This came out in 2003 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):
Jesse Malin has come a long way, baby.
Formerly the leader of New York glam-punks D Generation, the singer and guitarist has put aside the distortion-pedal metal of his not-so-distant youth and set his sights on a future in the promised land of roots-rock and alt-country. And surprisingly enough, if his remarkable debut album The Fine Art of Self-Destruction is anything to go by, he might just pull it off. Under-produced by old pal and kindred spirit Ryan Adams, songs like Queen of the Underworld, Downliner and High Lonesome spotlight Malin’s adenoidal yelp and gritty, Westerbergian tales of broken lives, hearts and dreams. He hasn’t totally waived his right to rock out, as the urgently anthemic Wendy illustrates, but for the most part, this is a bittersweet document built around strummed acoustic guitars, lazy beats, infectious melodies and confessional lyrics like, “I’m a witness / to the sickness.” Like many a punk, Malin has finally figured out the power of your music is more important than the power of your amp.