The Hustler

Dense with smoke and sweating booze from its pores, the music on JEFF KLEIN’s THE HUSTLER (One Little Indian), his third album, completely inhabits New Orleans, the city of its inception. In reaction to his previous singer- songwriter-type efforts, Austin’s Klein has traveled to the Big Easy to make an album where each song immerses itself in distinct sonic territory. Co-produced by Afghan Whigs front man Greg Dulli, Hustler goes for—and gets—much more than a set-it-up-and-record-it affair from its producers. The Whigs was a band of crushing pretense, but Dulli’s dense “I Am the Walrus”–like touch emboldens Klein’s confessional songs, many of which seem to deal with his getting dumped. Even his ballads creep with menace. Slow-chugging guitars sound draped in velvet, while disembodied keyboards float in air, enhancing both Klein’s wood-rasp of a voice and his quiet intensity.

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