The Fine Art of Self Destruction

Those who know the gruff-voiced Jesse Malin from his days fronting punk-styled downtown New York rockers D Generation may be surprised by this rootsy gem.

Those who know the gruff-voiced Jesse Malin from his days fronting punk-styled downtown New York rockers D Generation may be surprised by this rootsy gem. But they and others should take note: The Fine Art of Self Destruction is certain to be one of the best discs of 2003. It may be early, but expect to see Malin on top 10 lists this time next year. Already enjoying critical praise in the U.K.—where it was released last year—this, Malin's solo bow, recalls a Petty riff here, a Bruce lyric there, while spinning tales of New York life (on the album's best track, "Riding on the Subway," he sings of an unspoken love born in the NYC underground). The set's sure to be a hit with fans of Ryan Adams, who helmed the record. And, after hearing this set, it's tough to figure who influences whom more. The first gift of 2003.—WO