Against Me! Planning A Live Album; Laura Jane Writing A Book
The Gaslight Anthem, Against Me! Announce Fall Tour
The Gaslight Anthem, Against Me! Announce Fall Tour
Laura Jane Grace of Against Me! recently stripped down “True Trans Soul Rebel” and “Dead Friend.” Watch videos below after the jump.
Arcade Fire’s new music video for “We Exist” features Andrew Garfield (Amazing Spider-Man) dressed up with a wig and a dress on. Laura Jane Grace of Against Me! called out the band on Twitter last week over transgender related issues. Win Butler and the band have now responded in a new article over Grace’s concerns, and Grace has since commented on that. See all below after the jump.
Arcade Fire’s new music video for “We Exist” features Andrew Garfield (Amazing Spider-Man) dressed up with a wig and a dress on. Laura Jane Grace of Against Me! called out the band on Twitter for having Garfield dress up for the video instead of using an actual trans actor. Read the tweet below after the jump.
by Erik van Rheenen
Laura Jane Grace came out as a transgender woman a pair of summers ago in a watershed interview with Rolling Stone, having grappled with gender dysphoria throughout her entire life. The first record Against Me! released since Grace courageously shared her coming out story, my first few listens to Transgender Dysphoria Blues also reminded me of a different interview — one where Grace conversed with Grantland about drunkenly confessing her gender dysphoria to The Lawrence Arms’ Brendan Kelly two years before her Rolling Stone interview went to print. “Blackout drunk, I confessed to him,” Grace states in the interview. “I told him everything I was going through, and that I didn’t know what I was going to do.”
And that’s just the kind of record Transgender Dysphoria Blues is — wholly unapologetic, unabashedly honest, and incredibly poignant. Like the sharply pointed political statements of Against Me! albums past, Blues is downright blunt in its statements, relentless in its refusal to tiptoe around its subject matter. Starting with a signature rollicking Atom Willard drum beat (the recording of Blues marked an Against Me! lineup in flux), “Transgender Dysphoria Blues” kicks in listeners’ teeth a hot-blooded vocal turn from Grace that, well, it just fucking rocks. Grace sings lines like “You’ve got no cunt in your strut/You’ve got no hips to shake” with brutal, vocal cord-rending honesty. Though Grace frames Blues in terms of a concept record spinning the yarn of a transgender prostitute, it’s tough to listen to the title track and not think of Grace’s struggle for “them to see you like any other girl,” and Grace’s imagery of a ragged summer dress and a rocky coastline cut as deeply as the jagged guitar riff from Against Me! mainstay James Bowman.
Blues rarely lets off the gas pedal during its half-hour sprint, and when the record does decide to take a few breaths, those more reflective tracks mark some of the most emotionally cuts in the Against Me! discography. The clarity of Grace’s harrowing lyrics, waxing on her fear of loss, on the acoustic “Two Coffins” sent me reeling and reaching to my pocket for a tissue, and it’s hard to shake the heartache when Against Me! tackles self-doubt and discovery (“FUCKMYLIFE666”) through a pop-punk lens that falls pretty closely to the more hook-heavy end of the spectrum, and a reflection on losing a friend (“Dead Friend”) played with a power-pop touch.
Grantland posted an excellent article earlier this week titled A True Trans Soul Rebel. The piece features extensive commentary from Against Me!'s Laura Jane Grace on her transition and the band's new album. Read the full piece here and a part of it below after the jump.
by Zac Lomas, edited by Erik van Rheenen
Every Against Me! fan, as well as the punk community at large, has eagerly awaited the release of new music from the Gainesville punk outfit since Tom Gabel became Laura Jane Grace. With full-length Transgender Dysphoria Blues slated to come out in the upcoming months we get True Trans, a single featuring two acoustic versions of songs anticipated to be fleshed out on the LP.
Unlike previous Against Me! releases, True Trans is not overtly political; it’s not situated on a broad political spectrum between Democrat and Republican, Liberal and Conservative. Instead, it transcends these petty classifications, occupying itself inside an American culture that is inherently transphobic. While punk grew around its rich history of transgender artists (see The New York Dolls or Jayne County), this thread has been missing from subsequent generations of punk bands, which is where Grace and Against Me! come in. This album (and the follow-up LP) is going to push transgender issues into a musical limelight that they have never experienced before.
Political message aside, this duo of acoustic tracks prove that regardless of recent life events, Grace’s natural songwriting abilities are timeless. “FuckMyLife666” seems to take its title from the single’s black metal-esque cover art, but rests solidly on a singular acoustic guitar riff and Grace’s accompanying voice. Grace sings about the difficulties of revealing her true identity to not only the world, but her family too. She also asserts the relief that comes with embracing herself as a woman, singing “No more sleepless nights, there’s a brave new world raging inside me.”