To pirate the title of one of their early songs (and still a set-list staple), Against Me! is a band that laughs at danger and breaks all the rules. What began as an anarchist solo act in Gainesville, Florida in 1997, transformed into a four-piece a few years later and quickly became a driving force in the punk scene.
Now having played in 29 countries, cracking out an average of 200 sweat-drenched, fist-pumping, shout-a-long live gigs per year over the past decade, Against Me!’s music ranges from thrashing to anthemic to intimate, with frontwoman Laura Jane Grace’s pointed lyrics and powerhouse voice blending vitriol and vulnerability like few other performers.
With a healthy dose of folk and even some old-school country in their sound, the band’s first three indie full-length albums earned them a devoted and fast growing following. Their 2007 major label debut New Wave was named “Album of the Year” by SPIN Magazine. After 2010’s White Crosses, Grace went through an intense soul-searching phase and eventually decided to transition, going public with the gender dysphoria she’d dealt with since childhood. Grace took complete creative control of their highly anticipated 6th album Transgender Dysphoria Blues, brutally laying her soul bare in the 10 song collection.
While much has changed in the lives of Grace and her bandmates (guitarist James Bowman, bassist Inge Johansson and drummer Atom Willard) since her transition, it’s clear that it has done wonders for creativity, evident in 2016’s release Shape Shift With Me.
In a career already full of classic punk records, their latest release feels like the definitive Against Me! album. It’s poppy and catchy, aggressive and in-your-face, sentimental and longing. Moreover, it’s the culmination of four years of existence as Laura Jane Grace.