Music » Livewire

Jesse Malin

With Squad 5-0 and the Brian Lisik Band. Friday, December 3, at the Grog Shop.


In the solo work he's released since the dissolution of his casually tolerated glam-punk outfit D Generation, New York-based roots-rocker Jesse Malin has done quite a bit to cultivate a reputation as a solipsistic fuckface. Actually, that's unfair -- the sort of name-calling that benefits no one except seekers of cheap laughs, a constituency handily served by folks like Seann William Scott and Bill O'Reilly.

Yet, on his latest solo album, this year's The Heat, Malin does himself no favors in the image department; he's a little easier to take this time around, but still. Consider this line from "Swinging Man," a peppy rocker with a cool electric-piano hook: "I am a swinging man perpetually on the lam/Free as a bird or the girls in Amsterdam."

Um, okay. Malin's problem is one shared by his pal and sideman Ryan Adams: In creating a world of cigarette-throated destitution as detailed and full-bodied as his, Malin traps us inside one of the dank, airless watering holes he evidently spends so much time in. Listening to him remains uncomfortably like listening to a barstool-Barney that you can't escape without a great excuse.

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