The Heartless Bastards and the Tough & Lovely are two Ohio bands that play what could be called "straight-ahead" or "no frills" rock (as one reviewer described the Heartless Bastards), though in my lexicon "straight-ahead" can be code for "shuns prettiness" or "lacks ambition" or "never got the hang of synthesizers" or "tries to make a virtue of sartorial paralysis," all of which are apt but fortunately aren't the whole story. The Tough & Lovely grab great wads of '60s garage rock and soul, though they come across as just a set-'em-up-and-rock-'em-down dance band, really. This is not true to the actual '60s, which were full of frills and trendies and tangents, but is right for the group's spirit. Think of the Tough & Lovely as a cover band in your local bar who surprise you by the intensity and the passion with which they bash out '60s hits. What surprises me is... More >>>