When: Thu., July 23, 9 p.m. 2015
JESSE MALIN, RICHARD BACCHUS & THE LUCKIEST GIRLS
THURSDAY, JULY 23
THE POUR HOUSE, RALEIGH—Jesse Malin operates his own franchise of the living punk rock museum, a spiritual shop that can rearrange one's priorities and values for a lifetime. Even when he's not wearing a leather jacket, Malin exudes an old-school essence, which he carries into his new album, New York Before The War.
The record closes the five-year gap since 2010's Love It To Life, arguably the best of the six solo albums he's made since shuttering his old band, D Generation, in 1999. Malin recorded New York twice—first, in the seclusion of a Virginia farmhouse for sessions he shelved because they lacked what he's called "angst" and "uptempo anger." He then cut another 15 tracks elsewhere, to the dismay of his label and bandmates alike.
Three songs survive from those first takes, making New York sound, in some sense, like two different albums. It's frontloaded with the elegiac Springsteen-like piano ballad "The Dreamers" and the bubbly garage-pop anthem "Addicted." They're followed by the New York Dolls-biting "Turn Up the Mains," an appropriately titled rock rave that signals the more rocking songs to come, like the lacerating "Freeway," which features the MC5's Wayne Kramer.
Born in Queens, Malin cut his teeth on punk, auditioning for CBGB in 1980 as a snotty 13-year old. Though they didn't get the gig, Heart Attack made a name for themselves in hardcore circles, setting the stage for Malin's defining band with guitarist Richard Bacchus, '90s punk revivalists D Generation. Their glam-punk earned all kinds of accolades, even if the mainstream explosion of grunge and alt-rock overshadowed them.
After the fact, Malin joined the queue of ex-punkers such as Mike Ness and John Doe, who opted for a gritty singer-songwriter vibe after rock band life. Malin's prose and craft have sharpened during the last two decades, but he's never quite left behind that old punk swagger. He remains poised between getting deep with you and boxing your ears.
Bacchus—Malin's old running mate, now based in Raleigh—lacks those qualms. At most, he indulges a little Bowie nostalgia on tracks like "Long Lost Debby." Mostly, Bacchus prefers to build a wall of distortion and slash his way through it. Bacchus and Malin linked for a D Generation reunion several years ago and even issued a D Generation 10" for this year's Record Store Day. Don't be surprised to hear them revisit an old New York classic or two. 9 p.m., $8–$10, 224 S. Blount St., Raleigh, 919-821-1120, www.the-pour-house.com. —Chris Parker