The Hustler

The Hustler

by Jeff KleinJeff Klein


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Austin songwriter Jeff Klein steps out from the shadows on Hustler. Everybody Loves a Winner was distinctive in its rawness, in the sheer unapologetic darkness of its songs, as well as being somewhat similar sonically to the outings of his peers. Hustler, produced by former Afghan Whigs frontman Greg Dulli and veteran Mike Napolitano, is a giant step both lyrically and musically. These 12 songs contain within them an entire claustrophobic world, unseen by both casual observers or close friends. Klein charts the interior, the place where contradictions run rampant and are given uncensored rein inside the ravages of a broken heart that seeks to make itself insular, one who only negotiates the world by the richness of a solitary inner dialogue. This is the sound of last night's ashes and empty glasses on the bedstand after being betrayed and left by the Beloved. Recorded in New Orleans, Klein and Dulli have enlisted an impressive list of friends and comrades for this rock endeavor that holds its edges dear and flashes them like contraband. Ani DiFranco sings backup on "Pity," a particularly suffocating pop song driven by a synthetic loop, drenched in strings and atmospherics. She plays guitar on "Stripped," an edgy, slow rocker that is a paean to the insufferable obsessive jealousy that consumes both people in a relationship. Dave Pirner offers backing vocals to three tracks and Billy Harvey plays guitar. Klein's gravelly voice half sings half whispers and threatens to explode at every turn -- and to his credit he never does. As a songwriter, his melodies aren't as memorable as his words, which walk some line between the vulnerable hard truth of Jim Carroll, the brutality of Charles Bukowski, and the personal needy pathos of Kathy Acker and the sheer ragged elegance of Marianne Faithful. There is an elegance that permeates these songs in spite of themselves. Klein is interested in getting it out, not right, something Dulli and Napolitano understand implicitly. They fill the space without choking it, allowing Klein the room to stretch his lyrics across the musical frames to the braking point. Check the sparse horns ghosting the background in "All I Want," as an acoustic guitar lilts just behind the lyric: "Just slow down/this will be the last time/we ever talk about it/I will learn to live without/all the things I thought would help me swim/just seems to make me drown anyhow....." Klein doesn't give a damn if something rocks or not, he seems to care only that the song gets what it needs to have its own life. Hustler is a beautiful dark gem that walks a knife-edge of vulnerability to the place where need becomes its own strength. This is pop music that seeks numbness yet reveals the pure poetic wreckage of a broken heart as its exposes its wound-and its teeth.

Product Details

Release Date: 03/30/2010
Label: Imports
UPC: 5016958065928
catalogNumber: 902724
Rank: 131547

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Jeff Klein   Primary Artist,Synthesizer,Guitar,Keyboards,Vocals
Ani DiFranco   Guitar,Background Vocals
Greg Dulli   Guitar,Strings,Drums,Vocals,Background Vocals
Bruce Hughes   Background Vocals
J.J. Johnson   Drums
Dave Pirner   Background Vocals
David Wilczewski   Saxophone
Mike Napolitano   Percussion,Guitorgan
Jacob Schulze   Guitar,Marimbas,Background Vocals,Mellotron
Probyn Gregory   Trumpet
Jeff D. Klein   Synthesizer,Bass,Guitar,Percussion,Keyboards,Vocals,Bells,Vibes,Guitorgan
Manuel Agnelli   Piano,fender rhodes
Jarrod Gorbel   Background Vocals
Staffan Findin   Trombone
Aaron Kamstra   Bass,Background Vocals
David Rosser   Trumpet
Steve Calandra   Bass,Strings
Billy Harvey   Guitar,Background Vocals
Yanti Turang   Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Greg Dulli   Producer
Mike Napolitano   Programming,Producer,Engineer,Audio Production
Jeff D. Klein   drum programming
Jeff Klein   Composer
Scott Bennett   Engineer,Horn Arrangements
Traci Goudie   Packaging
Steve Calandra   Arranger
Tara Angell   Composer

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