March 22, 2007

Malin mesmerizes at Bowery

Jesse Malin‘s excellent new album Glitter In The Gutter came out on Tuesday and he ushered it in with a “record release party” at the Bowery in NYC . . .


Jesse Malin – the former D-Generation punk mastermind – is poetic in the way he makes a few words explode with meaning.

His melodies range from ballads to Bo Diddley beat rockers, but what made him so compelling at his Bowery Ballroom gig Monday was his quintessential New York cool.

Malin is the successor to Lou Reed’s crown as the lord of the City’s underground. In his songs like “Riding on a Subway,” “Brooklyn,” “Hotel Columbia” and material from his latest solo record “Glitter in the Gutter,” Malin captures the vibe of the city with sharp, in-your-face city attitude. He mixes sarcasm, humor and enough innocence to make even his lies sound true.

In his between songs he pokes fun at the Williamsburg hipsters who cross the bridge nightly to invade the Lower East Side, and he likes his obscure film references – quoting “King of Comedy” character Rupert Pupkin, “It’s better to be the king for a night than a schmuck all your life.” Malin even asked the “Marathon Man” question a half a dozen times “Is it safe?”

Without the dental work, the answer was yes.

Malin was in his element, even when he left the stage to sing from the center of the dance floor. Before he started, he convinced everyone to sit on the hardwood strewn with beer cups for what he called the concert’s U2 moment.

If there was a single disappointment at this show, it was that everyone at the Bowery was buzzing about how Bruce Springsteen was going to show up to help Malin reprise their duet of the song “Broken Radio” off of the “Glitter” album. The Boss stayed home, but Malin delivered the song with a vehemence that said the Bruce assist wasn’t essential to the number’s goodness.

Malin is an underrated, old school player who is finally getting recognized as one of New York’s great hometown voices.

Broken Radio – Jesse Malin with Springsteen

BUY: Glitter In The Gutter

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February 22, 2007

Jesse Malin: Live in Dublin, 1/21/07

I really, really like Jesse Malin‘s new album Glitter In The Gutter, coming out in the U.S. on March 20th on Adeline Records — it may be his strongest and most cohesive album yet. It’s exceptionally listenable, catchy and full of soaring hooks, but also with solid rock sensibilities, crushing lyrical turns, and some ace guest spots (Springsteen and Ryan Adams to name two). Not sure about the pink lettering on the cover, though. But I guess it’s true what they say, real men wear pink.

This exuberant recent show from Ireland is a must-listen, nicely previewing some of his new material and ripping through the back catalog, with two great covers. I’d love to see him live again – he’s so joyful in the middle of the music.

January 21, 2007 [FULL SHOW ZIPPED]
* equals new song

Riding On The Subway
Hotel Columbia
Prisoners of Paradise *
Black Haired Girl *
Queen Of The Underworld
Little Star *
Don’t Let Them Take You Down *
Cigarettes & Violets
Broken Radio *
Almost Grown
Bastards of Young (Replacements cover) *
Lucinda *
In The Modern World *
Death or Glory (Clash cover)
Aftermath *

The Glitter In The Gutter record release party is March 19th at the Bowery, for those of you lucky ducks in NYC. Definitely pick this album up when you can.

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February 8, 2007

Springsteen tribute show planned at Carnegie Hall

Bruce Springsteen is set to get the tribute treatment from the musical community on April 5 at Carnegie Hall in New York. If you were lucky enough to click on the ticket sale website on January 31, then you may have already snagged yourself a pair of tickets (in what concert producer Michael Dorf is calling a “premature leak.” Those are always a bit embarassing). Tickets legitimately went on sale Monday (and seem to be sold out) with the proceeds benefitting the Music For Youth program, as with previous tributes to Dylan & Joni Mitchell.

The benefit show will feature appearances from Badly Drawn Boy, Pete Yorn, Steve Earle, Chris Isaak and Josh Ritter, among others. I can’t find any recordings of Isaak ever covering Springsteen (some fan correct me if I am wrong), and same for Ritter (although there is plenty of press likening him to Springsteen’s songwriting). But here’s some hints of what the night may sound like . . .

Thunder Road – Badly Drawn Boy

Dancing In The Dark –> Murray (live) – Pete Yorn

State Trooper (live) – Steve Earle

And if I may, how awesome would it be to see these humble suggestions added to the lineup?

Hungry Heart – Jesse Malin

For You – The Format

No Surrender (live 9/30/05) – Eddie Vedder
(yeah, I’ve posted this before, but it’s one of my absolute favorites)

January 11, 2007

Ryan Adams –> Jesse Malin –> Butch Walker –> Ben Kweller

I have a couple of odds & ends to share, and the only obvious connection that I see is a version of Six Degrees of Ryan Adams:

1. Jesse Malin (pal) kicks off 2007 with an exuberant & rocking version of Cheap Trick’s “Surrender” – cannot help but feel happy inside seeing this kind of visceral concert experience, Jesse throwing the glittery confetti at the stroke of midnight:

Direct link here if that embed isn’t working (veoh? what’s veoh?)

Oh, and speaking of glitter: prepare to be floored by Jesse Malin’s new album, Glitter In The Gutter (which Ryan Adams guests on, as well as Bruce Springsteen and Jakob Dylan, and more). It is hands down the best thing I’ve heard in a good while – comes out in late February and start planning now how you are going to buy it as soon as it is available.

2. Butch Walker covering “Come Pick Me Up” (Ryan Adams song) with some girl I don’t know at a recent Hotel Cafe show. I’ve been enjoying the party-hearty sounds of several tracks on his The Rise and Fall of Butch Walker and The Let’s-Go-Out-Tonites album, so the sensitive strummy take on this video surprised me. Also, the crowd seems titillated by the self-destructive nature of the lyrics; perhaps they’ve never heard the song before?

3. Ryan Adams and Ben Kweller are going to be appearing together January 16th (Tuesday) on Letterman with America (the band) to perform a version of the revamped “Ride On” from the new America CD.

Stream “Ride On” featuring Ryan Adams, Ben Kweller and Adam Schlesinger (Fountains of Wayne):
Windows Media * Real * Quicktime

Also stream America’s take on the My Morning Jacket song “Golden”, featuring Ben Kweller and MMJ’s Jim James & Patrick Hallahan.
Windows Media * Real * Quicktime

4. Finally, two great Ryan Adams shows that I’ve been listening to via the Live Music Archive:

The full first night at Town Hall (NYC) on December 4, 2006

An ace 2001 show from the legendary Fillmore (San Francisco) on 11/14/01

November 21, 2006

Jesse Malin: new songs from Glitter In The Gutter

Jesse Malin is set to release his third record titled Glitter In The Gutter on March 6th 2007 on Adeline/East West. This album follows his two previous critically acclaimed releases: 2004′s The Heat, and 2002′s The Fine Art of Self Destruction.

Glitter In The Gutter was recorded in various studios over the summer in Millbrook, New York; North Hollywood, CA; and in Jesse’s native borough of Queens, New York (and was accompanied by a running blog over on Jesse’s MySpace). The album was recorded with members of Jesse’s touring band “The Heat” and also includes special guest performances by Bruce Springsteen, Jakob Dylan, Chris Shiflett of the Foo Fighters, Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age and long time pal Ryan Adams.

JoJo Pennebaker, son of legendary filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker (Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix) documented the making of Glitter on film and will be putting that together as a half-hour piece to coincide with the release of the record. [source]

Don’t Let Them Take You Down
2) In The Modern World
3) Tomorrow Tonight
4) Broken Radio
5) Prisoners Of Paradise
6) Black Haired Girl

7) Lucinda
8) Love Streams
9) Little Star
10) Bastards of Young
(Replacements cover)
11) Happy Ever After
12) NY Nights

Sample mp3s of album versions (one minute):

Don’t Let Them Take You Down
In The Modern World (or stream on MySpace – recommended)

Or, full demo versions of 2 songs:
Don’t Let Them Take You Down
Black Haired Girl
(radio rip, highly recommended)

If you are already planning ahead for New Year’s Eve (my usual; a bottle of vodka and a shotgun), Jesse is playing at NYC’s Don Hills, 9PM Dec 31. Tickets went on sale yesterday.

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September 13, 2006

Jesse Malin’s new album to feature Springsteen, Ryan Adams & a Replacements cover

From today’s news:

Boss and More Guest on Jesse Malin CD

Jesse Malin has just finished recording his third record titled Glitter In The Gutter, to be released in early 2007 on Adeline Records/East West. This album follows his two previous critically acclaimed releases: 2004′s The Heat, and 2002′s The Fine Art of Self Destruction. Glitter In The Gutter was recorded in various studios over the summer in Millbrook, New York; North Hollywood, CA; and in Jesse’s native borough of Queens, New York.

Guests on the album include a special vocal performance by Bruce Springsteen, Chris Shifflett of the Foo Fighters, Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age, long time pal Ryan Adams as well as members of Jesse’s own touring and recording band “The Heat.” Many of the songs on the new album were written on electric guitar in Jesse’s basement rehearsal studio in New York City over the past year.

After working up demos of the songs, Jesse chose to work with producers Rob Caggiano and Eddie Wohl of Scrap 60. The album will include an intimate acoustic version of The Replacements‘ classic ‘Bastards of Young.’ CD will hit stores in early 2007.”

I love that title, Glitter in the Gutter. Can’t wait to hear it. He’s got a handful of shows coming up, mostly East Coast. Tomorrow night (9/13) he headlines one final show at The Continental in NYC, on 9/19 at the Barnes & Noble (!!) in Union Square, 10/1 in Ringwood NJ, 10/12 at the Tin Angel in Philly, 10/14 at the Club Cafe in Pittsburgh, and 10/18 at Schuba’s in Chicago.

Here’s the original ‘Mats track that he covers on the new album, if you don’t have it:

Bastards of Young – The Replacements

And I wrote about some demos from the new album (the fabulous “Black Haired Girl” and “Don’t Let ‘Em Take You Down”) in this post.

August 24, 2006

Odds & ends

Some random interesting things I’ve seen in recent days (to sate you while I put the finishing touches on my most favorite post maybe ever, coming shortly):

Ûž This looks interesting — “Revenge Of The Book Eaters: Shows That Ask The Eternal Question: Words or Music — Which Is Better?
In Chicago tonight with Ben Gibbard & Dave Eggers (and more), Los Angeles on Saturday with Jenny Lewis, Aimee Mann, Dave Eggers, The Mountain Goats and more, and San Francisco on Monday with Zach Rogue (of Rogue Wave), Aimee Mann, Jonathan Richman, Mark Kozelek, Dave Eggers (and more). Finally it hits Seattle on Sept 1, with some of the above folks plus Smoosh and Colin Meloy. (Audio from the recent NY event here, featuring Sufjan and David Byrne duetting).

The Bookeaters events kind of tie in with the recent podcast I contributed to, exploring the relationship of books and music, eh? In any case, sounds like something I would totally love to attend. How ’bout a Denver date? We read a lot here.

Ûž Recommended reading from The Rawking Refuses To StopReinventing The Wheel: Indie Labels In The Digital Age. Thought-provoking reflection on the nature of blog downloads, album sales, hypothetical profit vs. the benefits of publicity for an independent band in the blogging world.

Ûž This one’s for all you ’80s fans out there: A John Hughes Soundtrack Retrospective put together by Derek over at the PureBoredom blog. It includes all those songs you either love or despise from National Lampoon’s Vacation, Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Weird Science, Pretty In Pink and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. And in the immortal words of Ferris: “A person should not believe in an -ism, he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon, ‘I don’t believe in The Beatles, I just believe in me.’ Good point there. After all, he was the walrus. I could be the walrus but it still wouldn’t change the fact that I don’t own a car!” Ahh, the wisdom of the ’80s movies. They could write a book.

Ûž So you think you know songwriting? How do you feel about folks like Tom Waits, Brian Wilson, Isaac Brock and Robert Smith judging your tunes? This year’s International Songwriting Competition is open now through October 16. Have at it.

Ûž Here’s one to file under “Huh. I didn’t know that but now I can squirrel that away in my vast musical memory”: Jesse Malin writes in his latest update on MySpace about the progress of his new album: “. . . Had Kim from The Muffs sing a haunting melody on a track, repaying the background wo-oh’s me and Danny Sage did 10 years ago on the Muffs cover of “Kids In America” on the ‘Clueless’ soundtrack.”

Listen for yourself:
Kids In America – The Muffs (with Jesse Malin & Danny Sage on BGVs)

Ûž Finally, dude sues for the right to bring his dog (Cheekies. Yes, Cheekies.) to the nude beach with him. Because of a debilitating skin condition and post-traumatic stress disorder, the dog is apparently his only true companion. I think if I saw him and his skin condition with Mr. Cheekies at the nude beach, I might develop some sort of disorder myself. I just shivered.

July 5, 2006

Unreleased Jesse Malin song: “Fallen Angel”

An astute reader sent me a heads-up that Jesse Malin (warbling NYC singer-songwriter-rocker, former frontman for D Generation, longtime pal to Ryan Adams) has posted a previously unreleased song on his MySpace, recorded for The Fine Art of Self-Destruction sessions. Malin combines his fragile and aching voice with a plaintive melody here which builds into a stellar chorus – did I see Ryan Adams and Jesse sing this together in San Francisco in April? Who remembers what they duetted on? It sounded instantly familiar when I heard this warm song with a hint of lonesome country sensibilities.

Fallen Angel – Jesse Malin

Both Jesse’s The Heat album (2004) and The Fine Art of Self-Destruction (2003) are available on eMusic.

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May 11, 2006

New demos from Jesse Malin

These sound fantastic. Jesse Malin has been working on his third studio album (following The Fine Art of Self Destruction and The Heat) for what seems like an eternity. It will someday be released on Adeline Records, Billie Joe Armstrong’s label, and if the sound of these tracks is any indication it will be a stunner (especially “Black Haired Girl” – I could listen to that one on repeat over and over again. It kind of seems like a very pleasing cross between Yorn and Mellencamp to me, on first impression).

Jesse has a unique voice that takes some getting used to — like the first time I heard Neil Young — but once it grows on you, I think you can appreciate his music for the richness it possesses. I saw Jesse open for Ryan Adams a few weeks ago and was impressed. Plus, I chatted with him a bit after his set and he was very heartfelt, very genuine (despite the sinister-sounding roots of his last name). Good traits in anyone.

Black Haired Girl (demo, radio rip) – Jesse Malin

Don’t Let ‘Em Take You Down (demo) – Jesse Malin

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Bio Pic Name: Heather Browne
Location: Colorado, originally by way of California
Giving context to the torrent since 2005.

"I love the relationship that anyone has with music: because there's something in us that is beyond the reach of words, something that eludes and defies our best attempts to spit it out. It's the best part of us, probably, the richest and strangest part..."
—Nick Hornby, Songbook
"Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel."
—Hunter S. Thompson

Mp3s are for sampling purposes, kinda like when they give you the cheese cube at Costco, knowing that you'll often go home with having bought the whole 7 lb. spiced Brie log. They are left up for a limited time. If you LIKE the music, go and support these artists, buy their schwag, go to their concerts, purchase their CDs/records and tell all your friends. Rock on.

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