Artist Spotlight courtesy of Nunez
Hello friends! Today I am delighted to tell you all about my favorite band in the entire world, Against Me! I have seen them close to 20 times and they get better every time I see them.
Anyway, let’s get to the good stuff!
Reinventing Axl Rose was my first exposure to the band before seeing them on an Anti-Flag tour in 2003. This can be a challenging listen for the uninitiated, but please stick with it if you’re going to try it out. There are so many hits on this album, I had a hard time coming up with the track I wanted to feature, but I finally settled on one of my personal favorites, Walking is Still Honest.
With James Bowman and Warren Oakes in the band and newcomer Andrew Seward taking on bass duties the final piece of the puzzle came into place and what I think is the definitive Against Me! lineup was unleashed. These four became widely known for their incredible, high-energy live shows and more importantly, putting out some of the best music of the bands entire career. Starting with a three song EP called The Disco Before the Breakdown. These songs resonate as powerfully today as when they were released. I’ve included the entire EP for you. Please play this one loud.
Ladies and Gentlemen I give you, Against Me! as the Eternal Cowboy. An 11 song masterpiece that features some of the most passionate, moving music I have ever heard in my life. PLEASE do yourself a favor and listen to the record in its entirety. I could gush about all of the songs, but I’ve narrowed it down to one must listen; Turn those Clapping Hands into Angry Balled Fists.
The next record is a bit divisive among fans. The band was beginning to feel some disconnect as well as heading into some darker material. The song names were shorter and many were simply lifted from the names that fans had given the files when the record leaked online. Searching for a Former Clarity took a long time to really click with me, but it’s such a great record. Here is: Problems.
After arguably taking the band as far as it was going to go in the independent punk scene, Against Me! signed to Sire Records and released the album, New Wave. Some of the rawer elements of the last few records have been turned down, but their sound remains intact. Here is the most well-known song off the record, Thrash Unreal.
Following the success of New Wave, Against Me! doubled down and made a straight rock and roll record. Having noticeably more influence from Bruce Springsteen than a band like The Clash, White Crosses represented a big step forward in terms of sound for the band. The hooks are bigger and the whole record sounds beautifully polished. Here’s my favorite track; Bamboo Bones
This brings us to the latest chapter of Against Me!. With Warren and Andrew leaving to pursue other interests, the band was in a period of flux. Coupled with the news of Laura Jane Grace publicly announcing that she was transgender and would no longer be going by Tom Gabel, no one was really sure what to expect from the band. The record took what felt like months to finish and I can honestly say, I was concerned that this was the end of Against Me!. The completed record felt like a punch in the face. Transgender Dysphoria Blues is EASILY their best material since Eternal Cowboy and the whole record scorches with a passion I thought Against Me! would never have again. Here is the title track from the record.
And as I was putting this together, they released a new song! New record in September!
That about does it for my rambling on this band, supposedly another record will be hitting this year. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this and I especially hope you have enjoyed the music.