Big Stories

POZ Review: Against Me! - Transgender Dysphoria Blues

by Zack Zarrillo - Jan 28, 2014

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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.

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A True Trans Soul Rebel

by Zack Zarrillo - Jan 19, 2014

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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.

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Against Me! Finally Announce ‘Transgender Dysphoria Blues’

by Zack Zarrillo - Oct 24, 2013

Against Me! will be self-releasing Transgender Dysphoria Blues on January 21st via their own Total Treble label. You can check out the NSFW artwork and track listing for the long-awaited record below after the jump.

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Laura Jane Grace On How Transgender Journey Made Her Enjoy Performing Again

by Zack Zarrillo - Sep 23, 2013

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Laura Jane Grace of Against Me! recently spoke about how her transgender journey has made her enjoy performing music live again. Check out part of the interview here and a snippet below after the jump.

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Laura Jane Grace Victim Of Five Guitars Being Stolen

by Zack Zarrillo - Sep 14, 2013

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Laura Jane Grace of Against Me! had five guitars stolen from her just a few days ago. Check out a tweet from Grace below after the jump.

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POZ Review: Against Me! - True Trans

by Zack Zarrillo - Aug 22, 2013

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.”

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Allison Weiss Added To Two Laura Jane Grace Solo Shows

by Zack Zarrillo - Aug 1, 2013

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Allison Weiss will be joining Laura Jane Grace of Against Me! for two solo shows in August. Check out the dates below after the jump.

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Against Me! Add Mina Caputo To Laura Jane Grace Solo Tour

by Zack Zarrillo - Jul 26, 2013

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Laura Jane Grace of Against Me! has added Mina Caputo to her upcoming solo tour. Check out the dates below after the jump. 

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Against Me! Release ‘True Trans’ EP For Free Download

by Zack Zarrillo - Jul 15, 2013

Against Me! have released their True Trans EP for a limited time only as a free download. Stream and download it below after the jump.

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Morning Recap: Sumerian Owner Posts Radke Diss Track, 36 P-P Albums To Hear Before You Die

by Zack Zarrillo - Jul 3, 2013

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POZ Decade: AFS - DTMB | POZ Interview: Park

Yesterday was basically emo day on the site. 

Sumerian Owner Rap Song Against Ronnie Radke

This is one of the worst best songs you’ll never hear. Ronnie Radke’s original diss song and Sumerian + Lorenzo’s comeback have now been taken down from YouTube. Sumerian’s rap called out multiple aspects of Radke’s life and was pretty funny. Rap battles are something we truly needed in this scene, and we’re so glad we got them for two days.

36 Pop Punk Albums You Need To Hear Before You Die

BuzzFeed has posted a new listacle on pop-punk albums you need to hear before you die. Ordering aside, most of these are must hears at some point in your life.

JEW Cover Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never…”

Jimmy Eat World are covering Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” on each night of their summer tour, and somehow manage to make the pop-emo song more emo.

Laura Jane Grace Announces Solo Tour

Comment about Against Me! seeming less existent as a band every day.

Against Me! Finish Tracking ‘Transgender Dysphoria Blues’

by Zack Zarrillo - Jun 24, 2013

Against Me!’s Transgender Dysphoria Blues has finally been tracked in full. Check out a tweet from Laura Jane Grace below after the jump.

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Against Me! Tap Fat Mike, Atom Willard To Track New Record

by Zack Zarrillo - Jun 1, 2013

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Laura Jane Grace has tapped Fat Mike of NOFX and Atom Willard (ex-Angels & Airwaves, Rocket From The Crypt) to record bass and drum parts, respectively, for Against Me!'s new album. Check out tweets from Laura Jane below after the jump.

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Laura Jane Grace Writes, Performs Song With Joan Jett

by Zack Zarrillo - Apr 14, 2013

Laura Jane Grace of Against Me! recently wrote a new song with Joan Jett called “Soulmates To Strangers.” Check out Laura Jane performing the song with Joan Jett below by clicking “Read More.”

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Morning Recap: Laura Jane On Her First Year As A Woman, Morrissey Slams Margaret Thatcher

by Zack Zarrillo - Apr 10, 2013

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Laura Jane Grace: My First Year As A Woman

Laura Jane Grace was featured in a very lengthy, and surprisingly well-written, story by Cosmo. If you have any interest on the transition from Tom Gabel to Laura Jane, we recommend you read the article.

Morrissey Tears Margaret Thatcher Apart In Obituary

Love him or hate him, Morrissey has a special skill for the art of the takedown. There’s nothing classier than taking someone down on their death bed. 

Manchester Orchestra, FRabbit, Grouplove RSD Stream

We’ve been waiting to hear what the Manchester Orchestra/Frightened Rabbit / Manchester Orchestra/Grouplove collab would sound like for a few months now, and it was worth the wait. Make sure to grab one of these splits on Record Store Day if you can. 

Mixtapes, You Blew It!, Light Years, Modern Baseball Tour

Who says all this summer’s fun will be had at Warped Tour? Mixtapes, You Blew It!, Light Years, Modern Baseball, and Last Call will be attempting to prove otherwise. Catch the tour this June and July.

Sound And Fury Lineup, Date Announcement

The weekend has been chosen, so have the first bands.

Man Overboard Stream “Open Season” Ft. Geoff Rickly

Man Overboard released the second song off of Heart Attack. The song also happens to feature Geoff Rickly, better known as the frontman of Thursday.

States Launch Kickstarter; Ask For $18K

States are newly independent once again following a brief stint with Tooth & Nail Records. The band is asking for $18,000 to self-produce, mix, and release their second album. Too many Kickstarters, or too many Kickstarters?

Ernie Ball