Once the brooding frontman for New York glam punks D-Generation, Jesse Malin
pulled the ultimate transformation in 2003. The release of a Ryan Adams-produced alt-country album, The Fine Art of Self-Destruction
, established him as an embittered solo artist, if not Adams' protégé. That the two artists are friends is no wonder. Both specialize in heartbreaking melodies and lyrics that would be equally riveting slurred in the darkest corner of a bar. Malin managed to become even more pensive than usual on last year's The Heat
. Thick-voiced and surly, Malin there was reminiscent of Paul Westerberg, spouting autobiographical accounts of romance gone awry and growing up punk. Malin wisely rises above the depressed state of his records in concert, and his between-song stories are as funny as his songs are sad.