Eel Men – ‘Are You There God Its Me’ (NFT Records) Jangly jarring guitars over a good melody is always going to be a single to grab the attention. This one is backed by a metronomic robotic backbeat and guitar lick that is part Devo and part Kraftwerk and a spoonful of Buzzcocks for good measure.   There that’s the yardstick to aim for three classic bands thrown into the punk rock melting pot and out pops the Eel Men


Buy Here



Kurt Baker – ‘Keep It Tight’ (Wicked Cool Records) It’s fair to say that this cover of the Single Bullet theory song is held dear by Mr Baker so much so he burnt a cdr of the song from vinyl and ended up covering it here.  Coolest song in the world by underground garage sounds about right. Kurt Baker should be huge I guess those of us in the know will just have to hold on to that secret until the rest of the world catch up with us and Bakers genius.  until then Keep it tight kids

Get it here



Delusions Of Grandeur – ‘Self Titled’ (Self Released)  Lockdown blues got to some Hip Priests and a couple of Bitch Queens and out birthed Delusions Of Grandeur.  A noisy (obviously) chug through four blistering tracks of tunes that if the backyard Babies wanted to get back into the groove they should listen to.  With guitar licks sparking off the wheels of this Punk and Roll beauty as the EP opens with the bashful ‘Drinking My Life Away’  with some gang vocals on the chorus as these gents trade licks.  Sing-a-long drinkathon.  Nice.  ‘Shits Fucked’ is sped-up snarled punk n roll that just about summed up the past 18 months rather nicely.


If you ever loved the really early ‘Get some Action Now’ era Hellacopters and hankered after some Dragons meets a healthy dose of Gluecifer then this is a no-brainer. With a nod to some spicey Motorhead on the closing track which is never a bad place to be.   Excellent EP from top to bottom. Four track 7″ available on gold, white or black vinyl – Buy It Here


Steve Conte – ‘Flyin’ (Wicked Cool Record) with a cool acoustic song Conte is Flyin.  The latest track off the upcoming album, ‘Bronx Cheer’ its a song in the mould of The Faces balladeering meets classic early Black Crowes.  Steve says of ‘Flyin’, “This one goes back to 1994. We jammed on this in my rehearsal studio very organically and I came up with the lyrics later. I did a few demos of it over the years and it never left my consciousness.”  The lyrics focus on perseverance and how, “in the face of adversity, disappointment and trauma, a person of strong will can keep going for their dreams.”  Whilst the track has a wonderful sound from the acoustic to the earthy Drum sound and the snap of the snare it showcases Conte’s vocals really well and the track has a really earthy sound.  It’s all about light and shade it doesn’t always have t be full-tilt rock and roll.  Great tune.   You can pre order the album Here



Billy Idol – ‘The Roadside’ EP (Dark Horse Records) Four tracks of vital idol with opener ‘Rita Hayworth’ with his familiar snarl and curled lip vocal it’s glossy and has that Idol pound on the rhythm and slick gang vocals on the chorus.  What’s not to like?  it is what it is.

Seconds out and the King Rocker cranks up the laid-back acoustic guitar for ‘Bitter Taste’ it’s a reflective side of Idol and one he’s used to good effect on his last couple of records. ‘U Don’t Have To Kiss Me Like That’ sees a pop beat and some female vocals puncturing the wall of sound It’s a big sound and made for the American market and another side of Idol he’s used to great effect throughout his career.   To be fair he could write this stuff in his sleep. Drum machine at the ready as he goes for the reflective cool sound on the EP closer which to be fair is a decent tune and his vocals sound really good but I’d have prefered an album please Billy rather than an EP.


Cutters – ‘Midnight Bus’ (Self Release) A cover of Betty McQuade’s 1961 hit ‘Midnight Bus’ sees Australian Punks give the tune a bloody good tuning to be fair.  There is no question in my mind that the most impressive new records are coming from down under where there seems to be a hell of a lot of great bands currently kicking the shit out of instruments all over the continent.


Cutters are right up there with the finest exports from Oz now get over to Bandcamp and check em out you might just fall in love with these punks.  Their mini lp ‘Australian War Crimes’ is a fuckin belter!  Here



Junkyard – ‘Lifer’ (Acetate Records) ‘Lifer’ backed by ‘Last Of A Dying Breed’ sees these Californian Rockers come out swinging. It’s hard-rocking licks with a thumping great rhythm section what were you expecting? If this was a new AC/DC track people would be hailing it as the second coming.  These guys are veterans of the hard rock scene and still have energy and a pocket full of tunes that cut it.  Never meant to reinvent the wheel just borrow it for the Hog their riding with this as the theme tune for burning rubber on the highway.

Buy Here




The Professionals – ‘Spike Me Baby’ lifted from the new album  ‘SNAFU’ is Tom Spencer throwing his Loyalties tip into the Professionals jar and knocking out the best of both worlds.  Sure it’s not Jonesy but it has his blessing and once you’re over that it’s a really good song and why wouldn’t it be.  Its familiar has a rock-solid beat courtesy of Mr. Cook and a decent melody with some sweet guitar licks to boot.  If you’re wondering yes the album is rather good as well some excellent tunes on offer


Jackson Reid Briggs – ‘Fear/Move’ (Legless Records) Jackson Reid Briggs is back with a 4 track EP of punk/soul belters. Jackson got together with two mates a few days after the initial lockdown in Melbourne, Australia ended in November 2020. Noone except Jackson had heard the tracks yet but they smashed them out in a few hours in a storage unit.  Coming on like a ragged US Bombs its class punk rock n Roll.


From the opener ‘Fear’ through ‘The Chase’ which happens to be the pick of the four on offer here. ‘Move’ is a blast of ‘on the hoof’ punk rock with a swirling keyboard mixing up some great gang vocals and spat out lyrics. ‘Monster’ closes off this EP in grand style with a great thumping beat and chanted chorus with a cool guitar lick and some splendid handclaps.  Fantastic four to be fair and well worth checking out.    Buy Here

Malmös First Boy On The Moon was formed back in 2019 it seems like another age ago now and the band’s spaceman logo seems apt Singer-songwriter Dave Pedroza who is a Huntington Beach California kid who uprooted and ended up in Sweden but stayed true to his alternative punk rock roots sure there’s a very early new wave edge to proceedings with bands like U2 when they started out but the influences reach far and wide. ‘Drown It Out’ eases the listener in gently with a good pop tune that’s well produced but rooted in new wave and alternative stylings.


‘Straight Up With You’ is a sprightly number with a melodic edge and straightforward guitars, bass, and drum set up it’s unfussy and the band lets the song do their talking which is refreshing. Some Placebo in the delivery with the punch of the bass piercing through the walking guitar riff.  There’s enough suss in the songwriting to have a massive appeal in the melody of ‘The Truth’ and the album’s title track.  Sure there is some U2 DNA in there on the melodies but its more than just that and at times they spread their wings and rough the sound up and it makes for a more vibrant less polished sound and that alright with me.


Side one is wrapped up nicely with ‘All Right Already’ as the band strays into some Ryan Hamilton territory and the synth playing the lead is a change that adds texture to proceedings.  The album has nine songs which is a change from bands cramming as many tunes on a record as possible it’s nice to get an old-school record with less than ten songs.  ‘Grim Reaper’ rolls around a throbbing bassline and the guitar sitting behind in the mix is reminding me of something Gary Numan likes to use at times which is never a bad thing.


Initially, this record was due last year but held back for obvious reasons and it’s been worth the wait from the single we first heard in the RPM singles club certainly whetted the appetite for the album.  All you Bunnymen, cure, and early U2 fans should check this out.


Buy FBOTM Here


author: Dom Daley

Remember when the post-Pistols band put together by Paul Cook and Steve Jones returned with the glorious ‘What In The World’, their first new music for 35 years? That was 4 years ago now, and while they have lost former 3 Colours Red guitarist Chris McCormack and bassist Paul Meyers from the line-up along the way, drummer Cook and Jonesy replacement Tom Spencer have kept themselves busy during these crazy times by enlisting everyone’s favourite go-to back up bassist Toshi JC Ogawa to the fold. They have released a trio of lockdown EP’s and recorded a spanking new album entitled ‘SNAFU’ with contributions from the likes of Billy Duffy and Phil Collen.


‘What In The World’ could be classed as a debut album really. With Jonesy only there in spirit (give or take a few guitar licks) and former Loyalties/Yo-Yo’s frontman Tom Spencer at the helm, it was a modern twist on The Professionals of old, yet it still contained a good deal of rock n’ roll swagger, and more importantly some good fucking songs. A handful of tours and festival dates helped established the band as frontrunners and The Professionals took the sound of ‘77 crashing into the 21st century.

So, now it comes to the tricky second album syndrome, and it’s time to see if the boys have the minerals. ‘SNAFU’ is an old army term that stands for ‘situation normal, all fucked up’. This is a term that not only fits with these tumultuous times we live in, but also sums up the dark humour and the tongue-in-cheek lyrical content of this album. Take recent single ‘Spike Me Baby’ for example. A song written about Cookie’s high times after accidently eating some of his daughter’s pot-laced chocolate. With urgent drums, a high energy feel and a radio friendly melody, it’s a surefire winner. Tom’s raspy voice is perfectly matched by some killer gang vocals in a chorus that sticks to the brain like punk rock toffee. And then there’s ‘M’Ashes’  a tale of the time Cookie transported the ashes Of Jonesy’s mother from London to L.A. All delivered in the best possible taste to a pop punk, post-Pistols rock n’ roll soundtrack.


With a top-notch production from go-to guy Dave Draper, these songs straddle a modern, punk rock approach, the style that the likes of the Michael Monroe band and Towers Of London took to heart. But most of all, and probably due to Spencer’s raspy vocals, it’s his former band The Loyalties that come to mind more than anybody else. The cheeky London charm, the low slung riffage and the power house drums of the man who was the backbeat for the Sex Pistols, this is a strong mix ladies and gents, and the songs are up to scratch.

The singles are obvious highlights, but the glorious ‘Never Say Never’ and ‘So Go No’ are full of the sort of punky attitude that will make you keep coming back for more. Elsewhere, ‘The Elegant Art (Of Falling Apart)’ could be a Michael Monroe album cut, the simple chord progression, the killer verse that builds to a memorable and overly cool gang vocal chorus, what’s not to like here? Then there’s ‘Only Human’, a song that has to be a future live favourite. Upbeat and euphoric, with a killer hook you will be repeating long after the song has faded. This is without doubt my favourite tune on the goddamn record.


I don’t think anyone expected The Professionals would be ‘a thing’ after they reunited for a celebratory show 6 years ago. Turns out Paul Cook and Tom Spencer are a great writing partnership, but surely even they couldn’t have imagined they would have two quality albums under their belts 6 years later. ‘SNAFU’ is a quality release that seals the deal for this modern incarnation of The Professionals. Not riding on the past or claiming to reinvent the wheel, Cook and Spencer have crafted 11 honest rock n’ roll songs that sit well in the discography and seal the legacy of the band.


Buy Here

Author: Ben Hughes


The last time I saw Roger Taylor play live was 37 years ago (it was with Queen at Wembley Arena on The Works tour) and he was 35 years old! The fourteen date England and Wales tour he announced in support of his ‘Outsider’ album is also his first solo outing in twenty plus years, and that last time around I still greatly regret not going to see him in Cardiff’s now long-lost Coal Exchange venue.

As a result, when it was announced that Roger would be playing St David’s Hall as part of this intimate (well by Queen’s standards anyway) run of dates, I didn’t really have to think too hard before snapping up my very reasonably priced ticket mid lockdown, not really knowing if tonight would ever really happen. Covid protocols aside though by the time Roger takes to the stage with his band tonight you could almost imagine the last eighteen months hadn’t happened at all. Such are the restorative qualities of live music as the band ease themselves into their two hour set with the title track from Roger’s 1985 album ‘Strange Frontier’.


Promising to play a mix of solo and Queen songs it’s not long before I get to hear my favourite singer in Queen play one of my all-time favourite Queen songs in the shape of ‘Tenement Funster’, a song which unveils Roger’s gravelly vocals in all their glory. Granted he may not have the full range he once possessed but with the band’s secret weapon (Tyler Warren) tucked away behind the drum stool if you close your eyes, you can almost believe it’s 1974 Queen giving us all an early set (sheer) heart attack.


As it stands Roger’s touring band is actually a lot closer to the 2021 Queen (with added Adam Lambert) lineup than you might first think, as the aforementioned Tyler Warren on drums, bassist Neil Fairclough and long term Queen keyboardist Spike Edney are all very much a part of both bands. Add in the unbelievable talents of multi-instrumentalist Tina Hizon and guitarist Christian Mendoza (who at times reminds me of the hugely underrated Robbie Blunt) and you really do have a very special musical unit indeed. The understated tunes from the new album like ‘We’re All Just Trying To Get By’ and ‘Gangsters Are Running This World’ in particular sounding truly wonderful with added Hizon and Mendoza.

It’s of course the prospect of hearing some Queen songs which will have lured many out tonight, and it’s a delight to hear ‘A Kind Of Magic’, ‘Under Pressure’ and ‘These Are The Days Of Our Lives’ all resonating with the audience. However, having glanced at the setlist beforehand (naughty boy) it was the prospect of a mid-set run-through of ‘Rock It (Prime Jive)’ from ‘The Game’ that had really piqued my interest. Pity then that the version aired tonight is the one Warren and Fairclough put together to celebrate Roger’s recent 72nd birthday and is performed minus Taylor and Edney. It’s still a mighty fine version though especially with Warren doing a bang on Freddie Mercury on the vocal intro, plus they more than makeup for any initial disappointment I might have felt with an immense ‘I’m In Love With My Car’ complete with Roger on vocals later on in the set.


Of Roger’s solo tracks ‘Up’ from 2013’s ‘Fun On Earth’, ‘Surrender’ from 1998’s ‘Electric Fire’ and ‘Man On Fire’ from ‘Strange Frontier’ are all given a 2021 makeover and sound astounding as a result, whilst the likes of ‘Absolutely Anything’, ‘Foreign Sands’ and ‘Outsider’ (but oddly no ‘Tides’) all from the new album can’t help me but draw comparisons to latter day David Bowie, each one being a delicate work of art very close to Roger Taylor’s heart.


‘More Kicks’ is one of Outsider’s rare rocking moments and tonight it sounds positively Zeppelin-esque as Taylor takes his place behind the vacant drum kit set up next to Warren for what is a most welcome drum battle, and for once at a gig it’s a drum solo that sees not a single person leaving for a quick comfort break.


There can only be one song to end tonight (no not ‘Drowse’, ‘Fun It’ or ‘Action this Day’ that would have just been too surreal), which is of course ‘Radio Ga Ga’, easily Queen’s most famous Taylor penned song and this track is finally enough to get everyone up out of their seats to partake in the mandatory clap-a-long and thus making the foundations of St David’s Hall shudder for the first time in a wee while.

Encore time gives us a fantastic take on Led Zeppelin’s ‘Rock n Roll’ that has Roger sounding vocally just like a twenty something Robert Plant whilst the version of David Bowie’s ‘Heroes’ which sends us out into the night owes (not unlike ‘Outsider’ itself) a lot to the Thin White Duke’s latter day take on his Berlin period anthem.


I left tonight totally thrilled by what I had just witnessed, and whilst I would have perhaps liked to have heard a track or two from ‘Fun In Space’ or by Roger’s ‘90s side project The Cross this is only a very small gripe during what turned out to be one of the most cathartic gig experiences I’ve had post lockdown. Fantastic stuff!


Author:Johnny Hayward


official deluxe vinyl album re-issue series
Old New Borrowed And Blue
released on limited edition splatter vinyl 
out 15th October 
Order Here
BMG is proud to continue presenting a new series of limited edition splatter vinyl reissues from Slade, with the release of ‘Old New Borrowed And Blue’, on 15th October.
Old New Borrowed And Blue’the second release in the series, will be released on red and blue splatter vinyl. Further releases in this beautifully presented re-issues collection will include; Slade In Flame’  and ‘Slade Alive!’.


Slade’s fourth studio album Old New Borrowed And Blue’was originally released on 15th February 1974, and features the singles ‘My Friend Stan’ and ‘Everyday’. It entered the UK album chart at #1 and is certified Gold by the BPI. The Times retrospectively stated: “This is joyous, unshackled and unpretentious stuff that reminds you how they rattled off six No.1’s.”
Old New Borrowed And Blue’ follows the release of Slade’s third album ‘Slayed?’, the first in the series on splatter vinyl. ‘Slayed?’ features ten songs including Number One single, ‘Mama Weer All Crazee Now’  and ‘Gudbuy T’Jane’ which reached Number two in the charts.
Slade are without doubt one of the most exciting bands to come out of Great Britain and were unstoppable throughout the Seventies becoming one of the biggest bands; releasing six smash hits albums, including three UK Number Ones, a run of 17 consecutive Top 20 singles and their hits provided a soundtrack to the Glam Generation.
To pre-order Old New Borrowed And Blue’ go to: released 15th October
To order ‘Slayed?’ go to:

Been waiting a long time to reacquaint myself with a Jesse Malin live show.  Throughout the pandemic, I tried watching various broadcasts and live streams but, not one single effort caught my imagination and made me set a reminder to tune in except for one; ‘The Fine Art Of Social Distancing’  Jesse Malin is someone who has always been on my musical radar from the moment in the 90s his band D Generation managed to save the decade with their punk rock n roll and when they broke up I went to New York in search of Bellvue and then Jesse went solo and I just couldn’t get enough of it from the 169 EP to the present pandemic Malin seemed to cut through whatever genre he chose I was on board.


I find myself easing back into live surroundings and having taken in a few over the last few weeks I ventured into the Fleece with a minute to spare before the excellent Kris Gruen (sure yes he the son of Bob) I mean if Bob Gruen was my dad I’d be telling everyone and sundry but he didn’t drop that Clang! until well in the set.


Kris was stripped down to just his voice and an acoustic guitar and to be fair it’s an impressive voice to begin with as he regaled us with songs from his new album as well as a couple of choice covers.  You could have heard a pin drop throughout his set as he went about his business.  Sure it was a soulful blend of countrified rock and roll but his take on ‘Bankrobber’ was majestic but his interpretation of the Thunders classic ‘Can’t Put Your Arms Around A Memory’ won me over.  Haunting and memorable as he took ownership in a way I’m sure Thunders would have approved of.  Warm-up or opening act call it what you will Kris Gruen won over a few new fans tonight in Bristol for his style and quality of craft just what the doctor ordered.


Onto Malin and his Guitar, Bass, Drums, and a piano band that was geared up to race through his repertoire picking up a song from here and there like a Magpie fluttering over the shiny songs like pieces of gold and silver and buffing off any cobwebs that might have gathered over the past eighteen months of being left in the box.


With a stunning new album in tow Malin slotted in songs like the blissful ‘Shining Down’ alongside classics like ‘Downliner’ and ‘Wendy’ but its more than that Malin engages with his audience like its a private gathering and only you and his band in the room regaling us with stories he’s gathered on his travels about his songs and the journey he and these tunes have been on.   Opening the set with ‘The Way We Used To Roll’ from the new album and then hitting ‘Backstabbers’ another new one before dopping the earworm that is ‘Downliner’ and then back into the new album with ‘Before You Go’.  Already there was a sense that this was going to be something special and sending out three new songs in the set so early was brave but it’s exactly what we needed and the energy pouring off the stage was huge.


I’m not sure the mains needed turning up but the standout track from ‘New York Before The War’ was a stomper before the shimmering ‘Room 13’ gave us some respite before a top rendition of The Pogues classic ‘Fall From Grace With God’ enabled everyone in the room to get loose and get up to speed because live shows are back baby and seeing Malin move through the audience looking for a bar or vantage point to climb was a beautiful thing.  I love the new record and the Blondie Noo Yawk disco beat of ‘A Little Death’ fitted in nicely showing another side of Jesse’s songwriting masterclass.

To be fair before we hit the encore Malin had given up seven new songs throughout the set and whilst I could go on he didn’t play this or that and nothing from ‘The Heat’ and only a pair off the debut solo album it was one of “Those” nights where everything seemed to be perfect and whilst it looked effortless and the band just hit their groove I’m sure it isn’t quite that easy.  It seemed apt that Jesse offered up his version of ‘Sway’ to Charlie Watts it was his parting shot of the excellent hymn for travellers from his new album ‘St Christopher’ seemed to have always been in the set and with Kris Gruen joining for some team spirit and vocal aid it was the parting gift of The Clash classic ‘Rudie Can’t Fail’ that sent us off into the cold Bristol night knowing we’d just seen a fantastic set from a unique talent and one of the best songwriters out there.

You can get so far with a little PMA and a pocketful of dreams but you still need the tunes and Jesse Malin has got a whole fuckin’ suitcase full of em and more the only regret was he didn’t have some Noo Yawk saxophone with him now that would have been something, maybe next time, please. Hopefully, with a little PMA, it won’t be so long before we can do this all over again. I can’t remember almost two hours of live music passing so quickly and leaving me wanting more.  Just what live shows should do. Brilliant simply brilliant.


Author: Dom Daley


Sad And Beautiful World Review Here

Black Francis 
releases 9 CD box set 
out 5th November 2021
includes 40 page booklet & music not available on CD before
Pre order Here

Edsel is proud to present 07-11, a new collection of recordings by legendary American singer-songwriter Black Francis. Best known as the frontman of iconic alternative rock band Pixies, Black Francis’ music has inspired generations of musicians from Nirvana to Radiohead. Compiled with the assistance of Black Francis himself, 07-11, released on 5 November ,  gathers together eight albums from one of the most prolific periods of his career.
“This period of recordings marks a time when I felt free to write albums, or bodies of work, that were organised under the banner of a theme or unified concept… Some of the stories are incomplete or they mutate into each other. It is not always beginning, middle, and end with a moral (thank the gods!) Sometimes they are just flashes of the unexplained. ” – Black Francis.


This expansive new boxset features 129 tracks across nine CDs including five studio albums – ‘Bluefinger’ (2007), ‘Sv n F ng rs’ (2008), ‘The Golem’ (2010), ‘NonStopErotik’ (2010), and ‘Paley & Francis’ (2011). Plus, ‘Abbabubba’, a collection of B-sides, rarities and remixes, as well as two live albums ‘Live In Nijmegen’ and ‘Live At The Hotel Utah Saloon’ (which is released on CD for the very first time).

All eight albums have been newly remastered for this release by Phil Kinrade at Alchemy Mastering at AIR.


Also includes a 40-page companion booklet featuring exclusive new artwork, along with an introduction and album-by-album liner notes by Black Francis himself.


To pre order, the 07-11 box set go Here

Rock n Roll doesn’t have to be groundbreaking nor does it have to be complicated.  Sometimes it can be a cathartic experience to hear a pair of purists just writing beautiful pop songs and having the skill and craft to articulate that through primarily bass, drums, and vocals.  Ladies & Gentlemen I give you The Fabulous Courettes starring Flavia & Martin Couri.

Sure it’s steeped in 60s pop and the look is retro but the production is here and now and this sound is timeless.  ‘Want You Like A Cigarette’ and ‘I Can Hardly Wait’ might open up this latest offering but I’m in love with ‘Hey Boy’ and its backbeat and lush vocals it’s supreme retro Rock and Roll for sure but, it’s always a blast to hear it done this well.


The speakers rattles as ‘R.I.N.G.O’ pays tribute to..Mr Starkey of course. with a cheeky grin and a slink of the snake hips, this is a hoot. These cats really do understand their roots and have got the chops to pull it off without the faintest hint of irony or cabaret. Sure it sounds like you’ve heard it all before but who cares this doo wap retro garage vibe is killer and The Courettes are on top of their game and they know it.  Damaged goods don’t sign rubbish and like a seal of approval they’ve reissued the band’s first two records as well such is the faith in this band.


C’mon, how damn good is ‘Trash Can Honey’?  Coming on like a drug-free Cramps it’s got to put a smile on the listener’s face.  Then bring in the Garagetastic ‘Hop The Twig’,  whatever the fuck that is I want to give it a try like right now.

Fourteen songs are flying by and the variety is great.  ‘Misfits & Freaks’ is excellent with so much texture coming out of the pair whilst it’s not the Spector wall of fuzz it’s tempered and just enough dirt is let in making for a great sound and the spooktacular keyboard solo is a blast! Before they bow out they really turn up the fuzz on the excellent ‘Edge Of My Nerves’ but wait you knew it was coming – The finale is ‘Cry Cry Cry’ and a mirror ball dance-off is ushered in and the indisputable winner of the rosette for the 60s influenced garage rock and roll goes to The Courettes who deliver an epic and comforting sound that is absolutely nailed on as the best in its field for 2021. Now grab your partner and shake those snake hips one more time take it away Flavia & Martin.


Buy Here

Author: Dom Daley

Written and recorded during the lost year of 2020, through times of fear, anxiety and isolation, to a background of sirens, street protests and impending doom, ‘Sad And Beautiful World’ is Jesse Malin’s 9th studio album. A follow up to the 2019 critically acclaimed album ‘Sunset Kids’, this 17-track double album was recorded sporadically by Jesse in his native New York at Flux Studios, with his touring band of 10 plus years, in-between weekly livestream shows from The Bowery.


‘Sad And Beautiful World’ is a double album spilt into two halves. First, we have the more mellow ‘roots rock’ of disc/record 1, followed by the slightly more upbeat ‘radical’ disc/record 2. Jesse is a troubadour who sings songs and tells stories about what he knows and what he experiences, and this album is not so much a Covid record, as an observation of feelings, fears and searching for redemption. Overall, it comes across as a record filled with hope in troubled times.


From the laid-back Americana of opener ‘Greener Pastures’ to the closing celebratory and euphoric ‘Saint Christopher’, out illustrious host takes us on a journey, a trip through his mind if you will.


To be honest the themes of the two records blur into one with not much to distinguish between roots and radical, and while this whole double album would fit snugly on one CD (like record companies insisted sometime in the 90’s), Jesse is old school and releases albums like his heroes, so we’ll go with the double album format. The single ‘State Of The Art’ for example is as upbeat as you like, it hits like a statement of intent, from that piano intro to the killer, familiar pop melody that builds to a classic Malin chorus, it’s up there with Billy Joel and Springsteen as far as I’m concerned, and don’t take that statement lightly.


If you’re a fan, you will probably be aware of several of these tunes already, as there have been quite a few singles in the past 12 months. From the retrospective ‘The Way We Used To Roll’ to the Lou Reed groove of ‘Backstabbers’, onto the heartfelt, rootsy balladry of ‘Tall Black Horses’, they all showcase the diversity and depth of a singer/songwriter at the top of his game.


For me, there were two songs that stood out from the crowd in the lead-up to the release, and after a dozen play-throughs of this album they still come out trumps. ‘Todd Youth’ is a gloriously heartfelt tribute to a fallen friend, featuring pumping NYC street bass, handclaps, and HR from Bad Brains. The juxtaposition of sad subject matter and an upbeat, radio-friendly melody makes for a tune that imbeds itself deep in the soul. Jesse also pays tribute to another fallen hero/influence by covering Tom Petty’s ‘Crawling Back To You’, a lesser-known but highly sentimental trip from his 1994 solo album ‘Wildflowers’. The bare-bones recording with acoustics, piano, and that unmistakable Malin NY drawl, its melancholic, starkly beautiful, and as much an album highlight here as the original was in its initial release.


Come to think of it, the ghost of Tom Petty rears his head throughout ‘Sad And Beautiful World’. The country twang and heartfelt feel of ‘Lost Forever’ is as Tom Petty as you can get. But there’s also nods to another icon David Bowie in his 80’s heyday on the likes of ‘Before You Go’ and ‘A Little Death’. Sometimes it’s just in the bassline or the way he phrases certain things, just listen and you’ll hear it, trust me.


For me, ‘Sad And Beautiful World’ harks back to Jesse’s debut album ‘The Fine Art Of Self Destruction’ that came out nearly 20 years ago. The mark of a great songwriter is the ability to take you on a lyrical and melodic journey, and the fact that Jesse still has the power to create emotional works of art filled with hope, optimism and heartbreak in equal measures is a testament to his years on the road and his ability to express and keep it real. An essential purchase for all you rastas, as Jesse would say.

Buy here

Author: Ben Hughes

The Cutthroat Brothers & Mike Watt – “Been Away” Hound Gawd! Records.

The preorder is Here

from their number one record.

finally what about some Humanists featuring Rides Mark Gardener. Taken from Humanist’s eponymous debut album out now. Buy on CD / LP / Digital:

Humanist live dates 2021:

OCT 19 – Birmingham, United Kingdom

OCT 20 – Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom

OCT 21 – Glasgow, United Kingdom

OCT 22 – Sheffield, United Kingdom

OCT 23 – Manchester, United Kingdom

OCT 25 – Brighton, United Kingdom

OCT 26 – London, United Kingdom

Get tickets from:


Humanist is the Music of Rob Marshall featuring the vocals of Mark Lanegan (Queens Of The Stone Age), Dave Gahan (Depeche Mode), Mark Gardener (Ride), Carl Hancock Rux (David Holmes, Portishead), John Robb (The Membranes), Joel Cadbury (UNKLE), Ilse Maria, Ron Sexsmith and Jim Jones (The Jim Jones Revue, Thee Hypnotics).