For nearly a decade, Jesse Malin spiked his hair, wore crusty old leather jackets and sang like Johnny Thunders or Stiv Bators in the New York band D Generation. Following that outfit's demise, he developed his appreciation for rootsy singer-songwriters and began cranking out material more reminiscent of the Replacements while retaining splinters of his punk roots. Ryan Adams declared himself a fan of Malin's former band and offered to produce his first solo album. Though Adams had never actually produced before, having him ride the levels on the mixing board actually paid off. Both guys can write catchy songs for hopeless romantics and both come from quasi-punk backgrounds, so The Fine Art Of Self Destruction came out with an amazingly appropriate sound -- a near-perfect album from an East Coast heart-on-sleeve punk who was no longer afraid to admit that he liked those first two Bruce Springsteen records (check out the third song, "Wendy"). On his second album, Heat, Malin got more pensive and introspective. Where his first album reveled in the triumphant energy of new love, the second album floated on heartbreak with maturity and style. It sounded closer to Adams' radio friendly music for young adults, but a bit grittier and not nearly as harmless.