Against Me! Announce Headline Tour

Against Me! (1)Florida punks Against Me! have announced a headlining tour across the US and Canada. The band are out supporting their critically acclaimed 6th album, Transgender Dysphoria Blues, released earlier this year on the bands own label, Total Treble Records.

Full dates below:

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Against Me! - Total Treble

Against Me!

Transgender Dysphoria Blues

Total Treble

Rating: 5/5




This album is undeniably a cathartic release for Laura Jane Grace. This is first Against Me! release where she is officially frontwoman rather than frontman. The overall theme of the record understandably focuses on the emotions and thoughts that accompanied her coming out as a transgender woman and learning to live life openly in her new role. There are ups and downs, heartbreaking moments of doubt and hatred tempered by the sweet relief of finally embracing freedom to be who she really is.

As undeniably monumental this release is for the punk scene (and rock and roll in general), the actual music shouldn’t be overlooked because of the message. The three men who make up the rest of Against Me! have helped give life to Grace’s words. This is one of the rawest rock and roll records the group have ever released, with gritty production and occasional blemishes, which are laid bare alongside the lyrical confessions. This is the least radio friendly Against Me! release in years and the band don’t waste the opportunity. It is not Reinventing Axl Rose by any means, but the group have evolved their sound over time and lineup changes and it is undeniably for the better. There are shining moments of beauty, which perfectly weave their melody around Grace’s heartfelt poetic lyrics. There are also chaotic raging punk rock songs, which distill her words into pure vitriol, seething against homophobic bros and the pressures to fit in.

The album kicks off with the punkabilly stroll of the title track, which sonically most represents the sound that the band explored on White Crosses. No time is wasted getting to the point, with Grace proudly owning her gender identity singing some of the most affecting lyrics on the album. She balances sorrow and anger when she sings You want them to see you like they see any other girl… They just see a faggot, seething as she delivers the final line. But the whole experience of openly living as a woman has obviously had a positive effect on Grace. Despite the pain that is evident throughout the album, she has moments of uneasy acceptance, such as you’ve got no cunt in your strut, you’ve got no hips to shake, and you know it’s obvious, but we can’t choose how we’re made. Previously heard on the True Trans EP, True Trans Soul Rebel still stands as the most emotionally stirring track on this full length. While her experience is very much her own, the song draws on a well of empathy and tugs at your heartstrings with its stirring words. When Grace’s voice almost breaks while singing you should have been a mother, you should have been a wife… you should be living a different life, your heart breaks along with her. This is the strength of the release; it evokes feelings in anyone who has felt they didn’t belong. It is safe to say that most listeners are not struggling with gender identity like Grace, but it is comforting to know that there is someone out there who stands as a beacon for those who feel alone, who feel left out and lost in a large world. That is what has drawn so many people into the punk scene for decades, searching for a place to belong.

The band kick things up a notch on Drinking With the Jocks, a raging rocker that simultaneously stands as a “fuck you” to ignorant bro culture and expresses deep longing to just fit in. It is fast and angry and one of the most punk songs that we’ve heard from Against Me! in a while. The interestingly titled Obama Bin Laden As The Crucified Christ has a classic rock sound, which evokes thoughts of Led Zeppelin, which is a little weird at first, but grows with repeated listens. The other track that was prereleased on the True Trans EP, FuckMyLife666, showcases the evolution in Grace’s voice, which has more melody these days and slightly less grit. This evolution has been happening for a few albums now, so it isn’t a dramatic shock, but it really stands out on this album. It is a pretty rock song, which asks chipped nail polish and a barbed wire dress, is your mother proud of your eyelashes?

The album isn’t entirely focused upon Grace’s gender identity though. The album continues to follow latter day Against Me! with a  lyrical focus on personal themes, instead of wide spread political themes like their earlier work. Both Dead Friend and Two Coffins focus on the relationship between love and death. The lyrics return to the struggle of gender identity on Paralytic States, which tells a sad tale of struggling with life. It reads like a heartbreaking obituary with jarring lines like cut her face wide open, shaved the bone down thin, plumped her lips up exaggerated, a fucked up kind of feminine and standing naked in front of that hotel bathroom mirror… she still saw her mother’s son.

At times listening to this album feel awkward, as if you are snooping through someone’s most personal thoughts and feelings written in their diary. It makes you angry, sad and hopeful all within a half hour. It’s an emotional roller coaster and you are riding along with Laura Jane Grace, sharing in her pains and triumphs. Musically, it stands among Against Me!’s best, but lyrically, it stands as one of the most important releases of a generation. This is not empty teenage angst, this is pure emotion bled out onto the page and poured into the microphone. 

Stream: Against Me! – Transgender Dysphoria Blues

Against Me!NPR have posted a full album stream of Against Me!‘ highly anticipated new album, Transgender Dysphoria Blues.

The album, which will be released on January 21st through their own Total Trebel Music label, is the band’s first release since front woman Laura Jane Grace came out as transgender and focuses heavily on that transitional period. Furthermore, Transgender Dysphoria Blues is the band’s first album with Atom Willard (Angels & Airwaves, Rocket from the Crypt) on drums and also features NOFX‘s Fat Mike playing bass on two songs.

Listen to the album here.


Tour: Against Me!

Against Me!Gainsville, Fl punks Against Me! are heading out on the road for a series of dates across the US at the end of this month. The group are supporting the release of their upcoming full length Transgender Dysphoria Blues.

 The album, the band’s sixth, is due for release on January 21st via their own Total Treble Label. Just recently, they released a stream of FUCKMYLIFE666, which can be streamed here. 

Support on all dates will come from Cleveland punks The Sidekicks and Brooklyn politico punks The Shondes.

Full tour dates can be found below:

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Against Me! Album Details & Single Stream

Against Me!Against Me! have announced the release date and track list for their full length follow up to 2010’s White Crosses. The album will be titled Transgender Dysmorphia Blues and is due for release on January 21st via Total Treble Music. The first single is called F**kMyLife666 and can be heard below.

The full track list is below.

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Live Concert Review

Foo Fighters, Against Me!, HiFi Handgrenades

Live (March 28th, 2008)

Rexall Place - Edmonton, Alberta




So far, 2008 has been a lackluster year for punk shows in Edmonton. It’s sad but true. There have been a few big named bands coming through town that had created quite a buzz, Serj Tankian would’ve been a good show most likely, but overall 2008 has been rather pathetic for punk tours thus far. It made it so that the Foo Fighters show was one of the most anticipated rock show of the year and the fact that Against Me! were opening heightened that anticipation.

First on the bill was Detroit’s HiFi Handgrenades, a band who recorded their debut at the Foo Fighters‘ studio and features ex-members of the The Suicide Machines. Unlike their former band, they left all their ska-punk inclinations behind and went for a straight forward pop-punk sound. They merged some old school pop-punk vibes like The Descendents with some newer Allister sounding songs with two separate vocalists which let them switch from smoother delivery to coarse vocal chords. It was on the faster songs like Facing The Firing Squad that stood out and would fit nicely in a Red Scare sampler disc and for an opening band that relatively no people knew they held themselves quite well. Unfortunately, the shotty lighting effects did damper their performance a bit as for 80 percent of the set giant spotlights shone from the back of the stage blinding anyone who attempted to look at the band playing.

Ten minutes later, the tiger from New Wave dropped from the ceiling to a wave of cheers and after another five minutes the Gainesville quartet walked onto the giant stage with silent determination. Having previously played for 600 people at the Dinwoodie Lounge the last time they were in Edmonton, I was unsure of what to expect from them in their new surroundings and whether or not they’d be able to pull it off. But they did. They really, really did.

Against Me! didn’t let the change of venue effect their performance but instead played to their fans in their neo-socialistic punk rock way. Full of confidence, the band played through song after song only stopping to talk once saying “We’re Against Me! from Gainesville and we’d like to thank the Foos for bringing us out on tour.”Most of their set consisted of New Wave cuts, particularly the opening half of their set which started off with Up The Cuts, New Wave, Thrash Unreal, and White People For Peace. They then dove into their history a bit with a great rendition of Pints of Guinness Make You Strong and From Her Lips To God’s Ear. They still scattered a few more New Wave selections like Stop, Americans Abroad and most surprisingly of all, Borne Of The FM Waves Of The Heart which came out surprisingly well considering Tegan Quinn wasn’t there. They ended their set with The Ocean and Don’t Lose Touch – something which Against Me! definitely didn’t do.

By the time The Foo Fighters were ready to hit the stage, Rexall Place had finally filled up and it’s a good thing too because everyone who was in attendance was treated to a classic rock and roll performance from Dave Grohl and his band. Right from the start, Grohl proved that he knows what it takes to be a front man as he personifies everything that Danko Jones so desperately tries to be without any effort of insincerity. He walked down the catwalk, throwing his long hair back and forth and devouring the cheers of the crowd. He was the idealistic rock and roll front man with massive solos (including a solo competition with Chris Shiflett during Stacked Actors) and pure intensity as he ran across the stage but was still able to create an intimate environment when he sincerity thanked the crowd and riled them up by promising the best Foo Fighters show ever.

And really, it was.

With a massive stage set-up, including four monitors that moved up and down the stage showing either the current performance or clips from various music videos, Grohl and company used the coliseum to their advantage during their two hour plus set which saw them hit nearly every one of their hits from their 13 year career including Let It Die, The Pretender, Learn To Fly, Cheer Up Boys (Your Makeup Is Running), and This Is A Call. Halfway through their set, Grohl started to walk down the catwalk once again as another stage was lowered from the ceiling coming to rest at the end of the catwalk where Grohl enthusiastically announced “Hello front people! You used to be back people, but now you’re the front people!”

There they stripped down a handful of songs acoustically while still building them up as they not only had the regular band take the newly formed stage but also a violinist, a percussionist, pianist and a third guitarist. With eight people crammed onto the little stage, the band delivered the songs with intensity despite it’s semi-acoustic format. After a crowd filled interpretation of My Hero, Grohl introduced his band mates and let each have a little solo including the most impressive and only triangle solo I have ever seen. They finished the acoustic stage with Cold Day In The Sun, But Honestly and Everlong during which they headed back to the main stage to end the night with Monkey Wrench and All My Life. After several minutes of chanting “Foo! Foo!” the screens lit up with a picture of the night’s set list as they pulled back from the screen a smiling Grohl was seen egging on the crowd by lifting up fingers indicating the number of songs to be played in the encore. They ended up with three: Big Me, Long Dim Road and Best Of Me before exiting the stage for the final time of the night ending off one the strongest show of the year thus far.

Live Concert Review

Dropkick Murphys, Against Me!, Off With Their Heads

Live (Feb. 26th, 2011)

Congress Theater- Chicago, IL




Plastic cups of Guinness are raised high in the air, if you are not wearing a green t-shirt, you are the minority my friend, the dude next to you has whiskey breath, and his wasted girlfriend is dancing like she’s Irish (for today at least); is it Saint Patrick’s Day? Not quite yet, but the Dropkick Murphys brought two nights of premature St. Patrick’s Day fun to unite the Irish, frat bros, punk rockers, and everyone else looking for a good time.

The Dropkick Murphys dropped into Chicago Saturday, February 26 and Sunday, 27 at the Congress Theater, a venue where the capacity is near 4,000 and a can (not a tallboy) of PBR will cost you 5 bucks a pop. That aside, the venue brings in a lot of great acts, including October’s Riot Fest. I was at the Sunday show which hosted Off With Their Heads, Against Me!, and The Murphys of course. The Saturday bill had the same line-up except Naked Raygun played instead of Against Me!.

Off With Our Heads (OWTH) did not give Chicago much time to miss them with just rolling through town with Less than Jake on February 3. Their 30-40 minute, almost 15 song set was a mix of tracks off In Desolation, From the Bottom, and 2 songs from Hospitals. The floor was packed and the front and center portion of the crowd embraced OWTH’s speedy return to town. Along with the decent sized pit that was in full force during songs like “Their Own Medicine,” “I Am You,” and “Terrorist Attack?,” there was plenty of fists pumping and scattered sing alongs amongst crowd members.

Singer/guitarist Ryan Young admitted that they’ve been playing the same songs for a while, and played “I Just Want You to Know” and “ZZYZX,” two songs they did not play last time in Chicago. Overall, the band energy was felt more in the music than their on-stage presence. OWTH did not move around stage too much, but killed the songs. They packed as much music into their set as possible, without stopping to make chit-chat. The mixed crowd of old dudes with their flap caps, bros in green, girlfriends clenching onto said bros, and the everyday punk rock t-shirt 20-somes clapped with seeming approval as “Clear the Air” ended and Young explained, “Thanks Motherfuckers!”

After a quick twenty minute set change, a banner adorning Against Me!’s (AM!) latest release, White Crosses dropped while Tom Gabel and the gang took the stage. AM! pounded into “Pints of Guinness Make You Strong,” a fitting track for the Murphys direct support to start with. After this pot of gold, I figured my luck would disappear and the band would trek into lesser enjoyed and listened to tracks, but I was pleasantly surprised with a blow away set list.

AM! played nearly half of As the Eternal Cowboy, a personal favorite, with tracks I haven’t heard live in years. Everyone in the band had big smiles on their faces, bassist Andrew Seward was running back and forth on-stage throughout the set, and they sounded great. Gabel looked reminiscent of Tim McIlrath during the Fat years with his flowing, curly, near shoulder length hair. Gabel’s voice sounded great, he was rocking through the instrumental parts, and every song was dead on.

The front portion of the floor went crazy for songs like “From Her Lips to God’s Ears (The Energizer),” “Rice and Bread,” and “Walking is Still Honest.” A good portion of the crowd was familiar with the set and if not pogoing up and down, at least singing along. Songs like “Thrash Unreal” and “I Was a Teenage Anarchist” had more of the nearly full venue dancing around as their whiskey shots started to take toll. AM! stole the show as they played the shit out of their music, never stopped moving, and the a never ending positive-vibe they displayed on-stage. You could tell they were happy to be there, having the best time ever and really would rather be in-front of these people playing their songs than anywhere else.

The Dropkick Murphys (DKM) are currently touring in support of their new album, Going Out in Style, released March 1, 2011. Going Out in Style is the band’s seventh full-length studio album and the follow-up to 2007’s The Meanest of Times. DKM blend punk rock, Celtic folk, and American rock ‘n roll to create a style of music that draws in everyone from frat boys to punk rockers to teenage girls. The near capacity venue was no exception this evening, packed with people of all ages and styles.

The band took the stage with the cover of Going Out in Style in the background, an elaborate, elevated set-up where a back-up strings section sat, and green and red lights throughout the performance. Lead vocalist Al Barr moved back and forth the stage dressed from head-to-toe in black with black converse. His energy was matched by his six band members playing everything from the bagpipes to the mandolin and accordion.

The venue is big enough that several pits broke-out, but nothing got too crazy in the crowd. The audience mostly jumped around while pumping their fists in the air, and the pits were small and tame. In previous years I’ve seen the Murphys, the fans have been insane with huge Irish flags in the air and vicious pits. The crowd did however break the barricade, and had to stop the set for a bit to temporarily set up a replacement.

The energy did not die amongst the band as they played an impressive approximately 25 song set list. They played many songs from Going out in Style, receiving a positive response from tracks like “Going Out in Style,” “Memorial Day,” and “Hang ‘Em High.” Along with the newbies, they played fan favorites “Citizen C.I.A.,” “Bar Room Hero,” and “Kiss Me, I’m Shitfaced.”

The Murphy’s wrapped up their second night in Chicago with a phenomenal bill of opening of acts, and enough raw emotion and energy packed performances to last concertgoers until next time Congress barricade needs a good breaking.

Live Concert Review

Against Me!, Mastodon

Live (May 15th, 2007)

The Kool Haus- Toronto, Ontario




As torrential rains poured down on Toronto last Tuesday, you could tell there was something more in the air than just a storm. A fantastic tour was also raining down on the Kool Haus that involved These Arms are Snakes, Cursive, Against Me, and Mastodon. I couldn’t wait to see how this mixture of diverse bands was going to play out.

Now because of the intense rains, and the majority of people who can’t drive in the rain, I had to miss the first two bands on the bill due to traffic. But when I finally did arrive, the Kool Haus was filled with hardcore punks, coolest of the cool indie kids, and my favorite, the ass kicking metal heads. One group of fans would scream for Against Me, and the rival Mastodon faithful would chant for Mastadon. It was all in good fun and it kept the energy flowing.

Then our four favorite sons from Gainesville Florida came out, dressed in black, and as the intro drums from Pints of Guinness makes you Strong kicked in the Kool Haus went nuts. Once again I don’t know if it was the storm outside, but I have never seen a Toronto crowd with as much moxie as I did that night. Fists were thrown, and security did not mess around as a steady parade of punkers were marched out the front door, as Against Me ripped through their songs. It got so bad at one point, that front man Tom Gabel had to ask the security “What was going on”?

This is the second time I have seen Against Me playing recently with no noticeable bottles of Budweiser littering the stage. I am not sure if the boys are going alcohol free during their performances, but I have also never seen them as tight as they were that night. This band has been on the road constantly, and even though they haven’t been around all that long, they look like seasoned veteran road warriors up there, and they play like it too.

They focused heavily on their released material but also played three or four new songs that have me physically counting down the days until their latest release “New Wave” drops. There is a reason there is so much buzz around these guys, and they have to be seen live. I find it intriguing how they seem to close themselves off to the audience between songs, never speaking to the crowd, and then as soon as they strike the chords, and Tom begins to sing, it is all about delivering perfection to the audience.

After a short set change, and an exodus of happy pogo’rs, a sea of angry devil horns filled the Kool Haus, as it was now time for a little metal brought to us courtesy of Mastodon. Security was already uptight from the Against Me show, so their intensity was felt by the kids in the front row. Mastodon was touring in support of their latest release Blood Mountain.

Now I am not familiar with the band at all, but I really enjoyed their rootsy, thundering, technical, authentic metal sound, which they created, and the drummer’s kit was painted to tribute Randy Rhodes, which I thought was really cool.

I thought the show was really successful, and nothing was lost with the drastically different music styles the bands played.and gave music fans from all genres something to bang their heads to.


Live Concert Review

Against Me!

Live (September 19th, 2010)

Edmonton Event Centre - Edmonton, Alberta




For the second time this year, Against Me! rolled into town; although this time they were headlining instead of opening for Billy Talent and were touring in support of White Crosses, not in anticipation of it.

It’s a minute detail for sure, but an important one nonetheless; for that difference enabled Against Me! to put on a drastically different show – although not in the way you may have expected. For back in March when they played at Rexall, a hundred days before White Crosses was legally available, Against Me!pretty much only played new songs. In their thirty-five minute set, all but two cuts were from their new album which made them new for not only the people who had never heard of them before but for their hardcore fans too.

This time, well after the release of White Crosses, they only played five cuts from the album and instead dove deep into their back catalogue. Their old school fans ate it up- it was evident that they would as soon as they jumped into Pints of Guinness Make You Strong after the opening cut of High Pressure Low.Their transitions were perfect, as they switched from songs like Suffocation to Don’t Lose Touch and into Cliché Guevara without a moment’s hesitation.

There’s no denying that the albums – from Reinventing Axl Rose to White Crosses – are all different in their own way but in their live show, it all fits together. Every song was Against Me! to a T. The band was in total control, having fun and with a sturdy stage presence – even when they pulled out a full band version of Gabel’s solo song Amputations for the first song of the encore.  The only difference, instead, was from the crowd’s reactions to the different songs.

A friend of mine who attended the Calgary show put it best saying “it seemed that most of the “hardcore” AM fans have faded away and instead have been replaced by lukewarm radio listeners who just want to hear the singles.” So there you had it, the older fans came out for the older material while the newer fans sang with the new material – which created a very varied tempo in the pit from Reinventing Axl Rose to Stop.

But throughout it all, the band remained constant, confident and strong.  It was a band on top of their game, switching between new and old without pause. Yes, they missed a few songs I wanted to hear (Because of The Shame, Baby Im An Anarchist, Problems and Walking Is Still Honest were a few of the glaring omissions) but Rice and Bread, TSR and Turn Those Clapping Hands Into Angry Balled Fists came as nice surprises.

Will Against Me! ever be able to recreate the chaotic joy that they had at the Dinwoodie Lounge a few years back? After all, anyone who went to that show, will surely still have fond memories from it. Sadly, it’s unlikely. The crowd has changed and evolved along with – as some people would argue – the band; which changes the tempo and atmosphere of the concert. But that still didn’t take away from the fact that Against Me! are still putting on one of the better punk shows around.

Live Concert Review

Against Me!, Japanther, Saint Alvia

Live (September 12th, 2008)

Edmonton Event Centre - Edmonton, Albert




So the fall concert season has finally started, and it looks as if it will be the first solid concert season of the year. It started with the likes of Rancid and was quickly followed up by this show; a show who’s headlining act has received some of the most polarizing reactions in recent memory. Everyone seems to either hate them or love them. Of course, I’m talking about Against Me!, a band who has been making waves over the past two years with each and every one of their actions being carefully scrutinized and analyzed by the ever loving message board society. Their cross Canada tour made equally as many waves, however their fans were still out in full force as the band started closing in on the tour’s end; and those who were there were treated to a pretty entertaining punk rock show.

Burlington, Ontario’s Saint Alvia were first up and they began their set in a very unique way: by letting a university professor introduce them. Gordon Laxer came on to promote a protest that was happening the following day and raise awareness for the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America. Unfortunately for him, most of what he said went understood and while people were happily chanting “down with Bush” – very few actually knew why they were chanting it. As Laxer left the stage the six piece started their actual set with a nice mixture of songs from both their recently released Between The Linesalbum and their self-titled debut. Hitting tracks like Between The Lines, Blonde Kryptonite, Americafioso, Don’t Wanna Wait Forever and Business as UsualSaint Alvia played a solid set that saw them showing off their idea of a genre-free rock band.

The band were strong enough to attract numerous fans to their merch table afterwards and would probably pull a good crowd back again when they next travel through town. That’s much more than what can be said for the following band, Japanther, who were actually painful to listen to. They came on with a decent concept: a bassist, a drummer and a mass amount of sampling with vocals sang through microphones that looked like old school telephones. The Brooklyn duo were set to be memorable – and they were, just not in the right limelight. They focused way too much on distorted, industrialized vocals and the use of those previously mentioned samples. The drummer, who attempted to pump up the crowd by swearing and raising his hands up, simply faked drumming through any of the complicated drum beats and instead let the pre-recorded audio do all the work and the only time anyone from the crowd got really into it was when they started a Ramones cover. But that only lasted the “hey ho! lets go!” part before they split off into another distorted song with no appeal. Its very rare that I would avoid seeing a band live again, but Japanther are one of those bands.

Luckily, Against Me! made up for the Brooklyn’s mishap and stormed the stage with confidence and intensity. Opening with New Wave, the band played most of their major label debut – in fact they only skipped out on Animal and The Ocean as once again James took over Tegan Quinn’s role in Borne On The FM Waves of The Heart. The band didn’t forget their fans who had been there from the start either as they played some rousing renditions of Pints of Guiness Make You Strong, Jordan’s First Choice, Walking Is Still Honest, This Shit Rules, Cliche Guevara, Miami, Don’t Lose Touch and From Her Lips to God’s Ears (The Energizer). Like always, the band opted not to speak, but instead just sang with as little banter as possible. After a demand for an encore, Tom Gable came on and debuted one of his new solo songs, Amputations. It would’ve been nice to have heard Anna Is A Fucking Stool Pigeonor I Can’t See You But I Know You’re There but either way it was still a good way to kick off the encore which also featured Sink Florida Sink, Up The Cuts, and We Laugh At Danger (And Break All The Rules).

Against Me! were as tight as ever, put on a solid show with energy and conviction. However, with a bigger venue came more people; and with a major radio single came more people who don’t normally go to concerts. This made the show slightly less memorable than, say, a year and a half ago at the Dinwoodie Lounge which saw the band playing to 600 people instead of 1,700. Then again, you can’t blame the band for some annoying crowd members.

Human Parts (ex-Against Me!) Release New Record, Video

human partsAndrew Seward, former bassist for Against Me! has returned to the music scene with Human Parts, a new alt-indie outfit with which he attempts to combine the two most important things in his life: his family and music. Human Parts is most definitely a family affair with his wife Verite Seward contributing vocals with their children jumping on beds and playing in a kiddie pool in the video for Now We Wake Up (which can be seen here). Human Parts is rounded out with Gainsville based friends Kim Helm (Whiskey & Company), guitarist Dave Kotinsley (who is the Sewards’ tattoo artist and also married them) and Minneapolis transplant Andy “Pants” Schwich.

The song is taken from their self titled debut album, which was released on 10th September via No Idea Records.

When asked about how the band came together and his inspiration for the record, Seward has said:

“We were just watching our kids and Andy started humming a Sam Cooke song and I could tell he had a good voice so we went straight from the swing set to the studio and recorded some vocals…I felt like I had discovered a voice no one had heard here because he’s never been in a band…These songs were recorded in chunks at my house so when my wife and daughter would go do errands I’d have everything cued up and as soon as they left I’d turn off the fan, hit record and try to do two perfect drum takes,” 

 “I’ve been gone for a decade and I love being home but I’ve also been playing in bands since I was 14 so I don’t know how not to do this, me and my wife talk all the time about the fact that we want our kid to see that neither of us were ever afraid to do anything and this band embodies that commitment.”

Human Parts are playing TheFest in Gainsville, FL on November 3rd.

Tom Gabel- Heart Burns

Tom Gabel

Heart Burns

Sire Records

Rating: 4/5




Many, many months ago some live videos of Tom Gabel leaked onto the internet. It was an entire set of new, solo material that he performed at Emo’s in Austin and man was it great. Despite the less than stellar sound quality, the songs sounded great. They were raw, intense and aggressive – a throw back to Against Me!‘s Reinventing Axl Rose years; and they got people excited. Then, in September Gabel was added to a highly anticipated solo tour of Chuck Ragan, Tim Barry and Ben Nichols which was soon followed by an announcement that he was in the studio recording those songs. A few days later the date was set, Heart Burns would see the light of day in less than a month and with each passing week Gabel released a new video with a new song from the EP online.

But despite all of that excitement, Heart Burns still came as a surprise and it didn’t sound remotely similar to what I was expecting. You see, the studio versions of the songs aren’t nearly as raw or stripped down as either the live videos at Emo’s or the live videos that Gabel released to promote the EP. Instead, all seven songs contain a lot more padding and additional little tweaks which is sometimes great and sometimes disappointing.

The biggest disappointment is definitely Anna Is A Stool Pigeon. The song was one of the highlights of the live clips because of its raw ferocity. Gabel unrelentlessly attacked an undercover FBI agent and successfully got the listener riled up. It was an angry protest song depicting a love story gone wrong amidst a thriving political back story. On Heart BurnsAnna Is A Stool Pigeon seems to be lacking some of that anger and doesn’t piss off the listener. The addition of the harmonica by Chuck Ragan is a nice touch but the song feels a little too polished and upbeat. It has a stronger pop tendency than it should have and while it still remains a solid song, it lacks something that was present in those live videos. Another shocking change comes from the opening seconds of the EP on Random Hearts. It starts off with some loops and beats which would fit better within a Blaqk Audio or Heavens release than something from the Against Me! front man. Luckily his vocals are able to save the song but it still remains a slightly off putting opener.

But sometimes those extra few elements are able to really propel the song forward and make them stronger than they would be by themselves. Take Conceptual Paths who doesn’t use Gabel‘s guitar as the backbone but instead a bass drum kick that was absent in the live videos. On Harsh Realms it is the production quality that shines through as Gabel‘s vocals are delivered through a reverb microphone and with an echo style. Its an extremely simple song and the vocal delivery helps to emphasize that. 100 Years Of War, on the other hand, goes in the completely opposite direction. It starts off like Conceptual Pathswith a bass kick drive and angry acoustic guitar riffs but soon expands with some perfectly placed background vocals from the Eagle Rock Choir. It transforms the song from a sparse simple one into a much bigger and uniting song and works surprisingly well.

Overall though, Gabel has released an EP that you may not have expected to hear but works really well nonetheless. There’s only two things that could have made this record better and that is if Anna Is A Stool Pigeon wasn’t as polished as it is on here and if he had released I Can’t See You but I Know You’re There. That was by far the best song from the Emo’s set list and is leaves a big void on the EP. Other than that though, fans of Against me! – both old and new – will thoroughly enjoy it.


Broadcaster Announce New Album / Stream Single

BroadcasterLong Island, NY pop-punks Broadcaster have announced that their sophomore full length, titled A Million Hours, will be released on October 2nd via Jumpstart Records. The album was produced by J Robbinswho has worked with the likes of Jawbreaker, Dismemberment Plan and Against Me! in the past and whose skills helped hone Broadcasters’ blend of modern punk and pop. 

A stream for the first single, Tomorrow is available on their soundcloud page.

Against Me! Release Free Digital Acoustic EP

Against Me!Against Me! is giving away digital downloads of their new acoustic EP, True Trans, over on their website.  The band is currently gearing up for the release of their follow up to 2010’s White Crosses with Transgender Dysphoria Blues.

Download the disc here.


Against Me! FInish Tracking Next Album

Against Me!According to a recent tweet, Against Me! has finished tracking their next full length.  The original tweet from front woman Laura Jane Grace reads:

“At the cost of a lot of friends and having probably ruined my life, finished tracking Transgender Dysphoria Blues…”

The album will follow 2010’s White Crosses.


Andrew Seward Leaves Against Me!

Against Me!Bassist Andrew Seward has announced his departure from Florida punk act Against Me!

The band made the announcement saying:

I’ve left AM!. No drama here. I reached a point where I need to focus on other things. Respect to Laura and James. The last 10 years ruled. -Andrew

It’s been an honor and privilege to stand on stage with Andrew for the past 10 years. I am sad to see him go, but I wish nothing but the best for him moving forward. – James

It’s heartbreaking to know that Andrew won’t be standing next to me out on stage the next time I stand upon one. 
I realize that at this point there’s a possibility that it may look pretty ridiculous to carry on playing under the name Against Me! 
If I didn’t feel like I had something that I really needed to say with the album we’ve been working on for the past year then I’d humbly hang the hat and move on.
Andrew’s been a solid partner. Some of the best sleep I’ve ever gotten has been in the back of a 15 passenger van with him behind the wheel. He’s got a steady hand and has always been someone I’ve trusted. The definition of a good friend. I wish him all the best in his journey. -LJ

The band is currently finishing work on their new album, Transgender Dysphoria Blues.


Joan Jett Joined By Laura Jane Grace On Stage For New Song

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts was recently joined by Laura Jane Grace (Against Me!) to perform a new song titled “Soulmates to Strangers.”  The track was written by Grace for Jett.

Watch the performance below.

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Against Me! Drops From Bad Religion Tour

Against Me!Against Me! have announced that they will be pulling out from their upcoming North American tour with Bad Religion and Polar Bear Club. They explained:

Unfortunately we have to cancel all of our appearances scheduled for the upcoming tour with Bad Religion and Polar Bear Club.

Canceling a tour is definitely not a decision we would make lightly. At this moment, due to our current uncertainty over who is going to be playing drums with us, we feel like we are lacking the ability to put on the show our fans deserve and we think that the best thing for us to do right now is take some time to regroup and finish a record.

Our most sincere apologies to Bad Religion, Polar Club and all of the agents and promoters involved with the tour but most importantly to the fans who were coming out to see us.

If anyone who bought tickets doesn’t want to go to the show now or walks away from the show feeling disappointed we’ll definitely do our best to accommodate some spots on our guest list next time we pass through your town, which hopefully won’t be too long from now.

Against Me! are currently in the studio recording Transgender Dystopia Blues; their follow up to White Crosses and first record for their new label, Total Treble Music.


Tours: Bad Religion / Polar Bear Club / Against Me!

BadReligionBad Religion has announce tour dates with Polar Bear Club and Against Me! that will run in March and April.  The band will be supporting their brand new album, True North, which will mark their 16th studio album, and will be available on January 22, 2013 through Epitaph Records.  

Tour dates can be found below.

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Jay Weinberg Leaves Against Me!

Against Me!Against Me!‘s drummer Jay Weinberg announced over Twitter that he will be leaving the band. Weinberg’s message read:

“I want to let you all know that I am leaving Against Me!, and I wish them all the best.”

No comments have been made from any of the other band members. Weinberg is the second Against Me! drummer since long time drummer Warren Oakes left in 2009. Oakes was replaced by Hot Water Music‘s George Rebelo who was in turn replaced by Weinberg when HWM reformed. 

Against Me!‘s upcoming album Transgender Dysphoria Blues does not yet have a scheduled release date.

Against Me! - We're Never Going Home [DVD]

Against Me!

We're Never Going Home [DVD]

Fat Wreck Chords

Rating: 4/5




Excluding a few compilation tracks, the only Against Me! material I have heard was on their recent Fat Wreck Chords release, The Eternal Cowboy; and I wasn’t impressed. Based on that CD, I wouldn’t recommend Against Me! to any of my friends; but after watching the band’s latest DVD, We’re Never Going Home, I must admit that my opinion has completely changed regarding the band.

We’re Never Going Home isn’t a live DVD like most of the DVDs that are released, it is a documentary. A documentary about a tour that took place from April 1st to May 2nd 2004 with Planes Mistake For Stars and No Choice. Of course, live performances are scattered around the documentary; performances in small, intimate venues surrounded by sweating, energetic fans. Right after the first live part of the DVD I thought to myself: “wow, that was good.” They sounded amazing, Tom Gamble’s voice was strong and harsh, and the crowd was insane. I decided right then and there that if they ever do come by Edmonton, I’ll definitely check them out. The live portions of the video made me change my opinion on them as musicians, but the DVD isn’t about their live show, it is a documentary about them; and that part made me respect them.

The DVD focuses on that one month of touring for Against Me!. It has interviews of the members and fans, drinking games, commentary from the members and other bands, a section on Buddy the golden retriever, and a large section on them being courted by multiple major labels. Labels like Virgin, Sire, Universal, and more have all been trying to get Against Me! to sign with them; the most prominent of them being Universal. They have the band telling us exactly what was going on and what they were thinking about it all. And what they said, although at times I disagreed, made sense, and really made me respect them. Adding some more insight to the whole major label thing, the documentary also has two employees of Universal Records talking about signing bands, and Fat Mike‘s views on the whole thing. The three opinions really make for a well rounded view of the entire process; and you’ll be happy to know that Against Me! have not signed to a major yet, and probably never will.

Another interesting part of the documentary was the section at the Skate And Surf Festival in Asbury Park, NJ. This section shows a side of the band which, although is funny, would probably piss you off if you were the other person. All the while you can still see their point of view too, its just makes you think a bit.

We’re Never Going Home isn’t for everyone. Some people will find it boring, some people will find the band annoying, while others, like myself, will learn from the DVD. I learnt about the band and their opinions, and I learnt about a side of the record industry I had no idea about before, and how pig headed some fans can be. From now on, I will recommend Against Me! to my friends, and I will watch this DVD again.

Against Me! -White Crosses

Against Me!

White Crosses

Sire Records

Rating: 4.5/5




Against Me! are the biggest band in punk rock.

I have absolutely no problem making that statement with no ifs, ands or buts. Against Me! are the biggest band in punk rock. Everybody knows them, everybody talks about them, and everybody loves them or loves to hate them. They are the poster child of rebellious teen angst while at the same time constantly being called sell-outs, posers and impostors.  Yet, throughout it all, they remain virtuous. They do what they want and ignore the rest. They write songs they want with the occasional intention simply to fuck with the listener. They have ambition and are unashamed to say what they want; and while some crusty anarcho-punks living in their parents basements may call them names and slash their tires because they no longer agree with the exact same guidelines as they once proclaimed, the people who take the time to understand their intentions see beyond the outward changes and see how Against Me! went from singing Baby I’m An Anarchist to I was A Teenage Anarchist – and it all makes sense.

So yes, Against Me! are the biggest band in punk rock and their fifth studio album, White Crosses, pushes their dominion even further. Gone are the anarchists chants of Re-inventing Axl Rose, gone are the revolutionary calls of As The Eternal Cowboy, gone is the political commentary from Searching for A Former Clarity and gone are the examinations of the music industry from New Wave. Instead, White Crosses is a personal record, an introspective look at one’s self, their motivation and evolution along with a vividly picturesque trip down southern Florida streets.

No other song explains the evolution of Against Me! better than I Was A Teenage Anarchist, a distant follow-up to their famed Baby, I’m An Anarchist track from their debut. It’s a song that plainly states that not everything is as black and white as it may have once seemed. In it, Tom Gabel sings “I was a teenage anarchist, but then the scene got too rigid. / It was a mob mentality; they set their rifle sights on me. / Narrow visions of autonomy, you want me to surrender my identity” and no one could put it better than that.

Other than the pointed title track about smashing crosses symbolising abortion on a church lawn, the remainder of White Crosses is much more widely accessible with far reaching lyrical content and universally relatable lyrics. Because of the Shame is a powerfully sincere look at the death of a love one – possible the title character from New Wave’s smash hit Thrash UnrealSuffocation, packed with a simple and rousing chorus chant of Suffocation! Modern life in the Western World!, takes a critical look at today’s society while We’re Breaking Up details the near derailment of the band last year but can also be interpreted to any failed relationship. Rapid Decompression is a lightning fast bullet – a start contrast to the acoustic ballad Ache with Me – that sees someone on the brink of a breakdown and is nicely sandwiched between two album highlights: Spanish Mosh and Bamboo Bones; both of which sees Gabel looking for strength within himself.  The later of which sees Gabel strain his voice as he yells one of the best Against Me! couplets ever: “What god doesn’t give to you / you’ve got to go and get for yourself.”

But more than just the lyrical changes, White Crosses is yet another evolution in the sound of Against Me! as Gabel and his band of brothers deliver a much fuller sounding record than anything before. Butch Vig has left a stronger mark on this record than he did on New Wave, making White Crosses a boisterous explosion that has modern elements while giving nods back to classic punk bands of the past – likeThe Replacements or The Cure. There’s an echoey quality to Gabel’s voice at times that brings back images of British punk from the early eighties and never before could you imagine saying that the addition of a keyboard to an Against Me! track would work to elevate the song – but it’s impossible to imagine Because of the Shame or We’re Breaking Up without it.

White Crosses is not necessarily what you’d expect from Against Me!; but then again, nothing they do is ever what you’d expect them to do. It is an anthemic album, dynamic and complete, with enough oomph to have an entire stadium sing along with them.  It is a personal record, a sincere record, a self-deprecating record and an Against Me! record made for Against Me! – it just so happens that its good enough that other people will also love it.

Against Me! - Searching For Former Clarity

Against Me!

Searching For A Former Clarity

Fat Wreck Chords

Rating: 3.5/5




I’ve had mixed feelings about Against Me! for a bit, but lately they have been swaying more towards the positive side of things. You see, the first CD I heard by them, As The Eternal Cowboy, wasn’t that good a CD. It had a few good songs on it, but nothing to make it lasting, so I immediately wrote of f the Floridians. Around a year later though, they came back to the forefront with an absolutely phenomenal DVD, We’re Never Going Home! – and that DVD immediately changed my mind about them. I actually became a huge fan of them because of that one DVD. A few months later, they came through Edmonton for the first time and I found myself in the mosh pit. Despite the fact that I was ner the verge of throwing up, the concert was still lots of fun and the band was amazing. So its safe to say my emotions towards them were turning upwards quickly, and I was actually becoming excited to hear their new CD, Searcing For A Former Clarity; and now that I have, it’s obvious it was worth the wait.

From the minute I herd them belt out Problems at their concert, I knew the CD would be good. The image of James beating himself in the chest along with the chorus is still, and probably will be for a long time, implated in my memory. And where Problems kicked off, the album continues.You still get the classic sing along folk punk that has made Against Me! a fan favorite. After one listen of Holy Shit! you can easily picture yourself screaming along with Gabel’s croaky vocals during the chorus of “Oh Good God! Holy Shit! The Jokes On Us! Not On Them!” or chanting “On The Inside” during Unprotected Sex With Multiple Partners.

Of course, while they do have some spectacular songs like Pretty Girls (The Mover), Don’t Lose Touch and the album-titled Searching For A Former Clarity (which is an amazing slow song depicting the death of someone), there are the odd few weak ones which made you reach for the skip button or fall asleep. Long with the slow and monotonous How Low or Joy, and Violence could use a good hard kick at times too.

Nevertheless, Searching For A Former Clarity is a pretty solid album throughout. It was the album I was expecting from the vocally driven folk punks, with an odd few songs that even went over my expectations. It’s a lot better than As The Eternal Cowboy and I’m sure long time fans will swoon over it.


Against Me! - As The Original Cowboy

Against Me!

As The Original Cowboy

Fat Wreck Chords

Rating: 3.5/5




As The Eternal Cowboy is my least favourite Against Me! album. It was my first introduction to them and it lead me to write them off quite quickly. My musical tastes hadn’t evolved enough to embrace them yet and it failed to truly captivate me. A year later their documentary – We’re Never Going Home – converted me to a fan and I’ve been one ever since, picking up their new and old releases along the way.

But to this day The Eternal Cowboy is still my least favourite release and despite having some great songs like Cliché Guevarra and TSR, I could never truly dive into it.

It is because of that that I was both excited and ambivalent to hear The Original Cowboy, the collection of demos that would eventually become their Fat debut. At its core, the demo suffers from the same unexplainable problems of the finished product, however there’s something here that makes me think that I wouldn’t have written them off so quickly had they released these originally.

To the casual ear, there’s not many changes here compared to their final versions – having not listened to The Eternal Cowboy a whole lot myself, I still find it hard to pick out some of the changes, but they are there.  The obvious change is the track listing, which has received a massive overhaul but the value of the release is in the more subtle changes as the changes in intensity, speed and production quality are minor but make a big difference.

The entirety of The Original Cowboy is much more in-your-face and raw than The Eternal Cowboy (excluding Cavalier Eternal which Fat Mike specifically asked to be placed on The Eternal Cowboywhen it was released). Tom Gabel’s vocals are harsher, on the edge of screaming for the entire time and worn out because of it whereas they are softer and better rested on Eternal Cowboy.   The music is more abrasive, with a more distinctive sound and higher use of distortion. The recording seems a lot dirtier, more akin to Re-inventing Axl Rose than The Eternal Cowboy as there is more ferocity embedded within it and it sounds like a unified album instead of a collection of random demos through haphazardly together.

Where The Eternal Cowboy was stripped down to an acoustic guitar on tracks like Unsubstantiated Rumours, they use a full band and go all out on The Original Cowboy and that intensity carries the album further than The Eternal Cowboy ever went.

Most people won’t need to check out the record as it is made more for the uber-fans and completists  but there’s no denying that if they had released these cuts originally, it would not have taken me as long to become a fan.

Against Me! - New Wave

Against Me!

New Wave

Sire Records

Rating: 4.5/5




There’s no doubt about it, in the punk scene, New Wave is by far one of the most highly anticipated release of 2007. Fans old and new want to love it and devour it entirely while other fans expect it to fail and are ready to yell out “sell-outs!” the instant the record drops. Every press announcement was met with much talk, video releases and behind the scenes footage soared through the internet and every interview Tom Gabel did was taken and dissected ceremoniously word by word. It all combined to build up a sort of anticipation that most major labels releases only dream of as the consensus is that New Wave will either be absolutely amazing or absolutely horrible – luckily for us, it falls into the former of the two.

The band opens up with a rolling guitar riff and steady drum beat on the title track which instantly questions what everyone’s been saying, blatantly asking “Are you ready to brave new directions?” Because rather than simply re-writing their first few albums over and over again Against Me! have developed a more cohesive sound – following in the same footsteps that Searching For Former Clarity did comparative to Is The Eternal Cowboy. The album is rich and strong, full with sing along choruses and sharp vocals from Gabel. Thrash Unreal is a foot stomping track formed around Warren Oakes drumming and Gabel’s harsh vocals mixed with some “bah-bah-bah-da-bah” in the backgrounds and Stop is one of the catchiest songs the band has ever written and instantly jumps out at listener lyrically and sonically.

The lyrics are polarizing and contradictory, saying something but hinting at another. White People For Peace is a song depicting the futility of protest songs while simultaneously being a protest song, Stopcovers the issue of signing to major label (Stop! Take some time to think, figure out what’s important to you./ You’ve got to make a serious decision.). Thrash Unreal is an honest depiction of a girl from the new wave era falling into drug use and growing up to be alone while Piss And Vinegar sees an irate Gabel condemning the bull shit attitude of the music industry and begging for honesty.

One of the most surprising tracks on the album, and one which will become a Against Me! fan favorite, is Borne Of The FM Waves Of The Heart – a duet with Tegan Quinn of Tegan And Sara. With a soft guitar melody, the song focuses around the vocal combination between Quinn and Gabel. The intensity slowly builds as does the emotion as it cumulates towards the closing moments of the song.

At just ten songs, the album is the perfect length. Searching For Former Clarity fell victim to too much filler, where as this one barely has any – Animal being the only weak track on the whole disc. While quite different than Re-inventing Axl RoseNew Wave is the album Against Me! needed to release. It shows a progression in the band, a very crisp rock sound with pop tendencies still based around the folk punk vocal sound that Against Me! grew up on. It will still be scrutinized and ripped apart from every side, every note and every lyric – but after all of that, people will realize that New Wave is still an amazing album – it’s just not the same album you heard back in 2002.

Against Me! - As The Eternal Cowboy

Against Me!

As The Eternal Cowboy

Fat Wreck Chords

Rating: 2.5/5




Against Me!, which started as a 17 year old boy singing acoustic songs, have just given Fat Wreck Chords their second full length release (their first being on No Idea Records). The Eternal Cowboyfeatures 11 new tracks fronted by the unique vocal sounds of Tom Gabel. From the hard hitting opening track (This Shit Rules) to the much slower final track (Cavalier Eternal); you hear a multiple of different musical styles. From country, to folk, to punk, to blues and even hardcore. Each song is very different from the one before and the one after.

As I mentioned above, each track is slightly different from one another. Some ever have a radical differences. But each song is still something quite enjoyable; although some are more enjoyable then others. The musical style can be simple anything. It could be fast or slow, acoustic or fully blasting amps, it could have some country feel or even a blues feel; it could be anything.

The lyrics are what stand out the most though. They tell vivid stories from different perspectives then you normally hear. A break up song (Cavalier Eternal), a party song (This Shit Rules), fighting against oppression (Rice & Bread), and even songs about sex (You Look Like I Need A Drink) are some of the various topics found in the album.

Overall, this album has a vast amount of differences. It is a good album; but by no means for everyone.

Tours: Joyce Manor / Andrew Jackson Jihad / Against Me! / Algernon Cadwallader

Joyce ManorJoyce Manor has updated their tour schedule with some brand new West Coast dates supporting Against Me! and sharing the stage with the likes of Andrew Jackson Jihad to name a few.  The summer tour will see the band hit all the major summer festivals, inluding Chaos in Tejas, FYF, Fest 11 and Music Fest NW.  

Tour dates can be found below.

The Los Angeles pop punk quartet continues to support their sophomore album, Of All Things I Will Soon Grow Tired, released earlier this year  via Asian Man Records.  

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Tours: Against Me! / Joyce Manor / Andrew Jackson Jihad

Against Me!Against Me! has announced that they will be going on tour in September with support from Andrew Jackson Jihad and Joyce Manor. Against Me! is currently orking on their next full length and foloow up to 2010’s White Crosses, titled Gender Dysphoria Blues.

Dates can be found below.

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Against Me! Title Next Album; Laura Jane Grace Makes Stage Debut

Against Me!Against Me! has announced that their next album’s title will take inspiration from former front man Tom Gabel’s recent transformation into front woman Laura Jane Grace.  The effort will be called Transgender Dysphoria Blues, with a title track of the same name gracing the disc.

Some recent footage of Laura performing with the band can be found below.


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Against Me!’s Tom Gabel To Become A Woman

Tom Gabel

In the upcoming issue of Rolling Stone magazine, Tom Gabel of Against Me! has come out as transgender and revealed plans to begin the process of becoming a woman.  The article, which is previewed here, states that Gabel has been privately dealing with gender dysphoria for years and will soon begin the process via hormone and electrolysis treatments. He will remain married to his wife Heather, of which she has a two-year old daughter with, and he plans to take the name Laura Jane Grace.

According to Rolling Stone, this is the first time a major rock star has come out openly as transgender. Gabel reflected on the impact of the announcement saying:

“I’m going to have embarrassing moments, and that won’t be fun. But that’s part of what talking to you is about – is hoping people will understand, and hoping they’ll be fairly kind.” 

The full story on Gabel’s transformation will be in the June issue of Rolling Stone available Friday, May 11th.

Tours: The Cult / Against Me! / Icarus Line

the cultThe Cult have revealed the schedule for their upcoming 20-date North American tour in support of Choice of Weapon, the band’s first new studio album in five years, which due out May 22 through Cooking Vinyl. The album was produced by Chris Goss (Queens of the Stone Age, U.N.K.L.E. Masters of Reality) and Bob Rock (Metallica, Bush, The Cult’s Sonic Temple).

The tour is set to kick off on Friday, May 25 in San Diego, CA. For most of the dates, The Cult will be supported by Against Me! and The Icarus Line.  Ticket on-sales begin later this week.

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