Hello my fellow kilSters and welcome to another installment of Sunday Sounds From The Underground! For this week’s feature, I’d like to introduce y’all to Gainsville, Florida’s own, Against Me! Against Me! are labeled as punk, and although that might have been true for the band’s first few records, Against Me!’s sound has evolved a bit, especially with their 2007 release titled New Wave!, which is the album that I had first heard and thusly, had my attention grabbed.
There was no rest for the weary, and Against Me! just couldn’t stop once that ball got rolling.
Against Me! started as a solo act by Laura Jane Grace (born Tom Gabel, guitarist/lead singer) in 1997, although not for long. Tom expanded Against Me! to include: Kevin Mahon (drummer, 1998-2001), Dustin Fridkin (bassist, 1998-2002), and James Bowman (guitarist, 2001-present). Over the years there have been subsequent line-up changes. As of 2014, the line up is as follows: Laura Jane Grace (guitar/lead vocals, 1997–present), James Bowman (guitar/vocals, 2001–present), Inge Johansson (bass, 2013–present), and Atom Willard (drums/percussion, 2013–present), but let’s not not dwell on personnel, it’s the music that counts, after all.
If you have never had the pleasure, then that will need to be remedied.
In 2002, Against Me! released the first full-length album, Against Me! Is Reinventing Axl Rose, and off they went. Against Me! followed up Reinventing Axl Rose with Against Me! As Eternal Cowboy. Now we’re talking! The album was pure punk at its finest. There was no rest for the weary, and Against Me! just couldn’t stop once that ball got rolling. In 2005, Against Me! released Searching For Clarity which was the first of their albums to break the Billboard 200 charts.
Against Me! was a band not just known for their excellent studio records, but their energized, solid live shows. If you have never had the pleasure, then that will need to be remedied. If you’re a fan of not only the punk genre, but of a good fucking live show, then look no further. Against Me! will have you transfixed from the first song to the last. Just the same, in 2006, Against Me! released their first live album titled Americans Abroad!!! Against Me!!! Live in London!!!.
Against Me! recorded their fan-fucking-tastic album, 2007’s New Wave! with famed producer, Butch Vig … He produced Nirvana’s Nevermind, so yeah, no big deal. Sarcasm. Get it?
Now we come to 2007. The year I really started paying attention. In 2007, Against Me! snagged their first major label contract with none other than Sire Records, home of the immortal punk originators, The Ramones. For Sire, Against Me! recorded their fan-fucking-tastic album, 2007’s New Wave! with famed producer, Butch Vig (Yes, THE Butch Vig. He produced Nirvana’s Nevermind, so yeah, no big deal. Sarcasm. Get it?)
The original fire of what makes Against Me! Against Me! was not compromised in the least.
With the release of New Wave!,(the only album that the band released on a major label) Against Me! had ventured into new waters. The music was still very much punk, yet with a bit of a twist towards the mainstream. Nothing to be afraid of, of course. The original fire of what makes Against Me! Against Me! was not compromised in the least. Like I already stated, it was with this album that I really started paying attention (Hell, if I wasn’t writing about the band for Sunday Sounds, then you can surely bet that New Wave! was going to be a Desert Island Thursday feature at some point. To further express the importance of this album, and I never mention other publications, but in its January 2008 issue, Spin Magazine named New Wave the best album of 2007. I couldn’t agree more. Following the success of New Wave!, Against Me! released their next album, White Crosses in 2010, again with Butch Vig overseeing producing duties.
In 2012, Against Me!’s leader, Tom Gabel, officially came out as a transgendered woman, but seeing as that has no real bearing on the music, honestly, why discuss it any further? Tom Gabel is now going by Laura Jane Grace. The band is set to release their sixth studio album, aptly titled, Transgender Dysphoria Blues on January 21st of this year, which will be the first time on an Against Me! record that Laura Jane Grace will make her debut. Going back to New Wave! for a sec: The artist formerly known as Tom Gabel did make mention to his dreams of transgenderism in some respect in the album’s last track, “Ocean” where he sang, “If I could have chosen, I would have been born a woman/My mother once told me she would have named me Laura.” Just something I found kind of cool, so I thought I’d mention it. I, for one, am Über excited about what the future holds for Against Me! I am so looking forward to their upcoming album and so should you, because they’re fantastic! Hell, if I helped peak your interest in the band, and you want to explore them for yourself, here’s your chance. You could start at the very beginning of the band’s career, and it’s your right to do so, but my suggestion is that you start right here and work your way backwards. You’re welcome, world!
Want more of Against Me!? Check out their official webpage here.