After Against Me!’s lead singer Laura Jane Grace (formerly Tom Gabel) came out as transgender in May, the Florida punk band were put under the microscope. But over the year they've been getting back to what they know best. The band is currently recording a proper follow-up to 2010’s critically acclaimed White Crosses, which will be called Transgender Dysphoria Blues (according to Rolling Stone).
“It just sounds fucking killer,” bassist Andrew Seward told Hive backstage at the recent Fun Fun Fun Festival of the new album. “I don’t know if ‘brutal’ is the right word, but it just sounds really fucking tough, and good.” Seward added that the band has been in the studio recently, and are without super-producer Butch Vig, who helmed the band’s last two albums. Instead, they’re overseeing production on their own. “[Singer] Laura [Jane Grace] is recording the whole thing herself,” Seward explains. “Engineering, producing, build the studio -- full-on everything.”
Still, he expects the lessons Against Me! took from Vig will show up on the new release. “We wouldn’t be where we are without him, and without the knowledge and the patience that he’s given us. Just the respect for the art form that he taught us,” he said. “We owe every peak and valley of the rollercoaster -- you take it all as a learning experience. You’re constantly learning. So we’d better know what we’re doing by now.”
Some of those new songs have made their way into Against Me! setlists of late, including the band’s recent appearance at Austin’s Fun Fun Fun Fest. Among them are “Transgender Dysphoria Blues,” “Drinking With the Jocks,” “Black Me Out,” “True Trans Soul Rebel,” and “Better Days,” though it’s unclear how many will end up on the eventual album. What’s most important to Seward is that the band is continuing to make records true to their sound.
“I think we’re just a band who wants to absolutely destroy,” he said. “We want our records to sound sonically and musically as good as humanly possible. We don’t want to put limitations on anything.”
Watch Against Me! perform "Transgender Dysphoria Blues" at FYF Fest: