Single Release: Hearts & Knives, “Braggadocio (Version 2)”

Hearts & Knives - Braggadocio

It is hard to comprehend that two full years have passed since Team GDW made the acquaintance of Regina, SK indie synth duo, Hearts & Knives, who released their debut single, “Braggadocio” in August of 2018.  Comprised of Steven Eisler (vocals/synthesizers) and Robert Lane (bass), Hearts & Knives filled our senses with some stunning post-punk synth-rock, offering both a refreshingly modern and distinctly retro inspired interpretation of this popular genre.  As we all become consumed by the ugliness of the upcoming US election, Hearts & Knives are ready to unleash their politically motivated and lyrically charged new single today – resurrecting their impressive debut under the guise of “Braggadocio (Version 2).”

Considered an ‘alternative’ to the original release, while the duo have left the lyrics and vocals untouched from their predecessor, it is both the instrumental cues and their intensity of sound that brings “Version 2” to life.  If the moodier introduction goes not grab your attention, the quick punches from drummer Eder Garzona and discreet ringing cries from guest-guitarist Ethan Bender certainly will; wrapping you quickly in their explosive indie-rock chimes. Joined by Lane’s throbbing bass riffs are Eisler’s signature keys and echo-laced vocals, with all four elements combining to not only deliver that vintage Hearts & Knives experience, but to demonstrate their willingness to tap into and explore the ‘not-so-dark’ side of new-wave/indie-crossover territory. 

Hearts and Knives

Recorded and mixed by David Roman at Roman Empire Studios, and mastered by Orion Paradis at Soulsound Studios in Regina, the origins of “Version 2” can be traced back to those original 2018 studio sessions.  “We wanted Braggadocio to have a vintage sounding electronic beat, with thick floor drum and in-your-face snare hits, minimalistic hats and crashes,” Steven recalls.  “And we wanted it to be a danceable ‘four on the floor’ to accompany my many layers of new wave-esque synth melodies.”  Exercising the option to dial up the instrumental intensity here with “Version 2,” however, adds plenty of extra bite to Eisler’s lyrical observations: “Bragga-bragga-docio / You gonna tell me where to go now? / With a wave of that magic wand / You claim to call it as is,” he recites.  “Ignorance is bliss in your case / Should you have to care about us / When at the end of the day it’s all about you / And only you.

“During the transitions to the peak of the [original] song, each instrument has a brief section, and that’s where the acoustic drums were needed from Eder Garzona,” Eisler offers, when asked to recall the origins of “Version 2.”  “We decided it would be too difficult to just drop him in at the particular section for a four second drum roll, and instead opted to record him playing through the entire session, with plans to trim everything later during the mixing process.”  Loving what he heard from both the synthesized drums and conventional studio kit, Eisler knew that this was not the time to surrender one or the other to the cutting room floor.  “That’s when I made a judgment call and insisted we have two versions of the song – the original with just electronic drums, and this edgier version with Eder playing throughout,” Steven adds.  “Basically it just sounds way too damn good to not put both out there. In the end, we separated them by editing a few more things to further differentiate Version 2.”

Bragga-bragga-docio / You’re a demagoguery at its finest / Narcissistic, pessimistic / Please God, save us all,” Eisler cries, wrestling with, and seeking to comprehend the flagrant abuses of power so easily flaunted by his antagonist.  “This song musically, emotionally, and lyrically expresses 2020 in a nutshell,” he offers.  “We’re tired!  We’re broke!  We’re scared!  We’re sick of it!  We’re stressed, ANGRY, and we’re ready to FIGHT!”  “Braggadocio (Version 2)” is available for your listening pleasures today.

Learn more about Hearts & Knives at

The British guy that crossed the ocean and crash landed in central Pennsylvania (to quote Greg Keelor, “And I wonder what am I doing here?”). As the youngest of four siblings, exposure to music from a very early age nurtured my passion and appreciation for many musical genres. Continuing to discover some amazingly diverse and talented musicians based in Canada, I gravitate to live music experiences and remain devoted to spreading the word about such a vibrant music scene.

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