Against Me! - Transgender Dysphoria Blues

Transgender Dysphoria Blues, the new album from the great Florida punk band Against Me!, is their first in four years, and they’re a very different Against Me! from the one who released White Crosses in 2010. The new album is the first since the band left behind the major-label universe, the first since half the band left and was replaced, and, most importantly, the first since frontman Tom Gabel became frontwoman Laura Jane Grace. It’s also an absolute monster of an album, a furious punk-rock clarion call that brings crunchy, gritty, anthemic vigor in ways that nobody really pulls off anymore. It’s easily the best 2014 album I’ve yet heard, a tremendously bracing and pleasurable musical experience. We’ve already posted early tracks “FUCKMYLIFE666” and “Black Me Out,” and those are great. But it’s Monday morning, and you really need to hear the whole album. You can now do that. Stream it at NPR.

Transgender Dysphoria Blues
is out 1/21 on the band’s own Total Treble label.

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Comments (18)
  1. someone needs to give all these music dudes a guide on how not to write about trans folx. the album itself is a fucking ripper tho.

  2. Haven’t gotten a chance to play this yet, but I revisited their entire discography last week for the first time in a couple of years and talk about underrated. I realized that they have at least 4 or 5 excellent rock songs on each of the handful of full lengths they’ve put out, and a ton of gems aside from those. Now how’s about an AM! album countdown, ‘gum?

    • I know this is unrelated but I just realized that the Arctic Monkey’s album AM is an acronym for their name. But yeah, also really looking forward to listening to this album!

    • Something else of note that I realized in my revisiting: Warren Oakes is absolutely irreplaceable. LJG’s songwriting’s gotten better so it seems to even out a little bit but man, that guy just killed it.

  3. I’ll preface this by saying I’ve always liked Against Me!, even when it was “uncool” to after they signed to a major label, the punks on .org were turning against them and sites like Pitchfork were panning them in reviews because they thought of them as mainstream punk hacks. I won’t throw Stereogum or SPIN under the bus for being excited about Transgender Dysphoria Blues, because SPIN did name New Wave its #1 album of the year of its release and I’ve seen enough pre-Laura Jane AM! coverage in these spaces before Laura Jane became the story.

    That said, this album is consistently as good as AM!’s best work (even as a fan, I can’t say they’ve evolved all that much — they’re feeding off a second wind of energy here, much like Bad Religion did last year, if anything) but I’m irked how their value as a band has increased because of a really transparent reason, and that being the Laura Jane story factor. Pitchfork has already ensured to do some secretive revisionist history to cover their bases by removing an article I clearly remember them bashing the band in . The score for New Wave still has a 5.5, but I would not doubt if Transgender Dysphoria Blues receives no less than a 7.0 because they want to seem P.C. about the Laura Jane story, when really, all signs in the past point to them hating the band’s music — which hasn’t changed all that much.

    • But this is totally more than 1.5 points better than NW. Ick NW really tho.

      • I loved New Wave and still think its their best top-to-bottom album. Butch Vig’s production worked out great in making them sound more radio-friendly, with “Thrash Unreal” being such a great example of that. Plus, “Borne on the FM Waves,” that duet with Tegan from Tegan & Sara was pure pop-rock bliss. I need to give this one some spins, but I’m expecting it to be their new peak.

        • ppct  |   Posted on Jan 13th -1

          Different tastes I guess. I think their best is definitely a one-two-punch of CRIME & Disco… that’s like nothing else….

          NW, on a whole, fell flat. Thrash is pretty great, agreed. Thats a standout track to me, but even so, how long can you stomach those bah bah bah’s….

          I agree on this being their new peak, the post-SFAFClarity peak.

        • Much agreed with “Borne on the FM Waves”… what a song!

      • New Wave is a great little album, and now that Laura is out the lyrics to “The Ocean” should be considered a significant part of the band’s legacy. Not that “The Ocean” is an especially great song, but “Thrash Unreal,” “White People for Peace,” and “Stop!” make a great core for the album, “Piss and Vinegar” and “The Animal” being the only true filler.

        IMO its

        1. Searching for a Former Clarity
        2. Reinventing Axl Rose
        3. White Crosses
        4. New Wave
        5. As the Eternal Cowboy (first one I got so it has sentimental value but tbh the best part of the album has come and gone in like 10 minutes, downside to those short song lengths)

    • You speak the truth. Reminds me of this comic, even though it’s opinion of the last few Against Me! records are a little different from yours.

    • You really care/think too much about what Pitchfork does.

  4. I confess I’ve never listened to Against Me! until this morning because I’m not really into punk, but this shit is killer. Getting a strong Hedwig and the Angry Inch vibe here (which considering the circumstances is probably just projection, but whatever).

  5. I’ll have to try this out later, but I’ve not been particularly impressed by them since Reinventing Axl Rose.

  6. New Wave and White Crosses are the best

  7. Holy shit! This is one hell of a fucking rock and roll record! 2014, the bar has been set.

  8. This is the first great album of 2014! Well done, Against Me! crew. I thought “White Crosses” was a slight step back from “New Wave,” but there’s a renewed energy in these tracks. I love how straightforward the songwriting is here; you can tell a huge burden has been lifted from Laura’s back.

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