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Jesse Malin | Sunset Kids

Roots-rock queen Lucinda Williams team up with the unsung singer-songwriter.

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WHO IS HE? The former frontman of absurdly underappreciated New York glam-punks D Generation — who has gone on to become an absurdly underappreciated roots-punk singer-songwriter since going solo two decades ago.

WHAT IS THIS? His excellent eighth solo studio album, which was co-produced by roots-rock queen Lucinda Williams (whom Malin once wrote a song about) and her husband Tom Overby. Williams also co-wrote and sings on some tracks, along with other VIPs like Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong and fellow New York indie troubadour Joseph Arthur.

WHAT DOES IT SOUND LIKE? Two artists bringing out the best in each other. Surprisingly so. Both Malin and Williams seem to exist in their own worlds — she once called me at night, out of the blue, several days late for an interview — but here they join forces seamlessly and effectively. Malin turns in sharp songs (including a couple of reworked oldies) and focused performances, while Williams and Overby decorate them with the ragged elegance and twangy haze that grace her work. It’s a win-win-win — for her, him and you.

WHAT WOULD BE A BETTER TITLE FOR THIS ALBUM? Meeting in the Middle.

HOW SHOULD I LISTEN TO IT? While drinking Picklebacks (more on that in a minute).

WHAT 10 WORDS DESCRIBE IT? Grounded, soulful, relaxed, romantic, co-operative, earnest, balanced, rich, textured, dusky.

WHAT ARE THE BEST SONGS? The Stonesy opener Meet Me at the End of the World Again; the strummy roots-pop of Chemical Heart; the anthemic Shining Down; the piano-fuelled Shane, a tribute to Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan; the Clash-like Strangers & Thieves, co-starring Armstrong; the swampy Dead On.

WHAT WILL MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY SAY? ‘If this one doesn’t take his career to the next level, nothing will.’

HOW OFTEN WILL I LISTEN TO THIS? Often enough that you’ll hope there’s more where this came from.

IF THIS ALBUM WERE A COCKTAIL, WHAT COCKTAIL WOULD IT BE? A shot of bourbon with a pickle juice chaser (also known as a Pickleback) — two unique flavours that mix better than you’d expect.

SHOULD I BUY, STREAM OR STEAL IT? Buy — it’s like getting two albums for the price of one. Picklebacks not included.