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New Wave B-Sides - EP

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Album Review

There is a legion of Against Me! fans who want only for the band's music to sound exactly as it did on Reinventing Axl Rose — scrappy punk/folk and nothing else. But with as talented a songwriter as Tom Gabel leading the way, it's ridiculous to think that the band would be satisfied complying. Growth is necessary; change is inevitable. In the case of New Wave, different doesn't automatically mean bad. As their first album on major label Sire, it's a straight-up rock record. Especially thanks to Butch Vig in the production seat, New Wave is crisp, direct, and sharp. It's clean, but not glossy; it's defiant; it's brash; it's heartfelt. And while it's true that New Wave doesn't initially hit with the same force as prior albums, a few spins later and the record has found its footing and sinks in brilliantly. Though the sound is not raw and gritty like those early days, the passion behind the songs is the exact same. There is a real sense of frustration guiding these tracks — with society, with the music scene — but as the title track incites, "We can be the bands we wanna hear/We can define our own generation," Against Me! shows resilience. The catchy bounce-step of songs like "Up the Cuts" and "Stop!" (one of their danciest numbers yet) recognizes the hollowness of fame and hype, and the former's probing "Are you restless like me?" is as urgent a plea as you'll hear on record this year. Lead single "White People for Peace" brilliantly acknowledges both the need for and futility of protest songs, one of many instances that prove that despite sonic changes, Gabel's tongue has only sharpened. Overall, the concise ten-song set is the most direct batch of songs Against Me! has written thus far, yet the band constantly mixes things up, as in the meditative closer, "The Ocean," the dark, fuzzed-out anti-romanticism of "Animal," and the realization of love faded in the arresting duet between Gabel and Tegan Quin (of Tegan and Sara) in "Borne on the FM Waves of the Heart." New Wave is over way too soon, but the vitality rippling through every barked word is electric and makes up for all left behind on the cutting room floor. It just means you can press repeat that much sooner. Signing to Sire didn't make the band sellouts — especially not when the music is still delivered with as much steadfast conviction and genuine emotion as it is. Who knows where they'll go next, but as for the 2000s, Against Me! remains one of the most exciting and significant bands operating in punk.

Customer Reviews

perhaps good, but a shadow of what they were

against me was a fantastic band before they joined to the major record syndicate. their songs used to be about the troubles and joys of being out on the road, touring for people who enjoyed their music and would pay up to five bucks at the door. TSR sums it up: "it doesn't matter how many people counted at the door." they cared that a handful of people were showing up, not that those people's tickets would total enough only to get to the next town. they toured for true fans and sang about the problems and about their love of anarchy. now, they vaguely hint at something; it isn't really clear what. it seems that they're just singing something that sounds good, but doesn't really have a lot of body or depth. maybe they are maturing, maybe they're selling out. maybe they're briefly diverging from their former path. someday i hope to find a replacement for the hole that this band has evacuated.

I like to watch bands grow!

Look If bands never changed then it would all sound the same forever. I'm In my 50s, and I have watched a lot of bands over the years. I was part of the New York and Minneapolis punk scenes in the 70s. As bands become successful, they aquire better gear, better songwriting skills, and different attitudes. I've enjoyed every AM album so far and I don't think they have sold out. Explore your boundries, don't sit and play the same old mouldy stuff. Tom Gabel & company are very talented and I like them , old & new!!

Pretty Good.

Not the best from them. but still pretty good. heard em in warped tour!

Biography

Formed: 1997 in Gainesville, FL

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Before becoming a full-fledged punk band, Against Me! was an acoustic solo project spearheaded by Laura Jane Grace, who began playing shows as a 17-year-old in Gainesville, Florida. Starting in 1997, Grace performed as a solo act wherever anyone would have her, drawing much influence from early acoustic protest music. By 2001, she'd beefed up her sound with the help of a full band — including guitarist James Bowman, drummer Warren Oakes, and bassist Andrew Seward — but there would always...
Full Bio
New Wave B-Sides - EP, Against Me!
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  • $4.95
  • Genres: Alternative, Music, Punk, Rock, Adult Alternative
  • Released: Jul 10, 2007

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