Alt.country poster boy Ryan Adams’ turn as guitarist and producer on Jesse Malin’s debut album, The Fine Art of Self Destruction, could easily have overshadowed Malin and his material. Luckily they’re both stronger than that. Malin’s frontman chops were honed with New York trash brats D Generation, and he still rocks pretty hard, but an unmistakable pop melodicism runs through Self Destruction, a gentle wave reinforced by Malin’s powerfully vulnerable Paul Brady-meets-Neil Young vocals and a lyrical bent that reads like roughshod romantic poetry. Malin bares his punkish teeth on Replacements-tinged rockers like “Wendy” but shows his Zevonesque tough/tender roots edge most everywhere else. With equal measures of swagger and soul, Jesse Malin has crafted a phenomenal debut that radiates a scuffed grace from its rock ’n’ roll heart.