“This one is for the survivors, the dreamers, the leavers and the believers,” said Jesse Malin, of his new double album, Sad and Beautiful World, out September 24 on Wicked Cool Records. “My music has always been about rebirth and redemption. Sad and Beautiful World is for those who pick up the pieces and find beauty in the madness.” The album is the follow up to 2019’s Sunset Kids, Malin’s well received long-player produced by Lucinda Williams and Tom Overby.
Hear the first song “State of the Art” and presave / preorder the album here. Jesse and his band will be touring throughout 2021, including nine UK dates, commencing at Glasgow’s King’s Tut’s Wah Wah Hut on Monday September 27 and including London’s Garage on Friday, October 8.
Sad and Beautiful World takes its title from a line of dialogue in Jim Jarmusch’s 1986 cult-classic film Down By Law. A lyric in the song “Almost Criminal” gives the double record its theme: Roots Rock Radicals, Malin’s take on a phrase from the intersection of punk and reggae back in the day.
The “Roots Rock” side leans to the sad-eyed ballads, while its companion, the “Radicals” side, roughs things up a bit. But not everything is as black and white as the movies. All of Sad and Beautiful World is both tough and tender, laced through with vividly drawn characters striving against circumstance and a raw emotional tenor. The 17 songs served up here will break your heart, move your hips, and keep the lights shining.
Billie Joe Armstrong once said “New York City is the center of the universe, and there is no New York City without Jesse Malin.” Malin remained in his shuttered city and made a record. He eventually overcame the anxiety, fear and loneliness by writing. “The sirens, the protests, riots and the darkness outside my doorstep definitely made its way in these songs,” adds Malin. “Everything rose to a boiling point, and we found a way to get through it.”
Jesse sets the scene of his beloved hometown with the autobiographical “Backstabbers,” a coming-of-age tune about navigating through the city lights. Recorded in 2019, the slinky strut of “The Way We Used To Roll” now has an extra layer of meaning. Both songs were produced by Lucinda Williams, who also sings backup on “Backstabbers,” and her partner, Tom Overby. The majority of Sad and Beautiful World was produced by Malin’s long-time guitarist Derek Cruz and Geoff Sanoff.
Throughout 2020, Malin created and produced the celebrated weekly livestream series The Fine Art of Self Distancing to keep people connected worldwide and dancing on their couches. The show raised money for independent national venues, his band, crew and the Joe Strummer Foundation, and was named one of the best of the year by Entertainment Weekly and Rolling Stone.
“When I was a kid in Queens, my mother had a sign over the kitchen sink with a flower or something, that said ‘today is the first day of the rest of your life.’ I still feel that way. Growing up here, you find a way to carry your dreams up from the street and out to the stars. I try hard to keep my sense of humour, community and always find a way to dance through the flames.”
UK Live Dates:
Monday, September 27 Glasgow King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut
Tuesday, September 28 Newcastle The Cluny & The Cluny 2
Wednesday, September 29 Manchester Night & Day Café
Thursday, September 30 Leeds Belgrave Music Hall
Saturday, October 2 Leek The Maude
Tuesday, October 5 Bristol The Fleece
Wednesday, October 6 Leicester The Musician
Thursday, October 7 Nottingham Metronome
Friday, October 8 London The Garage