‘Backstabbers’ and the B-side ’Crawling Back to You’ (Tom Petty) were released digitally and as a limited 7” on Little Steven’s Wicked Cool Records.
‘Backstabbers’ is the first song from Jesse’s upcoming new album ‘Lust for Love’, planned for early 2021. Recorded during the ’Sunset’ Kids’ session, the song is produced by Lucinda Williams and Tom Overby. Of the song Malin says: “the story is pretty much coming of age, getting out of your small town, and coming into the city searching for something new.”
’The Fine Art of Self Distancing’ on Youtube every Saturday. Rolling Stone called it the best-streamed performance of the stay – at – home era. – Please take a look Here and when you have the time – check out his previous efforts. Rolling Stone just happens to be right here folks.
So, you’re stuck inside twiddling your thumbs, you’ve watched everything on Netflix and eaten all the banana bread. What’s even worse is that Record Store Day has been postponed and you have some surplus cash to spend on records.
Fear not music lovers, for we at RPM have scoured the Interweb for our pick of the coolest EP’s around (and a few 7 inchers and digital delights for good measure). So what are you waiting for? Get reading, hit those links and panic buy like there’s no tomorrow!
Johnny Jetson – ‘Love Me For My Car’ / ‘Knocked Out’ (Minnie Apple Records) These are the first singles off the upcoming album ‘Make Your Move’ on Minnie-Apple Records from Johnny Jetson. If you’re wondering where he’s been then don’t he’s back in the saddle and ripping it up with a new record and music that bears his heart and soul and the former Tattooed Millionaire and Space Age Playboy might like to blow his own trumpet with his past achievements but in the here and now Has Jetson got the chops? does he cut the mustard? Hell yeah! Kids fear not Jetson has got the swagger and doesn’t stray far from his roots, ‘Love Me For My Car’ is full of the spirit of 70s glam Bolan style you can imagine him sliding on his knees to play the solo and its got handclaps so what’s not to like? as for ‘Knocked Out’ its a tougher beast with some street-tough rock and roll motoring along. ‘Make Your Move’ album is reviewed soon on RPM and fans of scuzzy Dirty Rock and Roll won’t be disappointed Jetson delivers the good – Simple as that! Facebook / Bandcamp / Twitter / Spotify / Youtube (Author: DD)
The Hÿss – ‘Extraterrestrial’ (Self Release) released through their own Bandcamp page you can stream the title track here: Bandcamp They take on some spooktacular topics like aliens and UFO’s which is a bit of a giveaway from the artwork but it does contain five tunes of the fuzzy Stoner variety. At times heavy as fuck and others quite psychedelic. I do like ‘Disco Frankenstein’ but could live without the keyboards swirling. They hit the heavy groove on ‘In Shadows’ and when it gets going its got some good energy. The guitars are turned up for the last two tunes as they get right into their groove and rock more metallic than Stoner if I’m being honest but it’s not a bad introduction and I’m sure post-pandemic hearing these in a crowded room would be much more appealing. Facebook / Instagram
The Urban Voodoo Machine – ‘Living In Fear’ (Gypsy Hotel Records) Always with their finger on the pulse UVM hit the nail on the head once again and like some Bop n stroll gypsy rockin’ Nostradamus Paul – Ronney Angel penned this bad boy before Covid – 19 was even a thing and it was meant in an ideal world to come out to coincide with some tour dates but this not being an ideal world it is what it is. Regardless, it’s a banger all ragged rock and roll ‘Living In Fear’ is another prime slice of life the Urban Voodoo Machine way with astute observations of how the worlds gone wrong with its references to recent Great British scandals like Windrush (“they’re shipping them back”) and Grenfell (“it’s hard to sleep in a plastic tower”). But now with the current climate, bandleader Paul-Ronney Angel says of the release “Living in fear . . . wow, never in my wildest imagination did I expect to live through something like this – talking about literally the whole world LIVING IN FEAR!” He ain’t wrong kids you should listen to him. Check em out on Facebook
Hands Off Gretel – ‘The Angry EP’ (Puke Pop Records) You’ve probably read the reviews and the comparisons lauded on Barnsley based grunge rockers Hands Off Gretel. A glorious, day-glo hot pot of riot grrl goodness, everyone from L7, Hole and even a ‘punk rock Pink’ has been referenced in regards to this four piece, and rightly so. Last year’s sophomore album ‘I Want The World’ exceeded all expectations, and following keyboard warriors ongoing online hate aimed at outspoken singer Lauren Tate, and her ongoing campaign to bring awareness to the way women are treated at gigs, (that includes performers as well as punters, so good for her!) they have had publicity in all the right places for all the wrong reasons.
But Hands Off Gretel are the real deal and this three track blast of angst-driven noise only helps to hit the message home. Opener ‘She Thinks She’s Punk Rock n Roll’ is a live favourite that has been crying out for the recorded treatment for a while now. A deliriously catchy hook, schizophrenic vocal delivery and pure, raw power make this an essential listen in 2020. Spiky, guitar-driven goodness.
‘Don’t Touch’ is all skulking bass, buzzsaw guitars and cool-as-you-like vocal interplay. The 90’s riot grrl influences to the fore and maybe more edginess than the band have shown up until now.
On ‘Bigger Than Me’ Sean Bonn’s grunge influenced guitars marry perfectly with Lauren’s sultry vocals, before breaking into a sludge-driven monster that is raw and untamed.
While it lacks the instant melodies of their previous singles, ‘The Angry EP’ makes up for it with sheer unadulterated, angry punk rock power. Clocking in at just under 10 minutes, ‘The Angry EP’ is a short, sharp shock, a middle finger raised to the naysayers, from one of the most colourful and exciting bands on the UK club circuit right now. The perfect cure for teenage angst if you ask me. Facebook
Saint Agnes – ‘The Family Strange’ (Death Or Glory Gang Records) Talking of teenage angst leads us nicely onto Saint Agnes, who follow up the release of their 2019 debut album ‘Welcome To Silvertown’ with an EP that could be the soundtrack for outcasts and degenerates the world over.
Lead by singer Kitty Austin and guitarist Jon Tuffnell, Saint Agnes claim “murderous sibling rivalry and wild rebellion” and with ‘The Family Strange’ they go a long way to shake the Dead Weather comparisons.‘Daughter Of Lucifer’ opens, all break beats, fat, fuzzy guitars and chanting vocals. Dark, sinister and a real slap in the face. Kitty’s “this is my family” refrain delivered with attitude. There’s a ‘Firestarter’ quality to this track, as in its pretty intense.
‘And They All Fall Down’ is like Gwen Stefani having a knife fight with Jack White. Sultry vocals build with the ‘I got a bigger gang than you’ refrain, delivered with a cocksure arrogance, in a good way. Playground chants, helium-induced almost rapped vocals, this is a killer tune that sees the band reach new levels, make no mistake. ‘Brother’ mixes up modern beats, scratchy, repetitive guitars and crazy ass vocals. But it’s ‘The Meanest Little Kid In Town’ that is the curve ball here. Swathes of hammond and electronic, hushed, effect-ridden vocals take it into Billie Eilish meets Garbage territory. This is dark pop music, and it works, it works really well.
Saint Agnes claim to like Satan, witches, B movies and leather. They look cool and the videos back it up. In their heads they exist in a Russ Meyers/Tarantino alternative reality. But in reality they come from the night-time, neon city wasteland we call London town and they sound like a gang ready to take on the world. Facebook
The Future Shape Of Sound – ‘It’s Gone All Wrong – Live EP’ (Gypsy Hotel Records) London based collective The Future Shape Of Sound deliver a live EP to soothe our isolated souls and remind us what we are missing. Lead by Captain Future (aka Alex McGowan) and a host of cool cats, their heady mix of primitive, gospel-tinged blues is perfect for the live sweaty venues (remember those?).
“It’s all gone wrong!” shouts Captain Future as he leads his band into opener ‘Gone All Wrong’. The lead vocals of the newest diva on the block Debbralee Wells steal the show on these choice cuts from their debut long player ‘Shakedown Gospel’. Replacing the departed Sister Cookie was going to be no easy feat, but she takes it in her stride, sharing the mic with Fay Francis.
The captain incites crowd interaction as the band blast into a high energy, gospel-tinged ‘Rise Up’, the full 3 piece backing harmonies that take us to church. Then, the groove heavy ‘Number One’ skulks along, with female vocals it sounds like a completely different beast to the album version.
Closer ‘Toe The Line’ goes a long way to capture the feel of a high energy rock ‘n’ soul show.
If you are missing your live music fix, if you desire to expel more energy than a walk around the block will suffice, then turn the volume up, hit play and get transported to a sweaty night in London town. You can literally feel the sweat, taste the whiskey and get up and dance to the sound of live rock ‘n’ roll music like they used to do back before Coronavirus changed the world as we know it. Dance like no one’s watching…The captain insists! Facebook
Jaeko – ‘How You Living?’ (self-released) Jaeko may be an unfamiliar name to most, but this young chap happens to be the eldest offspring of a certain Ginger Wildheart. Following on from his bands Alive With Eyes and JAW$, Jake has re branded himself as a solo artist going by the name of Jaeko.
Don’t expect a baby Wildhearts here, the sound of Jaeko is a more leftfield, sound of the streets. New single ‘How You Living?’ is a funky, punky trip full of gang vocals and guitars. Coming on like a Rage against Sugar Ray or something, but lacking the full power of either. It’s decent for sure, but nowhere near as good as his previous release ‘Cold Dark Killer’, a perfect mix of Bloc Party and Jamie T, with the added rawness and attitude that neither of those named artists posses.
Again, ‘Sometimes’ is a strong track, radio friendly and cinematic. Jake’s vocals a perfect match. Elsewhere, ‘Colder Than The Sea’ shifts between cool bass and noisy guitar breaks with vocals that show a confidence and maturity.
I’m sure if Ginger gave his son any advice it was to do what you want to do, be your own man and not to bow to what you think people expect of you, and I reckon Jaeko is proof of just that.
Jay Allen And The Archcriminals – ‘Little Daggers’ (Rum Bar Records) Now we head over the pond to the ever cool Rum Bar Records for the new EP from Boston garage punks Jay Allen and The Archcriminals. If you know Run Bar, you know what you’re gonna get here. ‘Little Daggers’ opens with a dirty, low slung riff and strung out vocals. This is the sound of rock ‘n’ roll that resides on the street and in the bars. Dirty and dangerous, coming on like The Dictators meets Uncle Sam.
‘Beautiful Chaos’ is more commercial pop/punk with cool backing harmonies, bouncy yet still raw and edgy. Jay Allen’s vocals cut through nicely in ‘Big Lie’, a definite Replacements vibe going on here which is always a bonus.
Hit the link to download this cool EP for free, that‘s no money whatsoever for some cool new sounds! What do you have to lose? Facebook
Jesse Malin – ‘Backstabbers’ (Wicked Cool Records) Recorded during the sessions for last year’s critically acclaimed ‘Sunset Kids’ album, ‘Backstabbers’ is the new single from our favourite New York troubadour Jesse Malin. The introspective, upbeat tune follows the same path as ‘Meet Me At The End Of The World’. It’s an autobiographical tale of leaving a small town for the big lights of the city, searching for something. Lucinda Williams and Tom Overby’s warm production bring out the best out of Jesse’s songwriting yet again.
Sweet acoustic guitar, keys and lush vocals make the added cover of Tom Petty’s ‘Crawling Back To You’ as the b side an essential purchase. The lyrics are delivered with the sentiment I imagine they were written with. If you don’t feel the goosebumps rise, you must be dead inside.
Jesse can currently be seen every Saturday night hosting ‘The Fine Art Of Self- Distancing’, playing songs and telling stories from his apartment in New York. If you’re a lover of live rock ‘n’ roll music, it’s the best thing on the internet right now, and this single is the perfect addition. Facebook
Alvin Gibbs And the Disobedient Servants – ‘History EP’ (Time & Matter Records) Following last year’s critically acclaimed ‘Your Disobedient Servant’ album, UK Subs bassist Alvin Gibbs returns with a new four track EP spilt over two 7 inchers. Recorded at Perry Vale studios in South London last year with ex-Vibrators bassist Pat Collier co-producing, Gibbs is ably assisted by fellow Subs drummer Jamie Oliver and Ruts DC guitar slinger Leigh Heggarty.
Ringing guitar chords introduce first track ‘History’ before Gibbs graces us with his low slung bass rumble and Iggy-like tones. A gang vocal chorus and sneering lead vocals seal the deal and its business as usual. There’s 40 years of punk rock history in every breath ladies and gentlemen.
The punk rock intensity of the rhythm sections day job comes through in ‘Pavlovian’, the overly cool ‘If Only’ sees the singer channel his inner Dave Vanian, as Heggerty’s high speed power chords match the frantic beats.
Haggerty then takes lead vocals for his self-penned ‘Bad About You’. A power pop melody shines through and there’s a cool little guitar hook going on.
With a handful of songs coming on like ‘Instinct’ era Iggy, it’s a no brainer what you need to do next right? This EP is available to pre order right now as a double 7” pack, one white and one black, housed in a lavish gatefold sleeve with artwork from ex-The Adverts man Gaye Black. Facebook
Ken Fox & Knock You Out – ‘S/T’ (Rum Bar Records) Yet another little gem from the Rum Bar roster is this new mini album from The Fleshtones bassist Ken Fox. His latest single is a blistering cover of The Pink Fairies classic ‘Do It’ which can be found smack bang in the middle of this recently released 5 track blast of garage rock goodness.
Lead track ‘One Less Step’ is a radio friendly single, full of power pop chops and handclaps. If you dig the sound of The Fleshtones or The Plimsouls, you won’t go far wrong with this record.
New single ‘Do It’ is a cover of the Pink Fairies classic released back in 1971 I believe. This version stays true to the garage rock roots, “It’s rock n roll!” shouts the singer in between the “d-d-d-d-do it!” stutterin’ goodness. A nice wah-wah infused guitar solo and cool gang vocals give it punk rock credentials. Yeah, it’s better than the Rollins Band version, fair play.
‘Love Is The Grave’ is a groover that could get the dead dancing. So instant and catchy you would swear it’s a cover…it’s not. A great, upbeat melody and a catchy chorus will remind us all that good times are just around the corner, it’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face. As is closer ‘Stranded (In The Heat). A full horn section, handclaps and a nice Thunders-esque low slung transport the listener to 70’s New York, which is a good way to bow out.
The BD3 – ‘Snowfake/Sypharus’ (Self-released) Going pretty much full circle, we end where we began in North Yorkshire. The BD3 are Yorkshire’s very own Peaky Binders, a trio of ne’er do wells with beards, tattoos and thrift store suits who deal in dark, punky rock ‘n’ roll. Led by the vivacious Ed Stones, they follow up last year’s ‘The Sick Of It’ 7 incher with a new double A side single.
Recorded in Keighley and mixed by legendary producer Dave Draper, these two tracks follow the same rock ‘n’ roll path The BD3 have been travelling for many years. Coming on like The Damned meets The Cramps with a good dose of The Blockheads thrown in for good measure. Clever lyrical interplay and a cool, dark punky vibe make ‘Snowfake’ a song of our times. Good use of space and fiery vocals delivered with intensity. “I don’t wanna live forever” sings our man Ed, as a dampened riff surges and drums crash around him.
‘Sypharus’ marries the dark, intensity of Joy Division with the craziness of The Cramps. Ed’s psycho ward vocals wail over fuzzy guitars and urgent beats that’ll make you either want to dance like no one’s watching or bang your head against the wall, making this a song that begs for the repeat button. Facebook
Well, these are strange times and Rock and Roll won’t be clamped down even if we are. Thanks to the magic of this here interweb we can still get our mitts on new music (gloved up of course) first up on this playlist is a right banger from Noo Yawk Citys Wyldlife . It’s recently been reviewed on RPM and I happen to agree with Ben when he claimed it could be a contender for record of the year. We have added ‘Sacre Bleu’ to our banging playlist.
Next up is a band from Sweden called Dictator Ship and Fraser covered this one and ‘Your Favourite’ is a great slice of scandiRock with ‘Eat The Poor’ making the cut in our Playlist.
Australia is quickly becoming the epicentre of Global Garage Rock and you sure can add The Chats to that list of fine Australian bands and with their recent record ‘High Risk Behaviour’ hitting the shelves we’ve included ‘ The Kids Need Guns’ to our playlist with its classic DC early days rawness and their snotty lyrics The Chats rightly are causing a stir around this globe all of their own.
It’s not all snotty records this month we did have some offerings from the Classic Rock and Grunge crossover of Buffalo Summer so included the excellent ‘Hit The Ground Running’ taken off their recently released album ‘Desolation Blue’ with some fine cool slide on the otherwise beefy riffs it’s a real tour de force from Soth Wales on this new album.
It might have been a lifetime ago that The Psychedelic Furs last released a new album but the wait is over and Made Of Rain is almost upon us. We’ve included the first single taken from the record ‘You’ll Be Mine’.
Naked Six have a new album out and the lead track off that album is ’21st Century Brawl’ and that makes our playlist with its jarring poke before the album kicks off with some great tunes. Well worth investigating so let this opener suck you in but don’t forget to buckle up.
Ben found his stereo working overtime as The City Kids released ‘Things That Never Were’ so we’ve added ‘You Get Nothing’ To our playlist.
I know a girl, a girl called Party, Party Girl. Bono sang that but the Dahlmanns sing ‘Party Girl’ which was released as part of a split with Tommy & The Rockets on Beluga Records a classic castanets clacking slice of power pop with saxophone and New Wave approved piano.
Then Comes Silence who we include ‘Devils’ from their most excellent ‘Machines’ album that was recently reviewed with some dark Goth undertones this has been on heavy rotation around some RPM circles as the corpse paint went on and certain writers were only venturing out after dark with this on their playlists. Get on it kids.
If a bit of Goth isn’t your thang then why not grow out those sidies and some facial hair and get on down with Rookie. We’ve got ourselves a ‘One Way Ticket’ to listen to this great playlist and ride out this Global pandemic.
As well as some awesome reviews April sees us bring some news that bands push out so why not include some of the movers and shakers who are busy this month either re arranging tours or putting the final touches on new releases. How about some Rock with American Jetset? ‘Gold & Nines’ is classic cock rock n roll so it makes the cut. Our old friend Jizzy Pearl also announced that he has signed a new deal with Golden Robot Records so expect some new music and live shows soon. We head back to when he did the album ‘Just A Boy’ and include the cracker ‘Do You Wanna Get High’.
With everybody with a guitar and camera phone shooting home shows we have a few suggestions of who you could check out starting with Rich Ragany & The Digressions who bring ‘Later Than It Is’ to our playlist off the excellent debut album and rumour has it that recording has begun for the follow up which commenced before this lockdown but be sure we’ll bring you the news as and when.
Another artist smashing the numbers watching his home broadcast is Mike Peters with his ‘Big Night In’ I’ve not tuned in yet but rest assured I will. Heres one from his recent output ’13 Dead Raindeers’. Another live streamer is Jesse Malin who we also interviewed recently and who has a brand new single out sadly it’s not on this service yet so make do with a cut off his last album ‘Chemical Heart’.
There’s fifteen reasons to stay in and have RPM Playlist be your companion and while away the hours playing some quality rock and roll . Go on a journey of discovery and see where it takes you as you avoid the rocks on the choppy water of Rock and Roll 2020.
New York’s finest troubadour Jesse Malin has been on the road touring his critically acclaimed new album ‘Sunset Kids’ since last summer. We caught up with him on his UK tour last month prior to a sold out show in Leeds to discuss punk rock beginnings, songwriting influences and hanging about in Dublin with Johnny Depp and Bono.
This interview was conducted on March 4th, prior to lockdown. At the time, Jesse had two more tours to the UK pencilled in for 2020. While we hope those will be rescheduled at some time in the future, for now this could be the last tour related interview you read for some time. Enjoy.
RPM: Hey there Jesse, welcome back to Leeds. Your new album ‘Sunset Kids’ came out late last year, and it’s your 8th solo album I believe?
Jesse: I guess around that yeah, if you don’t count the live and the covers record, so yeah something like that.
RPM: And you collaborated with Lucinda Williams on this album?
Jesse: Yeah, she produced it along with her husband Tom Overby and we made it in California and New York. We’ve been friends for a long time and it turned out to be a great experience making a record with her. I had an instinct that she would have a great feel in the studio and she’s great with storytelling and just being a friend. But also, being a fan made me wanna, you know, step up my game. I think the band I have came through and we just had a really great time making the record. It was one of those records where we recorded 20 plus songs and narrowed it down to 14, which is still a lot, but you know I’m real proud of this one
RPM: Yeah, there is just something about this album; it seems to be the right album at the right time. There was a lot of personal tragedies leading up to and during the recording of ‘Sunset Kids’. Can you elaborate?
Jesse: Yeah, it was a heavy time of death and loss. Life is for the living and I don’t wanna be all bummed out, you know, “woe is me”. But yeah, one of the engineers who started the record with us; David Bianco, who did Tom Petty’s ‘Wild Flowers’ and Bob Dylan and Frank Black. But he also did D Generation my first band, so there’s history there, He had a stroke in the middle of the record, and then my Dad passed away right before we finished. Also, Todd Youth, who played with me in D Generation and St Mark’s Social. Inside the album we dedicate the record to those people we lost. So it was one of those crazy runs when all this was happening, but despite all that, going through heavy times, the best thing to do is play music and be around people you love. We started the record around Christmas time, we were in the studio in LA, no snow or cold, it was kinda surreal. But me and Lucinda kinda got the holiday blues, so we had the mindset to work through that.
RPM: I think tragedy and tough times brings out the best in a songwriter, wouldn’t you agree?
JM: Yeah, well we went out to see her (Lucinda) open for Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers in L.A., which turned out to be his last gig. We didn’t know it was going to be his last gig, nobody did. And we met with her the next night over dinner and said we wanted to do this album and she and her husband seemed to be into it. We started to make plans, but a week later it was the Vegas shooting and the same day Tom Petty died, so everything ground to a halt.
I mean, I didn’t know him, but witnessing that show really impacted on some of the writing on songs like ‘Shining Down’. So we started working on it in December when we could meet in-between her touring schedule and my touring schedule. We would sit around in her kitchen and I would show her lyrics or they would come to me and sit in my apartment. And every time we would go away from each other something else would happen and I’d write a few more songs. Like I went to Shane MacGowan’s 60th birthday to sing, and I came back and wrote a song (‘Shane’) about how weird it was to be the strange guy standing next to Johnny Depp and Bono and Nick Cave, and being in this country pub for like 3 days.
RPM: Going back to songwriting, I read you take yourself away to hotel rooms to write in isolation, is that a regular thing?
Jesse: Well, I was living in L.A. for a little bit and I’m not a big L.A. guy. But it was a nice change this time and it felt good, we were staying right near Sunset Boulevard actually. But I like to be in places that are not my usual place to write, not where you might do your usual routine in your apartment. So you kinda have a place that’s a blank canvas, a transient place. You get a lot of those on the road because every night we are somewhere different. We’ve been touring this record a lot. Since August we’ve been on the road non-stop.
RPM: And the reception has been good on the road?
Jesse: Things have been growing. These aren’t the biggest rooms, but most are sold out. In the States this record seems to connect more. Sometimes I’m bigger in the UK or Europe than America, but this record had a lot of support from some magazines and press, and people seem to know the words more. I notice that in the crowd every night, that’s always a funny thing. You write a song in your little room somewhere and people sing the words in other places. The songs take on another life when you take then in front of a crowd. It’s one thing to say something privately, but then say it in public, you kinda see if it rings true or if you’re full of shit or not.
RPM: A lot of our readers will know you from your days fronting D Generation. Do people in the audience still shout for you to play those old songs?
Jesse: In certain areas, yes. Some places they don’t know that band and others there will be guys with dark black hair and leather jackets yelling out for a D Generation song. You know, D Generation is something I am not ashamed of. I’m proud of those records and I loved working with those guys, you know… we were a gang. But I’ve been doing this for so much longer than I did that. I’ve had this band, these cats, for a bunch of years now.
RPM: It seems a lot of punk artists go down the singer/songwriter or Americana route. Do you think there a connection between the two?
Jesse: I think there is a connection. It’s the same 3 chords, a message, sad lyrics and a lot of fuckin’ attitude. It might just be louder through a Marshall amp with a punk band. But with an acoustic guitar, there is this thing. Its street music, its folk music…Woody Guthrie, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams… You know, I think they were all pretty punk rock. As well as Neil Young, who I think is a great bridge to that, as well as Joe Strummer, even The Clash had this folky edge to it. But for me personally, I always liked songs that painted pictures, told stories. Springsteen’s ‘Nebraska’ was always a great influence on me wanting to play solo and Billy Bragg’s records, as well as Elvis Costello. It’s great to hear Frank Turner, Brian Fallon, Chuck Ragan, all these great people who have a great punk spirit but also have a great craft.
RPM: Ok Jesse. Now we get to the fun part of the interview we like to call the ‘Rock Star’ questions where we get our subject to challenge themselves and think outside the box.
When people think of Jesse Malin, what do they associate you as being?
Jesse: What do they think I am? Well, that’s hard for me to say. I’m just gonna repeat a lot of bullshit that people say about me. A singer/songwriter, or a Troubadour. A Rabbi Rasta, jack-off, goofball, vegan-nut New Yorker. A positive mental analyst!
RPM: Is that what you get shouted at you then?
Jesse: Um, yeah! “What’s the name of your band”, “who are you?”, “what does Jesse Malin mean?”, “where you going”?,”what’s the future of the planet?”.
RPM: what’s your morning routine?
Jesse: I wake up, I drink a herbal tea. I jump out of bed like anything could happen. You never know what’s going to happen in life. I do a bunch of push-ups. I keep the gadgets and devices off for a while, put on a little music. Sometimes I write, as coming out of a dream state is a good place to write. I’ll write in notebooks with an old fashioned pen and some real paper. Then I turn on the computer and wait to be slapped by the world.
RPM: What was your first guitar and what did you learn to play on it?
Jesse: It was an acoustic guitar, one of those nylon string $20 jobs. I sat around and tried to learn how to play ‘Jingle Bells’ on it. But then I got aggressive and I took a microphone from a reel to reel player and I taped it on there and I tried to play Kiss songs, Ted Nugent songs and Led Zeppelin songs. I wasn’t so great at it so I started to write my own songs instead, and just play Ramones songs because right away that was instant gratification.
RPM: You knew Joey, right?
Jesse: Yeah, D Generation toured with The Ramones. Me and Joey became friends, he was just a lovely person that just loved rock music.
RPM: If you could go back to your 20 year old self, what 3 pieces of advice would you give?
Jesse: To stay on the road longer, to be fearless, more loving and compassionate, and to not give up.
RPM: And would you have listened though?
Jesse: To half of it…the other half I would’ve pissed out into the toilet or something!
RPM: When you hear the word successful what comes to mind?
Jesse: Happiness, having enough money to be able to have the freedom to live. To have good love in your life and to be happy with what you do every single day.
RPM: Have you ever written a song, only to realise it had already been written?
Jesse: I’ve had melodies that have been familiar to other things or lines here and there, but never full songs. I’ve come close though, I remember somebody in the band, I think it was a wisecrack from the drummer saying “that sounded like that song by Oasis” and I’d be like “No, Oasis took it from there” and I guess…well Martin Scorsese said “good ones copy, great ones steal!”. It’s how you steal it and what you do with it that counts.
RPM: Ok, and to wrap up Jesse. If you could have a billboard anywhere in the world where would you have it and what would it say?
Jesse: Oh man…somewhere in the Middle East I guess. Saying ‘peace and love – stop the fighting. We are all flesh and blood, we all bleed the same… just peace’.
Jesse Malin is currently holding a YouTube residency every Saturday evening at 9pm UK time entitled ‘The Fine Art of Self-Distancing’, playing songs and telling stories from his apartment in New York. It’s free to watch but donations to help the band and his crew are more than welcome. Tune in, grab a beer, tell your friends. And join in the new normal for live music experience right now.
SINGLE: ‘SHANE’ OUT NOW
PRODUCED BY LUCINDA WILLIAMS & TOM OVERBY
THE FINE ART OF SELF DISTANCING
SATURDAY’S 9PM UK TIME Here
TOUR DATES SUPPORTING BRIAN FALLON RESCHEDULED
JANUARY- FEBRUARY 2021
Jesse wrote ‘Shane’ after celebrating his hero Shane MaGowan’s 60th birthday at the Dublin National Concert Hall (alongside Ireland’s president Michael D. Higgins, Bono, Nick Cave, Sinead O’Connor…). “I thanked him for everything; the songs, the stories, the inspiration. I told him that he better not to go anywhere, that we still need him.”
‘Shane’ is taken off the album ‘Sunset Kids’– which marks Malin’s first new LP since 2015’s OUTSIDERS – further includes the remarkable Malin/Williams duet, “Dead On,” along with guest appearances from Joseph Arthur on three tracks and newly arranged versions of songs from his classic 2010 LP with the St. Marks Social, LOVE IT TO LIFE. Additional highlights include “Strangers and Thieves” cowritten by and featuring vocals from Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong.
The album was produced by GRAMMY® Award-winner Lucinda Williams and engineered by the late David Bianco (Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, AC/DC) and Geoff Sanoff (Little Steven and The Disciples of Soul, Fountains of Wayne)
In the recent climate of the coronavirus pandemic, Jesse has decided to do a Saturday Livestream series called The Fine Art of Self Distancing where he will be playing songs, telling stories and doing bits and motivational backflips.
“It’s free, but with an option for donations that will help band, the road crew and I get through this crazy
time of tour cancellations and postponements. Look at what the Italians are doing. Sing from your window, your fire escape, your balcony, or your roof. Even from afar, the power of love is stronger than you think. Use this time to reflect on what really matters most. A slower tempo can help you feel the real deal inside. Be brave, open, and stay smart. Keep a positive mental attitude and we will back together before you know it.
The tour dates with Jesse supporting The Gaslight Anthem’s frontman Brian Fallon have now been rescheduled for
29 Jan Manchester, 02 Academy
30 Jan Birmingham , 02 Institute
31 Jan Glasgow SWG3
1 Feb Leeds 02 Academy
3 Feb Bristol 02 Academy
5 Feb Nottingham Rock City
6 Feb London Shepard Bush Empire
7 Feb Norwich Waterfront
After the demise of D Generation at the turn of the century, New York troubadour Jesse Malin traded electric for acoustic and has toured hard ever since. Traveling black tar rivers wherever they flow, plying his trade to all who will take the time to sip a beer and nod their heads. Along the way, he has written and recorded with the likes of Ryan Adams, Billy Joe Armstrong and Bruce Springsteen.
Last year saw him collaborate with Lucinda Williams on his 7th (or is it 8th?) studio album. The critically acclaimed ‘Sunset Kids’ is an introspective set of songs exploring death, departure and a host of character observation. It was one of my favourite albums last year and possibly his finest work. Jesse and his band have been touring hard since the release and this is the first of 3 separate visits he will make to our side of the pond this year.
Situated in Leeds city centre just a few doors from Crash Records, Headrow House is a new venue to me. With a 150 capacity, it’s a cool sized room on the first floor of a building that also houses a restaurant and a drinking establishment. As I catch the band soundchecking prior to an arranged interview with the frontman, I already get the feeling this could be a great show. It feels like a good space and the fact that it has recently sold out makes it even more exciting.
As the room fills up nicely, fellow New Yorker Don Dilego tales to the stage and warms us up with a fine set of pop-laced Americana. Cut from the same cloth as Jesse Malin, his between-song stories are engaging and his melodies memorable. Joined by keyboard player Michael Hesslein, Don channels alt country sensibilities with pop suss coming on like Joseph Arthur meets Talking Heads to the casual listener, which ain’t a bad place to be in my book.
His passion for collecting old, turn of the century photographs from thrift shops, which he uses to adorn his studio in NY is interesting and leads into the best song of his half hour slot, which for the life of me I can’t recall the title of. Guess I’ll have to check out his discography to find it, eh!
Sometimes the stars align at just the right moment and it all comes together. Sometimes the sound guy gets it just right, the band are tight and play the songs you really wanted to hear. Sometimes the room is dark and crackling with just the right atmosphere, the vocals cut through the instruments and you catch every last word the singer sings. Tonight is one of those nights.
A Jesse Malin show is always an immersive experience, full of stories and crowd interaction. I remember a show back in 2008, at Fibbers in York, where he had the whole crowd sat on the floor enraptured by his every word. That was a more intimate, acoustic based show, tonight is a rock ‘n’ roll show with a tight 5 piece band who bring the NY groove to Leeds.
It’s evident from the strummed chords of opener ‘Shining Down’ that tonight is going to be one of those great nights. With a smart, dark shirt and waistcoat adorning his slight frame, his black corkscrew hair in his eyes from beneath an oversized flat cap, Jesse looks the essence of New York rock ‘n’ roll cool. His vocals sound spot on, just the right amount of echo and reverb accentuate his voice, and the accompanying licks from long time collaborator Derek Cruz have the most marvelous tone to my ears.
Recent single ‘Chemical Heart’ follows, the jangly, upbeat melody inciting crowd movement and Rob Clores cool keyboard refrain giving it that kooky feel. The Pogues classic ‘If I Should Fall With Grace From God’ follows and fits the upbeat party vibe of the set just right. A perfect opening trio of songs.
Jesse tells stories about the album between songs and announces they are going to play lots of new material and a few surprises are in store. ‘Black Haired Girl’ is an early highlight, yet it’s the groovier, funky stuff such as ‘She Don’t Love Me’ and ‘Dead On’ that really shine tonight. When Jesse loses the guitar and takes to the mic, he becomes edgy and the old D Generation punk rock attitude shines through. You can take the punk outta Queens, but he’ll always have some of that fire in his belly. He stands on the bass drum, stalks the stage and he’s off in the crowd. Jesse has the ability to make every person in the room feel like they are involved.
‘Russian Roulette’ is my favourite Lords Of The New Church song and I was not expecting it tonight. The singer’s cinematic introduction reels off his tongue like poetry, referencing Deer Hunter and Apocalypse Now like some punk rock Gil Scott Heron, before he’s off in the crows yet again. This is one of those rock ‘n’ roll moments I will remember for a long time to come.
The main set ends with the song that opens ‘Sunset Kids’. It’s no nonchalant decision that ‘Meet Me At The End Of The World’ was re-recorded to open the album. Personally, I feel it is one of Jesse’s finest moments. It has that New York groove, that Lou Reed feel to it, it’s a modern rock ‘n’ roll anthem for these trying times.
That was a killer set! The old, the new and the obscure rub shoulders. How could you not dig the likes of ‘Hotel Columbia’, ‘Turn Up The Mains’ and ‘Cigarettes & Violets’?
Jesse returns solo, with his acoustic for a chilled run through of The Clash classic ‘Stay Free’, before inviting the band back for an emotive ‘Broken Radio’. And while The Boss was a no show tonight, it’s still a classic Malin tune that deserves more recognition than the minimal Radio 2 playlisting it got on release. A high energy ‘Do You Remember Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio’ sees the singer ditch the guitar for good to give the Ramones classic anthem the full on treatment it deserves, before sending us off with his chilled ode to The Pogues frontman that is ‘Shane’.
Tonight Jesse and his band set the bar very high indeed. He’s been at this game for a long time now, and has honed his storytelling and performance to perfection. He has the songs and he has the players and they delivered the kind of show I feel every rock ‘n’ roll band worth their salt wish they could deliver.
Well, we’ve reached that time of year again where the writers of RPM were forced into the voting both given a blunt pencil and forced to vote for their album of the year. Unlike a certain General Election result this time I don’t think people were too disappointed with the final result and by a landslide rock and Roll won.
Interestingly this years winner didn’t win any single writers vote but featured very heavily throughout the writers lists more than any other artist or artists so its a fair cop guv and, to be honest, had the live show count been anything to go by it was a landslide and another good year all around. With writers coming from several continents and five different countries there might be a few miles between us but we all have some things in common and one of those is a love for Rock and Roll. I’m sure had it been a Top 20 people would have still had a headache as to what to put in. Don’t let anyone tell you that it’s been a shit year for new music as there were plenty of records released and many of them reviewed on RPM Online and with over 50 albums getting a mention from the team of writers (that’s just their top 10!).
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank not only all the artists who’ve released new records in 2019 and to all the excellent press departments and Labels especially the independent ones who’ve worked tirelessly to bring us the music and obviously to the songwriters and musicians whose work we’ve had many many hours of enjoyment listening to and raving about you know who you are many of whom it’s been a pleasure to get to know throughout the year.
What we’ll do is give the top ten a rundown in reverse order then each individual writers ten albums in no particular order so here goes.
So congratulations to all the bands who made the RPM Online top ten. Especially Michael Monroe for taking top spot in the hotly contested category as well as all the ones that didn’t there were dozens and dozens of albums released in 2019 that we reviewed. We managed to catch up with a few of the bands who made it onto the pages of RPM Online in 2019 to find out what made it onto their turntables this year and to find out any highlights they might have had. Here is some beginning with Jeff from The Brothers Steve…
Jeff Whalen (Guitar /Vocals – The Brothers Steve)
“I don’t think I listened to any records that came out in 2019! So I picked my top 5 records that were new to me in 2019!”
Tiny Tim—God Bless Tiny Tim
The Beagles—Here Come the Beagles
White Reaper—The World’s Best American Band
The Speedies—You Need Pop
Rich Jones Guitarist (Michael Monroe/Black Halos) –
Pup – Morbid Stuff
The Wildhearts – Renaissance Men
Jeff Rosenstock – Thanks, Sorry! / Sorry, Thanks!
Berlin Blackouts – Nastygram Sedition
The Menzingers – Hello Exile
BEST RE-ISSUE: The Replacements – Dead Man’s Pop
Duncan Reid – Duncan Reid & The Big Heads
Starcrawler – ‘Devour You’ (especially the track No More Pennies)
2 Albums which spoke to my Country Side:
The long Ryders – ‘Psychedelic Country Soul’ (especially Greenville)
Kim Lenz – S’lowly Speeding’
Not an album but the single ‘Fire Ready Aim’ by Green Day which was superb
And The Baby shakes ‘Cause a Scene’ (especially the title track)
As for Highlights, there were Many highlights of 2019 especially Rebellion which went superbly for us and I’m really looking forward to the release of our new album early 2020 as well as playing the Kubix Festival.
Steve Coulter – (Drums) The Brothers Steve
The Gold—T’he Gold’
The Armoires – ‘Zibaldone’
The Cutthroat Brothers – ‘Taste For Evil’
The Coolies – ‘Uh Oh! It’s…The Coolies’
The New Pornographers – ‘In The Morse Code Of Brake Lights’
As for the highlights of 2019 it has to be making the Brothers Steve ‘#1’ & The Go All The Ways as well as writing about music ‘Go All The Way A Literary Appreciation Of Power Pop!
Lee Love (The Hip Priests)
Clowns – ‘Nature/Nurture’
TV Crime – ‘Metal Town’
Bitch Queens – ‘City Of Class’
The Drippers – ‘Action Rock’
Schizophonics – ‘People In The Sky’
Melchior Quitt (Bitch Queens)
Clowns – ‘Nature / Nature’
Amyl & The Sniffers – ‘Amyl & The Sniffers’
The Hip Priests – ‘Stand For Nothing’
Saint Agnes – ‘Welcome To Silvertown’
The Schizophonics – ‘People In The Sky’
As for the Highlight of 2019, There are several. Two for Bitch Queens were to put out our brand new album ‘City Of Class’ and to finish our new recording studio to keep on doin’ what we are doin’ far away from the big business.
The Best event this year was Sjock. “What could be better than hanging out with my boys from The Hip Priests and seeing the best Action Rock bands from all around the world! I am looking forward to touring with Bitch Queens in Europe next year and to record a shitload of new singles and split 7“ And of course, there are two of the probably best records 2020 in the pipeline – The Good, the Bad & the Zugly and Kvelertak. 2020 is gonna be good!
Mathius Engelbrekt Carlsson – “Demons” –
All right. My top picks for 2019.
Jeff Dahl – ‘Electric Junk’
Guitar Wolf – ‘Love & Jett’
Amyl & The Sniffers – ‘Amyl & The Sniffers’
The Hip Priests – ‘Stand for Nothing’
Bitch Queens – ‘City of Class’
The Drippers – ‘Action Rock’
Dead Furies – ‘Stay Gold Ponyboy’
“One of few highlights of 2019 was getting ‘Kiss Off’ off the ground. This has been one of those years. For music it has been a great year though and especially for Rock’n’Roll.
Next year it’s the 25th anniversary for “DEMONS” and we hope that we can tour as much as possible starting with Japan in January. A new record will be out as well as some old stuff. Hopefully our first unreleased album and possibly a Demonology II. See you on the other side.”
With summer fading fast its time to cwtch u to your stereo or however you currently listen to your music and check out the RPM Spotify Playlist to hear who are the movers and shakers at RPM Towers. From the albums, we’ve reviewed and are reviewing and the shows we’re attending to the interviews we have coming up. Here is a playlist to accompany your reading.
This month we feature the following bands who have new albums or are playing live shows.
Hollywood Brats, Andy McCoy, The Bar Stool Preachers, Cock Sparrer, Jim Jones and the Righteous Minds, Duff McKagan, Jesse Malin, Queen Zee, Subhumans, Black Star Riders, Strung Out, Dead Shed Jokers, Pardon Us, Paradise Alley, Dead Furies, The Chuck Norris Experiment, TSAR, New Model Army, Ginger Wildheart
Jesse Malin’s transition from snotty frontman for NY punks D Generation to acoustic troubadour has been a natural progression over the last 15 years. The long and winding road has seen him release 7 solo albums, collaborating with the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Ryan Adams and Brian Fallon along the way.
Critically praised, yet commercially ignored (hey, aren’t all the best songwriters? Ginger,Tyla and Butch Walker, here’s looking at you!). His live shows, whether solo or with a band, can be an immersive experience full of storytelling, comedy and crowd interaction. Jesse Malin continues to tell tales of dreamers, schemers, hustlers and dealers. These are his songs about the characters from his native New York and stories about those he meets on the road.
Jesse’s latest album ‘Sunset Kids’ is a collaboration with country legend Lucinda Williams, who Malin met by chance in a club. They discussed making an album together after she invited him to Tom Petty’s final concert. During the writing and recording Jesse lost his father, his good friend Todd Youth and even the engineer of the album Davis Bianco.
Opener ‘Meet Me At The End Of The World Again’ is a re-recording of the lead track from 2017’s ‘Meet Me At The End Of The World’ EP. This version benefits from Lucinda’s lush production and masterful guidance. The verse, sung in Jesse’s lower register with the addition of warm bass and a tinkling of the ivories, comes on like prime Lou Reed. It lends itself well as a great build to the infectious chorus full of lush, gang vocals. It’s a laid back, lazy sounding slice of retro rock ‘n’ roll, the kind that only a New York resident could produce. This is Jesse walking on the wildside and that’s about as rock ‘n’ roll as you can get.
Next up, the countrified ‘Room 13’ is a reflective ode to spending time in hotel rooms (Jesse has been known to book himself into hotels to write songs in isolation, with no distractions). This is prime Malin songwriting, featuring Lucinda’s lush vocal harmonies and twangy countrified guitars, the sparse instrumentation creates space and atmosphere that only adds to the laid back, signature melodies Jesse creates.
There’s a nice ebb and flow to the album, from the upbeat to the downbeat. Reflective, acoustic laments like ‘When You’re Young’ and ‘Revelations’ rub (leather) shoulders with funky 70’s groovers such as ‘Do You Really Wanna Know’ and the overly cool ‘Dead On’, 2 tunes that deserve to be jammed out by cool cats in smoky bars, while whores hustle and hustlers whore around them.
The upbeat ‘Chemical Heart’ has the same feel as his version of The Hold Steady’s ‘You Can Make Them Like You’ from the excellent ‘On Your Sleeve’ covers album. Nice stabs of Hammond give this song a quirky burst of energy. It’s one of the coolest on offer, along with ‘Strangers and Thieves’, co-written by Billy Joe Armstrong as part of their Rodeo Queens side project. A euphoric, countrified rock ‘n’ roll blast if ever there was one. Lucinda’s lush backing vocals add depth, great percussion and twangy guitars give a Stonesy ‘All Down The Line’ feel. A much needed dose of urgency.
Jesse’s tales of working class guys, lost love and dreaming of breaking out of the rat race have been popular themes with the guy since D Generation burst onto MTV with ‘No Way Out’, and although the production may have changed, the message is still the same. As he suggests in ‘Shining On’, you gotta keep on, keeping on. “Call me a cab for the last plane to tomorrow” he asks on ‘Promises’ and ‘Grey Skies Look So Blue’ floats along on a summer breeze as Jesse dreams about packing his bags and getting away.
When an artist goes through tumultuous times, when a songwriter experiences heartache or pain, and truly has something to write about, THAT is when they are at their best. Like much of Jesse’s solo work, ‘Sunset Kids’ is a reflective body of work, full of heartfelt tenderness and cool rock ‘n’ roll, but for whatever reason it resonates so much more than his past albums. And with the help of Lucinda Williams, he may well have made the album of his career.