“The world is our sound source and Jimmy Buffett sells us our microphones,” says Mike Haleta, the self-described “commuting member” (he now resides in New Jersey) of Baltimore quartet WZT Hearts. It’s a strange comment from the former French Mistake member and current laptop wrangler, but also telling. The music of WZT Hearts is definitely wide open, alternately conjuring images of noise gristle, free-jazz wallop, psychedelic expansiveness, and the intellectual curiosity of modern composition.
Formed in early 2004 at the behest of former Cutter/Hammer drummer Shaun Flynn, and also featuring guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Jeff Dolandson (also of French Mistake) and laptopper Jason Urick. Since forming, WZT Hearts have played extensively throughout Baltimore and the East Coast often supporting such high-profile names as Pita, Animal Collective, Keith Rowe (AMM), Gang Gang Dance, Lungfish, and Sightings. But with the release of their debut album Heat Chief, the group is eager and ready to establish its own niche.
Heat Chief was recorded in one day at Big Crunch Studios in Catonsville, MD with Rob Girardi (who’s worked with Beach House, Vincent Black Shadow, and is the touring soundman for 4AD’s Celebration). All tracks are culled from one-take improvisations with no overdubbing. The CD was mastered by Martin Siewert of Trapist. Clocking in at just over 40 minutes Heat Chief is a solid and succinct debut that establishes WZT Hearts as a band to be reckoned with.