn't just a party album. Ohhhhh my......There's something else going on here. Ah yes, this album IS the male ego laid bare in a hot and thick context borne directly from that self-same over-stimulated testosterone-drenched ego. And it's busting at the seams to take your sweet ass in and over-stimulate YOU.

Sam Madison's shaggy, gravelly vocals convey a rude, rude, rude life that is, for the moment, pulled from the ashes to be all-too-willingly filched and exhibited for your god-damned entertainment. He merges his conflicting lemon-meringue narcissim and pitch black self-loathing and works the combo overtime for our pure listening pleasure (this mix is particularly manifested in the "alto-relievo" of his own conspicuously prominent guitar - he likes hearing himself but negates all that in-your-face bravado with I'll-never-be-born-again-and-saved semantics) . With a pop creation that self-aware and self-referential, the risk is there for an overly indulgent, chaotic mess. But, not with these boys. They're too tight, too taut, too veteran too much ready to make fun of their own pain and sensitivity by drowning it in the pure and catchy white lightnin' of American rock-and-roll (Brit punk and Beatles influences not-withstanding).

The lyrics play with the dilemmas of men who can't seem to live with or without their women, booze, drugs, and whatever other self-destructive vices that have brought them to where they are now, which, at the moment, is in a recording studio where they are smoothly twisting, thrashing, grinding, and playing out their demons and dirty deeds done dirt cheap just for you. In the midst of all of this churning, the bittersweet dirty yearning and remembering is never allowed to get cooked down into mush. It's hard and lean and arranged with just enough grit and grime to take this band out on a new limb.

In other words, Nothin' On But the Radio confounded this listener's expectations. And that's what good rock-and-roll bands are meant to do. I highly suggest that you get you a big, thick, fat slice of this tasty pie at The Pour House next week. And, of course, wash it all down with cheap beer and good liquor. Come hungry, baby. Come hungry. (I'll be flying in from Portland that night, but no matter how tired I am, I will make it to this show with a briskly burning More Menthol cigarette, ice-cold PBR, and overly-strong Tanqueray and tonic in hand. It's going to be worth it. I like to be overly-stimulated and I know they'll do exactly that to me. Period.)

After four years the Bleeding Hearts have released their sophomore album, Nothin’ On But the Radio. The band has changed slightly, adding Dave Bartholomew on drums. But Jim Britt still carries the bass line as Joe Yerry and Sam Madison show off their guitar chops. The artwork on the cover of their new album is evocative with a naked woman donning her inked skin and old style headphones. The guts in the CD prove to be just as interesting, once you start listening.

Your experience starts off with the sound of someone fiddling through the dials on an old transistor radio until landing on the CD’s titled track. Lyrically these guys have matured in their songs, musically it seems they still have some favorite sounds they like visiting from their first album. But with lyrics that are at times dark, sad, loud and romantic the Bleeding Hearts don’t feel like their younger album.

In “Nothin on but the radio”, Sam Madison laments as he sings, “No, way, no worry, to be convicted by the judge and jury.” It sounds like he is agonizing and apologizing a lot on this album. In the track, “Don’t Judge a book by its cover”, it comes through loud and clear as Madison croons, “to say that I was childlike would be the understatement of the year.” Even on the track, “No Pain”, the guitars of Madison and Joe Yerry sound like their crying. Couple that with the lyrics, “Can’t stop when the pain stops throbbing can’t remember cause you cant stop sobbing”, and you can see a pattern forming.

They carry this vein of regret throughout most of their songs. In the song, “It hurts”, they belt out a balls-to-the-wall rock song that gets help in the screaming portion by Abe Quinn of Man Will Destroy Himself. “Status Symbol” jumps right out at you like a rock anthem. Extolling the virtues of the rock-n-roll lifestyle, “huge house, fast cars and tomfoolery” is what Sam sings about. They get right back to the love songs in “The one for you.” Madison sings, “If you have only known I loved you all along then I can be the one for you tonight.” The song, “Your Addiction” sounds like something Richard Hell might sing and “My Cross to Bear” has a nice punk drive to it, think a romantic love song sung by Tim Armstrong of Rancid.

The CD is a nice mélange of different songs wrapped up in the same common thread of agonizing over the choices we make in life. It’s a more grown-up sound, in both music and lyrics and it shows that once again, great music is coming out of Raleigh. Don’t agonize anymore, checkout Nothin’ On But the Radio and let the Bleeding Hearts show you what wearing your heart on your sleeve sounds like. -- Michael Gorelic