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Archive for the ‘Against Me!’ Category

[CANCELLED: May 30, 2020] Against Me! / Baroness / Drug Church

indexI had a ticket to see Against Me! on their “2 Nights / 4 Records / 48 Songs,” tour.

I was mostly interested in seeing Dilly Dally who was opening, but I thought it would be interesting to see Against Me! as well. My night was for the White Crosses/Transgender Dysphoria Blues albums.  I actually don’t know those newer albums (I have New Wave), but I was interested in hearing them.

This show seemed like a good opportunity to check them out

But the main reason I wanted to go to this show was for Baroness.

I saw ‎John Baizley play with Strand of Oaks a few years ago and he was a great addition.  I hadn’t heard his band, but I immediately had to check them out.  I really liked them.  Last year I got to see and meet Baroness at an in store performance at Vintage Vinyl, but seeing Baroness acoustic in a record store (as cool as it was) is nothing like seeming them as full band in concert.

Unfortunately their Philly stop was at the Decibel Metal & Beer Fest that had a good line up but sounded like a nightmare, honestly.  But when they set up the rest of their dates, they didn’t do Philly again.

I don’t know Drug Church, but I’ve read that their sound mixes hardcore punk with alternative rock and grunge.  I listened to their song “Avoidarama” (love the name) and I really liked it (it’s far more grunge than hardcore and no screaming vocals).  “Grubby” has a bit more punk elements, and I liked it too.  I hope they tour with them when this gets rescheduled.

This show in Stroudsburg is the closest their were coming and even though they weren’t headlining (double headliner, I guess) it was the best I could do.  I’ve never been to a show in Stroudsburg before and I was curious how the commute there would compare to Philly.  But I’ve heard the Sherman Theater is really nice.

Since this show was at the end of May, I was counting it as a sort of holding out hopes for shows to not get cancelled.  But better safe than sorry.

 

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[ATTENDED: April 5, 2018] +HIRS+

+HIRS+ (pronounced “heers”) is a collective. According to their website: “We are infinite and never ending. A collective of freaks and faggots that will never stop existing.” But mainly the band is made up of two semi-anonymous individuals, best friends JP on vocals and beats and Esem on guitar.

And their slogan is “LOOKS LIKE HELL. SOUNDS LIKE SHIT. QUEER AS FUCK.”

Incidentally, the band just released their first full length, which is currently streaming on NPR.  It is 14 minutes long–20 songs–and features guest contributions from Laura Jane Grace (Against Me!), Shirley Manson (Garbage), Marissa Paternoster (Screaming Females), Alice Bag and more.

Vice describes their set so aptly:

A quick listen to one of their songs – and it will be quick, as most of their tracks don’t stretch for longer than 30 seconds – will definitely do the trick: Sample from a movie. Heavy blastbeats. Fast and pounding guitar riffs. Screamed, mostly unintelligible vocals. Repeat. If you’re seeing them live, the typical +HIRS+ set will last maybe ten intensely chaotic, fun minutes.

That’s a lot of talk for a set that lasted no more than 15 minutes.  But their set was one of the most incredible things I’ve seen. (more…)

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CV1_TNY_07_08_13Hunter.inddSOUNDTRACK: AGAINST ME!-True Trans EP (2013).

trueThis EP (free for a limited time) contains two acoustic songs from punks Against Me!  (The gentleness of the acoustic songs is belied by this stark cover).  I have an older Against Me! album which I like and which is quite punky.  But since that album the lead singer Tom Gabel has gone through gender reassignment surgery (and his fans mostly stayed with her, which is pretty awesome).  Their newest full length Transgender Dysphoria Blues is due out in the future and this is a little acoustic taste of what’s to come.  Both songs appear to be about his transition.

The first one, with the interesting title of “FuckMyLife666”, is an upbeat song (musically), while lyrically it is a song to someone—possibly himself?  It’s about avoiding regrets and embracing a new life.

The second song is a big darker (musically) although it does have a big bright chorus with the final line of: “Does God bless your transsexual heart?”  It’s very very catchy and I find myself singing that rather awkward line to myself during the day.

I’m not sure exactly what the future has in store for Against Me!, but it seems like Laura Jane Grace is planning on keeping the music coming.

[READ: July 15, 2013] “All Ahead of Them”

This story opens with a misunderstanding—at least that’s what we hear Bud saying into the phone.  He quickly looks for an excuse to get off the phone and then starts playing with the cigarettes that he found in the hotel drawer.  (He promised he’d quit smoking after the wedding which was just six days ago).  We also quickly learn that the misunderstanding has to do with his new wife and that it proves that she is a liar.

Of course, his wife, Arden, has a history of changing the truth (as many of us do).  Even her name, which he thought was so artistic-sounding, is fake.  Well, it is real now, but she was originally call Nedra (after her father’s mother) and she reversed the letters.  This of, course hurt her father, who loved his dear mother, and who refused to call her Arden—even during his wedding toast.  She hadn’t even told Bud that she had changed her name until moments before he met Arden’s father—and only as a preparation that her father wouldn’t call her Arden.

The original Nedra’s story is pretty interesting in and of itself.  She was a beautiful and talented singer, although her day job was as a music teacher in a Buffalo high school.  She was arrested for selling marijuana (during the brutal Rockefeller laws of the 1970s) to other teachers.  She was given 25 years in jail.  After three of those 25 years, she hanged herself.  Arden’s father was very young when this happened and he never really got over it (as can be expected). (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: AGAINST ME!-“I Was a Teenage Anarchist” (2010).

I heard this song on the radio today and thought it rather ideal for this book.  (Except for the part about the music industry, of course).

I was a teenage anarchist, looking for a revolution.
I had the style, I had the ambition.
I read all the authors, I knew the right slogans.
There was no war but the class war.
I was ready to set the world on fire.
I was a teenage anarchist, looking for a revolution.

I was a teenage anarchist, but the politics were too convenient.
In the depths of their humanity all I saw was bloodless ideology.
And with freedom as the doctrine, guess who was the new authority?
I was a teenage anarchist, but the politics were too convenient.

I was a teenage anarchist, but then the scene got too rigid.
It was a mob mentality, they set their rifle sights on me.
Narrow visions of autonomy, you want me to surrender my identity.
I was a teenage anarchist, the revolution was a lie.

Do you remember when you were young and you wanted to set the world on fire?

Sums up the book (at least from Sophie’s side, pretty well.  And in 3 minutes, no less.

I rather like Against Me!  Although this song is far poppier than punk.

[READ: Week of August 13, 2010] Letters of Insurgents [Ninth Letters]

The penultimate week of Insurgent Summer has everything you always wanted in a book: a teenaged girl trying to seduce her father while her mother looks on and encourages her.  And the sad thing is that that scene, and not any of the political discussions or anything else is what I will remember this book for.  This scene, as corrupt and creepy and hurtful as it was is what I will think of if anyone ever asks me if I read Letters of Insurgents.  And that, I think, is a crying shame, because there are so valid and interesting discussions about individualism in the book, but I’ll just keep seeing Yara forcing herself on Yarostan (and probably Mirna having sex with the devil). (more…)

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[cue music]:

I saw these stats come sailing in, on Christmas Day on Christmas Day.
I hit 60,000 views on Christmas Day in the mor-ning.

I hit 30,000 views back in March, and I was quite thrilled.  When I started the blog in May of 2007 I didn’t expect to get all that many views, it was more or less a blog to keep track of my books and maybe have other people comment too.  And so, it took nearly two years to get to 30,000.  Imagine how delightful it is to reach the next 30,000 views in the span of just nine months!

So thanks everyone for checking out what I had to say.  And thanks also for all the comments.  As with the first 30,000, I’ve included the stats that have brought me to this hallowed (but random) spot.  And I must add that Infinite Summer, which is underrepresented in my top ten posts, was absolutely essential for this huge spike in views (thanks DFW fans).  But, by far the biggest surprise was the surge that came from the first book(s) on the list below.  I posted about the Ulysses Moore series in April.  And it was by far the most frequently sought and (presumably) read post on the blog.  So, Scholastic Publishing, if you read this, please note the craving that my readers have for the rest of the series!  And please update your site!!

So, anyhow, thanks all.  Listed below are the Top Ten (and a few extra) viewed posts on my blog.  Happy New Year!

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3000030,000 views may not be a milestone for many blogs. But, for a blog like this which was intended mostly as a record of what I’ve read, the fact that I’ve had 30,000 views is pretty exciting. And it seems appropriate to let you, the readers know what you the other readers have been reading here. So, here is the top ten most read posts on I Just Read About That… with a director’s commentary tacked on.

1. 819 views
Gordon Korman–Son of the Mob (2002)
SOUNDTRACK: GORDON LIGHTFOOT-The Complete Greatest Hits
I’m pretty much 100% certain that Gordon Lightfoot is NOT the attraction that made this post my highest one. Son of the Mob is usually a summer reading book. However, I get hits on this throughout the year.  I’m guessing it’s just a popular book.

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SOUNDTRACK: AGAINST ME!-New Wave (2007).

I’m not sure why I never listened to these guys before. I’m not crazy about the band’s name: it makes sense, but it’s awkward to work with. And I think I lumped them in with the whole emo scene, which I was pretty well done with. Anyhow, I read a review of New Wave recently and decided they might be worth checking out.

New Wave is an astonishingly refreshing and heartfelt album. It’s fairly short, as the songs are fairly short, and they pack a lot of punch. In fact, I’ve been singing this great, catchy chorus all morning: “Protest Songs in a response to Military Aggression. Protest songs to try and stop the soldier’s gun.”

The songs are great: really diverse for what is essentially a punk album. And the topics are protestations that I haven’t heard in a while (at least not in such a catchy style): Lack of originality in the mainstream. (“New Wave” & “Up the Cuts”), Drug Addiction (“Thrash Unreal,” the latest single that I’ve heard). “Stop” is a change of pace mid-album, with a catchy chorus and an almost dance feel. “Piss and Vinegar” is a plea for honesty. And possibly the strangest item on the disc: the song “The Ocean.” One doesn’t expect a punk band’s verse to start like this: ” If I could have chosen, I would have been born a woman. My mother once told me she would have named me Laura” and it continues on in that vein. What a shockingly honest (presumably) lyric in a song.

The only thing I don’t like about the album is…the singer’s voice. I just can’t get past it, and I’m not sure what it is I don’t like about it. He sings on key, his voice is strong and impassioned. There’s just something about it I don’t like. Of course, I also don’t like the singer from Social Distortion either. I guess I’m more of a high, whiny voice than a gruff aggro voice. Despite this, whenever the band does harmonies, they sound great! All of the choruses have nice harmonies somewhere in them, and they really make the songs. Plus, there’s a song called “Borne on the FM, Waves of the Heart” which is a duet with Tegan from Tegan and Sara, and it’s really fantastic. They are a perfect match for each other. Normally, not liking the singer would make you not like a band. (How many people can’t get into Rush because of Geddy Lee’s voice?). And yet, I still think the album is great. I’m certainly going to check out some past records as well. I’m especially intrigued by this album title: Reinventing Axl Rose.

[READ: June 25, 2008] Special Topics in Calamity Physics.

I heard about this book when I was scanning the NPR stations and there was a story about authors/publishers making great websites to accompany books. Two of the ones they mentioned sounded pretty interesting, so I jotted them down and checked them out. This was the first one, Special Topics in Calamity Physics. The site was pretty neat, but I didn’t spend much time there, as I was at work. I checked that we had the book and took it out that day. (more…)

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