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Against Me! - White Crosses (Cover Artwork)

Against Me!

Against Me!: White CrossesWhite Crosses (2010)
Warner Music Group

Reviewer Rating: 2.5
User Rating:


Contributed by: JeloneJelone
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Against Me! has been polarizing fans since they stopped using drums made from pickle buckets, so I suppose sooner or later they were going to leave me by the wayside. Nothing personal, artistic exploration, we'll always have Reinventing Axl Rose. That doesn't make it any easier for me to criticize W.
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Against Me! has been polarizing fans since they stopped using drums made from pickle buckets, so I suppose sooner or later they were going to leave me by the wayside. Nothing personal, artistic exploration, we'll always have Reinventing Axl Rose. That doesn't make it any easier for me to criticize White Crosses, the group's second major label effort. It's a logical growth from New Wave, with Butch Vig again manning the soundboards, but it's one that I can't grow with.

In the months since White Crosses leaked online, defenders have argued that the record is more of an alternative rock album than a folk-punk one and that fans need to forget the old Against Me! in order to appreciate these new songs. Fair enough. I can support that and review the album on those terms, even though I often find myself comparing White Crosses to releases that came out before alt-rock was a tag.

Generally speaking, the band is running the Replacements' playbook this time out. Specifically, the 'Mats once they signed to a major--the drums are huge, the guitars are pushed to the front, the vocals sound processed and needlessly multi-tracked into oblivion. Some tunes deviate. "Because of the Shame" recalls Bruce Springsteen circa The River. "We're Breaking Up" and "High Pressure Low" weirdly recall the Psychedelic Furs right before they started to really suck. "Ache with Me" sounds like...well, to be honest, I can't think of another band with the balls to attempt a chorus like "I've got no judgment for you / Come on and ache with me."

Forgetting the group's sonic shift, there are two major drawbacks to these songs. First, the lyrics sometimes stumble. The title track tosses out a handful of urban images without any real depth or connection. A few tunes expound on drug use/abuse and scene politics, two topics which keep getting old the older I get. But the music occasionally balances that out. The chorus to "Because of the Shame" is a little unwieldy, but the emotion and music make the story about a deceased former lover a standout track. The sterile production, however, often holds back the band. Even though I think "Shame" is one of the best tracks, I can still admit that the vocals, especially on the chorus, are too obviously auto-corrected and layered. It sounds unnatural hearing that many Gabels pushed together with obnoxious backing vocals (check out those "chickuh-ah"s on "Ache with Me" for more evidence). And why the hell can't James Bowman be higher in the mix? Vig and Alan Moulder often keep things too clean, something that needs to be kept out of rock â??n' roll.

Still, the record isn't terrible, and it hopefully isn't the career-killing debacle some are expecting. It starts and ends well enough; the middle is a little iffy. "Because of the Shame" and "Spanish Moss" are both ridiculously catchy, and even lesser tracks like "White Crosses" and "Suffocation" are worth a listen or two. But that's just what makes White Crosses so disappointing: I've never thought Against Me! was only worth a listen or two. I used to swear by their songs. Now I just make up excuses.

Oh, and don't bother buying the deluxe edition. All four of the bonus tracks are crap.

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
Against Me! - As The Eternal CowboyAgainst Me! - is Reinventing Axl RoseThe Gaslight Anthem - American SlangThe Menzingers - Chamberlain WaitsThe Gaslight Anthem - The '59 SoundAgainst Me! - Searching For A Former ClarityThe Lawrence Arms - Oh! Calcutta!The Gaslight Anthem - Sink or SwimThe Lawrence Arms - The Greatest Story Ever ToldThe Menzingers - On the Impossible Past

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
ghostwriter4567 (April 16, 2013)

Poppy and over processed. Against Me of old is gone. Gabel and switched to Laura and his/her soul is at peace. The gritty, edgy Against Me was borne out of that unresolved sense of self. Its almost that he needed that uneven ground to create true genius like Reinventing Axl rose.

telegraphrocks (December 23, 2012)

Their best.

vinylnoob88 (February 7, 2012)

I think I agree with PBR down there. I think everyone has to look beyond the confines of the unwritten punk rule book and just listen with open ears. Then if it's not for you, no biggie. It's just music.

nofx0516 (May 14, 2011)

...Sorry Tom...this sucks. Take a few years off and find your roots. You better keep these songs off the setlist for The Fest.

aldogg212 (February 22, 2011)

They're giving it (literally) 35%. Probably less.

Claro (January 28, 2011)

We just posted a new interview with Tom Gabel and are offering signed vinyl to two fans...thought the punknews folks might be interested: http://www.theinertia.com/music-art/tom-gabel-against-me-intervie w/

Wolfshour (August 12, 2010)

all time lows..

SpoogeDragon (August 10, 2010)

against me has some pretty shitty fans, glad im not one of em.

TheKidsSuck (July 13, 2010)

SUCK IT UP. This album is one of the ten best punk records of the last 2 decades.

PBR (June 30, 2010)

How come every time someone sings in tune now people pull out the oh you can hear how auto corrected the vocals sound. Have you ever even been in a recording studio? Cause those vocals aren't auto corrected, that's just him singing in tune. God forbid.

IWantToBeACowboy (June 21, 2010)

I've been wanting to get this of my chest for a while, so pardon the length.

I didn't like this album at all the first time I heard it, but I resisted jumping to an opinion because I have faith in Tom. Now several weeks later, my feelings are unchanged. But it's not so much distaste that I feel, just disappointment. I wasn't expecting another Eternal Cowboy. Hell, I wasn't even expecting another New Wave (which I liked, for the record). There is a lot of promise in some of these songs. I really get into the sentiments in the title track, despite James' cheesy guitar lines. Because of the shame and Bamboo Bones are 2 of the best AM! songs to date, and I have no doubt they'll sound pretty kick-ass live. I just wish Butch Vigg had left room for them to breathe. I was stoked about George joining the group, but he's extremely underutilized throughout, burried beneath the layers of auto corrected Tom Gables and guitars that are too simplistic to be this overbearing.

As for the lyrics, even when Tom used this straiforward literal prose on songs like "Justin" or "Thrash Unreal" he still threw in a little wit that made the songs more like bite-sized manifestos ("Yahoo won't let his family have access to his email account") than the bland narratives on Crosses. And there is no excuse for writing We're Breaking up. None. In short, there's just nothing for me to grab onto here; Vigg sucked all the real human emotion out and the over-production just makes it sound forced for the most part. I have no problem with them shooting for commercial success (if that is a goal of theirs), and I'll always check out their new releases. I just wish they had done it a little more organically. Sorry for being cliche, but whenever I was reaching out for some kind of connection, I thought these we're the guys I could count on. Now it seems like they just lost touch.

keithus (June 20, 2010)

I understand why people don't like new Against Me, but I really dig it. I liked New Wave too.

skalastics (June 20, 2010)

this shit is terrible i want to get my tattoo removed...........

TSOL (June 17, 2010)

I enjoy this much more than the new rock album by Gaslight, surprised it scored so much lower :/

thisiscrap (June 16, 2010)

you don't have to sing about the same things forever, but you don't have to suck the soul out of your music either.
this is a bad record, from the lyrics to creepy over production.

i used to drive across states if it meant making one of their shows,
now it's not even worth across town.
the people at the show don't care, the places the shows are are bad, the music is bad enough to go outside,
and since when is tom in the middle?

it's totally too much to ask to want the music that you used to make you feel connected to yourself and your community continue and not go
down in flames like every other rule of the universe right?

p.s. boca fiesta was the best experience i've ever had,
seeing warren oakes so happy made me realize it's all ok.
too bad the rest of the dudes aren't like that anymore.
plus, the gator tacos, amazing.

jproducer73 (June 16, 2010)

I have also been an AM! fan since it's culmination. Loved what they sing about, the topic matter meaning something to me, the way the band felt real and touchable. Also just the fact they stood out in a crowd of bands for sure. I could go on forever about why I liked them, but it will never change that most of those songs seem like a lie to me also now. They actually sang many times about bands doing EXACTLY what they are doing now. Not only does their music now sound formulated and plastic, their last show I went to as well was pathetic and miserable. Not only did I experience things from their albums on a certain level, the shows were the same way. It was an event, it was a feeling, it was amazing. That is all gone for me because the last show was completely miserable and the Menzingers and Dead To Me were far better than their huge stacks, lame lighting and all the other crap they had going for them. Not to mention I am not happy with some of their new fans at all. Terrible experience.

All this being said, I had my time with them and only they know their reasons for doing what they're doing, but I'm just not going to be on board and as far as I can see, they have lost a pretty good chunk of their old fan base. They signed to a big label for a reason, I'm guessing that reason is coming to fruition now.

I will NOT be buying White Crosses or attending another AM! show.

ptro3885 (June 16, 2010)

I think there is one point that most people are missing is that music is a subjective industry. What appeals to so some may not appeal to other and conversely, people have the right to change their mind on a band when they put out new material.

Still, I have been a AM! fan for a long time, my favorite songs come off their first EP's and i pretty much liked everything up until New Wave. Even if the meanings and emotion behind the lyrics to the songs is the same, I just can't hear the passion in the singing. When you go from songs like "Y'all Don't Wanna Step To Dis," and "Tonight We're Gonna Give it 35%" to some of the of the stuff on New Wave, White Crosses, and to a lesser extent SFAFC, as a band you have to expect some backlash. For a good example, Bad Religion put out "How Could Hell Be Any Worse" and then "Into the Unknown" two completely different sounds and "Into the Unknown" was hated by many and even most of the band at that point. This sort of thing just happens. Bands all the time put out bad records, but in some and sometimes most they see the records as good even though they deviate from everything else they have done.

Which brings me to another point, You can only sing about the same stuff for so long and write songs about the same stuff for so long before "You" the band, gets bored and want to write other things. And we as fans need to let a band express themselves. But, Bands need to realize that they wouldn't be in the position they are into if it wasn't for those hardcore first fans who went to the basement shows and went to the dive clubs to listen to them, they are the ones responsible for gaining the band popularity through word of mouth, so it is actually the bands responsibility to not alienate the fans who propped them up.

To this point, if a band puts out a record in which the initial base of fans find it unpalatable, either it is sonically a far cry to what got them listening to the band in the first place, the fact they are on a Major Label, or both, then DON"T BUY IT! enjoy the other records they they put out that you do like. Go to the shows and listen to them, and if they play a 15 song set and 7 of the songs are off the new record and none from their earlier records, that brought them the attention, well then, the band has lost touch with its fans and then you can be pissed off, because they have lost touch with what got them where they are. All the great bands in any genre, have always remembered what made them great, and didn't lose touch with the fans, but it is sad to see that more and more are nowadays.

Now for the review, I have listened to it a couple times and I really just don't like it, that is my subjective opinion, based partly because i liked their earlier stuff so much and listen to it with regularity. So does that put me in that "You must hate them because they are on a major label" category, or the "You don't know what your talking about this is so much better than their earlier stuff" category? No it is my opinion from the music I like and the Music I listen too, and the music I like from them.

We all have different tastes and likes, So deal with it.

froggerwithmylife (June 15, 2010)

Against Me! isn't a good enough band to be argued about this much

zeroeffects (June 15, 2010)

I'm really am ashamed to call myself an Against Me! fan sometimes. Not because of anything the band has done, but because of the shitty attiude of so many of their "fans." You know what, I love the old stuff too, but chill out. I almost think of old AM and new AM as too different bands, and guess what? I like them both. I always listened to AM more for lyrical content than musical content, and the lyrics on WC are just as good as any of their old stuff. Fuck off, hipsters.

justinius (June 15, 2010)

does tom gabel remember when his band were good? against me! were a lie...

nota bene: this is a joke. i can listen to the new record. just don't like it as much as their earlier ones. what's the fucking problem people?

ShitsandGiggles (June 14, 2010)

Forget Against Me!. Listen to New Creases!

robalobadob (June 14, 2010)

It's actually exhausting reading this whole thread because it's just comment after comment of people saying the exact same thing who have absolutely no intention of listening to the opposite side of the argument.

If you like it, good for you. Go do something with your day.

If you don't like it, cool. Go do something with your day.

meholicj (June 13, 2010)

What a great record! I don't care what people say.

4th_Wayvor (June 12, 2010)

give it zero. i'm in college, so if i wanna hear generic music with a heartfelt edge laminated on, i'll go to the bar on a tuesday. i think its time for us all to just let go of Gabel & co., there are enough other bands out there that havent completely dropped the ball and turned on themselves and their fans.

faithisforfools (June 12, 2010)

Leno performance was actually pretty badass. I hope Nicolay becomes a permanent member.

Yip.
RamblinBoyOfPleasure keeps stalking me... that homo is so fucking in love with me. :)

lckrgr (June 11, 2010)

Album is ok, it's one of those that had to grow on me. The twitter war however was fantastic.

XchinatownX (June 11, 2010)

I bet they'll be posting a 5-star review of this album today.

mikexdude (June 11, 2010)

"I'm really glad this is the last day for this review."

You're a fucking douchebag.

overdefined (June 11, 2010)

I'm really glad this is the last day for this review.

maverick (June 11, 2010)

"Fwiw Adam, I'm pretty sure everyone hated Scott before he started working for AP... I know I did."

Really?

http://www.punknews.org/article/10218

Much Clown Love,

-Scott

XchinatownX (June 11, 2010)

Here are a couple of threads that were started about SCOOT Heisel, for those curious as to his reputation among our youth:

Scoot pisses off Ted Leo on Twitter:
http://www.threechords.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=6943&s tart=0

Scoot's days as an unpaid Amazon reviewer:
http://www.absolutepunk.net/showthread.php?t=1685652

evildeadalive (June 11, 2010)

Fwiw Adam, I'm pretty sure everyone hated Scott before he started working for AP... I know I did.

XchinatownX (June 11, 2010)

Also, SCOOT Heisel likes to incorporate Velveeta cheese in his (admittedly limited) sexual activities.

XchinatownX (June 11, 2010)

"Against Me! was the band that got me into punk eight years ago in 2002. It was significant for me because at that time I was in the recovering years of a bout of illness that had lasted 5 years before and that would continue for 2 more after that. I spent my time isolated from all but the doctors in hospitals, and when I was finally able to go out and live life the first concert I went to was one of AM!'s here in Chicago by myself."

Boo-hoo-hoo.

hackjob-chris (June 11, 2010)

Heard the new Sundowner album. Boring. Kinda feel it wasn't needed. Doesn't do anything that four one five two didn't do. Also, In the Flicker sounds like Mouth of a Tiger without the capo on the fith. Baseball's sad lexicon also sounds exactly like a LA song, can't remember which one though.It might be the one that goes 'cold and dejected........steel frame'. I really wanna like this cause i loved four one five two but it just seems to run out of steam pretty fast. Needs to do something with the guitar as opposed to exclusively open chords, spice things up and that.

Nyblowhards (June 11, 2010)

i dont five a fuck

i dont follow modern music

i dont usually dl major label anything, not because of punk sentiment of "major labels suck/sellout" but because im either lazy, dont care, etc. mostly lazy and dont follow the news. what's it gonna matter? you can hear everything and that's what i accept, new or old. go make your money and stuff i guess. blah blah. punks old. THIS IS NOT A REVIEW IT'S A FUCK YOU!

eran_zombis (June 10, 2010)

lol I think heisel's on foursquare.

Five stars for Bamboo Bones. That song makes me think of those badass red pandas at the DC zoo.

hayman (June 10, 2010)

@ Redscare and the others who replied cheers. I knew I'd seen Scotts name somewhere before. This is really just a case of "tall poppy syndrome" isn't it? Seems to be the same case with this band.

MN_DrNick (June 10, 2010)

Everybody stop fighting! You're tearing me and the Org apart!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Plz-bhcHryc

scorpiondeathlock (June 10, 2010)

first 3 songs are great, everything else sucks. slow songs are all just boulevard of broken dreams.

SloaneDaley (June 10, 2010)

Dr. Mr. Korean Dinosaur,

The type of songs you praise on this as maturation, with their "scene politics" are a topic the band has been covering for quite some time. I mean hell take "Reinventing Axl Rose" itself and a good deal of SFAFC and New Wave. These ideas are nothing new with Tom, and he shouldn't stop writing about them if it is what interests him. he sing about whatever interests him for that matter."I Was Teenage Anarchist" is a great song even if it seems Tom's admitted intentions behind it seem to be falling on deaf ears.

My point about not maturing - which I'm sure a lot of folks would agree - is Tom taking his formerly slight tendency to be hamfisted and far too literal with his prose style, and overindulging that. Some of the stuff from this session makes previous lyrics look as complex as Ulysses. It seems like he is sacrifing "art" for the sake of getting his point across now. Taken as a single song like "Justin" on SFAFC it can be seen as an almost daring move in an otherwise lyrically stunning album, when almost a whole album is done in this style it just comes off as lazy. This feeling is only increased by the bands importance with production, it seems increasingly style over substance.

You seem to not care about the bands politics, but politics, personal or otherwise are important to most listeners whether they recognize it or not. If it wasn't more people would probably listen to Skrewdriver for the "awesome riffs". Which is pretty irresponisble listening. People that just want something to just nod their head to might as well purchase a lifetime supply of elevator music. Indeed, it seems to me a lot of people consider White Crosses to be just that - background music.

I like the album kind of.

MDJoyce (June 10, 2010)

Against Me! was the band that got me into punk eight years ago in 2002. It was significant for me because at that time I was in the recovering years of a bout of illness that had lasted 5 years before and that would continue for 2 more after that. I spent my time isolated from all but the doctors in hospitals, and when I was finally able to go out and live life the first concert I went to was one of AM!'s here in Chicago by myself. They lived up to the promise of their albums. They had a passion and intensity that transcended all the pretense of modern hipster punk and the cock-rock metal so prevalent in hardcore bands.

Against Me! had something to say. They didn't get into punk so they could get a lot of pussy. They didn't get into punk so they could make money. They didn't get into punk in order to become famous. They got into punk for the only legitimate reason there is as far as I'm concerned--they had comments about society that they couldn't keep contained and this was the best way this highschool dropout knew how to communicate it.

In a nightmare world where even liberal democrats were suddenly reciting Bush slogans, AM! was your car-stereo ally in a world that broke your piece-of-shit-20-year-old-car's windows after a look at the bumper-stickers on it. Nothing can compare to driving down a suburban plaza sitting on broken glass, in a car studded with new dents and feeling proud with your stereo thumping. It wasn't about bitching that the world was against poor ole' you like so many bands seem to make it about now--it was taking pride in it. No, it was more than even that. It was screaming a challenge to the world, that you could take them all on, that you weren't afraid of them: All Against Me!

All that's gone now.
I imagine this is what older punks who were introduced into the genre by the Dead Kennedy's or Minor Threat of The Clash must have felt like as those bands changed. Time is not kind to the punk.

To this day they're the only band I will go out of my way to see in concert--and each time I do I'm a little more disappointed in them, a little more aware that I'm trying to reclaim a feeling that died a long time ago and will never return, or if it ever does return AM! will certainly not be the vehicle to that end. I've come to terms with Gabel's hypocrisy. No, it's not about the fucking style of music. To me that's always been secondary. Electric, acoustic, overly-produced--whatever. Punk is and should always be about the lyrics--it's the words that define punk because punk more than any other music genre is about ideas and beliefs. It's that this has clearly and by his own admission become a job for him. Assholes talk about "doing what they love," but I don't give a shit about what job you have; you'll never escape the shadow of capitalism. You can work all yours days in a non-profit and make decent enough money but there will come a point when it becomes no more than a means to an end, the end being the paycheck and the people you are working to help simply become the equivalent of the boxes you used to unload at your minimum wage job.

Tom Gabel and Against Me! were there when I needed them to be. They gave me a backlog of albums that I still listen to today, and a few track on their newer ones that will be there for me as well. They may have changed, but the zeitgeist behind those lyrics and the angry tremble in that voice never will. They were there when we needed them there for us. They gave us what we needed at the time, and that's all you can ask of a band.

White Crosses is a disappointment. It touches on the former glory but always leaves you wanting more substance. I like the eponymous track because I've always been a feminist, and it was nice to see AM! finally go into this territory. Teenage Anarchist was decent as well, as was Shame. But the rest I forgot after listening to.

Against Me! is running out of things to say. The impetus that drove to their creation is vanishing. Hey, if you don't have anything to say anymore, why not revisit the words of the people who had something to say before you? I really liked AM!'s cover of Cock Sparrer and the Dead Kennedys on the Daytrotter sessions. It was always a special treat to see Bastards of Young played by them live. Against Me! should do a cover CD.

a_nice_young_man (June 10, 2010)

Against Me! is like an ex-girlfriend. She used to be so nice, now she's a whore.

regreteverything (June 10, 2010)

The real surprise here is that AM! don't seem to care about opinions posted on what basically amounts to "Punk Chan" between picking up lunches for everyone and talking with Deb in accounting at your assorted data entry jobs. Obviously, this means Tom is a scene traitor and should be treated as such.

BURN THE WITCHES
cc: marketing

SATAN_THE_KOREAN_DINOSAUR (June 10, 2010)

I'm surprised at the lack of "maturation" comments these reviews contain. I look at this record on par with Save The Day's records put out post SWYA (which wasn't an easy pill for their fanbase to swallow, but they eventually came around). AM sounds bigger, polished, and different, a cocktail many scene kids vomit back up just a quick as they would swallow. The sonic palate Vig shlacks over the album isn't something over interesting, but it's not distracting either. Gabel's vocals are huge and anthematic, and the backing harmonies are swoony and delicious.

That said, i think the single off the record sums up the direction the band is taking pretty well. "The revolution was a lie" is the death nail of their youth. Singing songs won't cure cancer and stop wars, and Gabel pulls no punches in pointing that out. Every black wearing idealist has a new public enemy #1, and much like an ex lover, hates them more because they loved them at one point. Most poignant is the exit track "Bitter Divisions", which seems like an honest attempt at reconciliation with those AM has left behind. It's important not to overlook the hopefully extended hand there.

I for one, could care less about the "importance" of the politics behind most records these days. All band's are hyperbolic, one or the other side, not matter how centrist and above reproach they parade around as. Gabel gets it, and for his part still points fingers, but realizes it's of little use in the cynicism inclined, self serving culture he preaches too.

Isn't this alot like growing up though? Young and naive turns into a mix contentment and let down. That's what this record sounds like to me. "We're Breaking Up", "Because of the Shame", and "I Was a Teenage Anarchist" are super solid, hooky tunes which stay in your head all day. There are lower points sure. "Bob Dylan Dream" is a pretty mailed in tune, but still paints a memorable picture.

I like this record, and will probably jam to it all summer. Haters will hate, fanboys will gush, but overall this is a solid disk worth listening to.

SATAN_THE_KOREAN_DINOSAUR (June 10, 2010)

I'm surprised at the lack of "maturation" comments these reviews contain. I look at this record on par with Save The Day's records put out post SWYA (which wasn't an easy pill for their fanbase to swallow, but they eventually came around). AM sounds bigger, polished, and different, a cocktail many scene kids vomit back up just a quick as they would swallow. The sonic palate Vig shlacks over the album isn't something over interesting, but it's not distracting either. Gabel's vocals are huge and anthematic, and the backing harmonies are swoony and delicious.

That said, i think the single off the record sums up the direction the band is taking pretty well. "The revolution was a lie" is the death nail of their youth. Singing songs won't cure cancer and stop wars, and Gabel pulls no punches in pointing that out. Every black wearing idealist has a new public enemy #1, and much like an ex lover, hates them more because they loved them at one point. Most poignant is the exit track "Bitter Divisions", which seems like an honest attempt at reconciliation with those AM has left behind. It's important not to overlook the hopefully extended hand there.

I for one, could care less about the "importance" of the politics behind most records these days. All band's are hyperbolic, one or the other side, not matter how centrist and above reproach they parade around as. Gabel gets it, and for his part still points fingers, but realizes it's of little use in the cynicism inclined, self serving culture he preaches too.

Isn't this alot like growing up though? Young and naive turns into a mix contentment and let down. That's what this record sounds like to me. "We're Breaking Up", "Because of the Shame", and "I Was a Teenage Anarchist" are super solid, hooky tunes which stay in your head all day. There are lower points sure. "Bob Dylan Dream" is a pretty mailed in tune, but still paints a memorable picture.

I like this record, and will probably jam to it all summer. Haters will hate, fanboys will gush, but overall this is a solid disk worth listening to.

overdefined (June 10, 2010)

"If there's any "fuckface", it's the douchebag reviewer in the Down to Nothing review."

Agreed.

Cos (June 10, 2010)

Hey Adam,

Would you guys put something like what you wrote in FAQ section? I did look there before I posted my erroneous answer but I didn't find anything. My memory of this place just ain't what it used to be.

mikexdude (June 10, 2010)

If there's any "fuckface", it's the douchebag reviewer in the Down to Nothing review.

adam (June 10, 2010)

I'll hop in here since there's such a fun party going on.

- To clarify, Aubin founded, developed and established Punknews back in 99 quasi-spinning it out of his zine at the time. He remains the big boss man and is an overall snappy dresser. Scott and I started as editors here in 2000.

- Scott's an easy target because he writes for Alternative Press, which is, rightly or wrongly, a magnet for shittalk given their position of prominence. He's never been anything but wonderful with me and I consider him a friend. He is responsible for the extinction of the unicorn, but that was honestly an accident.

- I really wanted to like this album. Against Me! gets an undue amount of flack for making their own life choices despite what the scene thinks they should do. All the power to them. That said, outside of "White Crosses" and "Rapid Decompression" I'm not really feeling it.

- We constantly struggle with people taking the opinion of one reviewer as the opinion of "Punknews." Our reviews come from the community here, and even our "staff" are just community volunteers who write regularly enough that we feel confident sending them stuff to review. For all I know Aubin, Mr. Punknews himself, has a White Crosses tattoo on his forehead. It has no bearing on whether we'd publish this or not.

- Against Me! may not please everyone every time but everyone takes notice of what they do. What other band commands the attention of the punk scene like that these days? It really is amazing if you think about it.

adam

Descendentmark (June 10, 2010)

I just got the album and so far very unimpressed, maybe it will grow on me but I doubt it. I really like New Wave and Searching for former Clarity but Reinventing Axle Rose is still the best.

Cos (June 10, 2010)

Ah, I was under the impression the three did it all, not just the widely successful PN Records. I actually got their first CD just because they hyped it so much here. Oy, it was not so good.

Dante3000 (June 10, 2010)

Cos, Aubin is the sole founder of punknews. Adam and Scott were some of the first editors of the site (though I have no idea which came first [that's what she said]) but Aubin is the only creator and founder of the site. Also, all three co-founded the wildly successful and profitable Punknews Records, which was later sold to pay for a fleet of hovercreaft and jet-helicopters.

Cos (June 10, 2010)

@hayman: Scott is one of the founders of the org (Adam and Aubin are the other two). He doesn't work here anymore but is still an active member of the community.

I like that Matt can delineate between a person in real life and a person on the internet. For all we know, Scott and Matt could be friends in real life. But their internet personalities do not mix well at all.

hamonrye (June 10, 2010)

yeah, the guy did always seem like kind of a cock.

I remember one user telling a story about how he was banned for making a disparaging remark about a drive thru band, which scott said was 100% untrue. How the fuck would scott know?

mattramone (June 10, 2010)

Nah, the Scott hate comes from the fact that he (on the internet at least) is a raging mega douche.

hamonrye (June 10, 2010)

I thought about submitting a bit of news. Here's the headlline:

AP's Scott Heisel and Tom Gabel of Against Me! trade blows in twitter feud

Doubt if it'll ever get posted.

paulrulzdood (June 10, 2010)

the hatred of scott heisel=dudes jocking shit jobs that have nothing to do with music jealous of a guy that writes for a major music publication for a living, covering many bands he loves, and probably gets to meet/inteview all kinds of bands while they work their job that has nothing to do with music they love.

Paul

MisFit4Me (June 10, 2010)

They've changed. It's not really the style of music I like anymore. I started liking them back whenever because I was a nerd at school and they made me feel like maybe I wasn't alone. That's why we go to punk shows, right? Beer, music, and unity.

R3vengeTherapy (June 10, 2010)

The hatred for Scott Heisel on this website is fucking retarded. I met him once at a NOFX show in Cleveland and he was an awesome guy. He's really good friends with a good friend of mine, too. This website is just filled with people who have nothing better to do than take shots at someone for no reason and obsess endlessly over a band they used to love but has since decided to become successful instead of playing basement shows until they're in their 40's.

Skawas (June 10, 2010)

First I thought it's pretty boring. I just liked the song white crosses. But i got more and more into it. Sure, it's different, but I really love it. Really, it's a Masterpiece. Maybe it also depends on my age, I don't know. I just know it's FUCKING GOOD.

Maybe you guys should spend more time for hearing this album....and if not, go listen Pennywise. They sound the same since about 20 years now.

Indecay (June 10, 2010)

Are people actually arguing that abandoning everything that makes you interesting in order to sound like American Idiot Ultra-Light is a sign of "growing up" and "maturing"??

HAHA.

redscare (June 10, 2010)

Can someone please clear some stuff up for me?

1. Scott was (and kinda still is?) a Punknews community member that went on to work for Alternative Press. He's actually been genuinely supportive of lotsa worthy bands from the underground, but the hate towards him comes about because most Orgcore kids can't stand most the bands that magazine covers.

2. The first part of your question is impossible to answer because it's subjective and it depends on the individual. As for the second part, all I know is that I have never seen people obsess about a band like they do over AM!. People have this intense attachment to the band, and I guess that speaks to their relevance. That's probably the easiest way to explain it.

3. I think Orgsummit was started around The Fest. I believe it's a message board where they facilitate meet-ups at shows and festivals.

hayman (June 10, 2010)

@ Danny - I love Idle Will Kill personally. Osker were great.

hayman (June 10, 2010)

Can someone please clear some stuff up for me?

1. Who is Scott Heisel and what's the story with the hate on him?
2. Why does everyone care so much about this band? They're pretty good but to get a reaction like this?
3. Whats an orgsummit?

dannydeadhack (June 10, 2010)

I think it's going to be looked at as Against Me's "Idle Will Kill". In other words, all the punx will hate it because it's different than what they've previously done, they took risks and did what they wanted to do with it, people will hate them for it, listen to it again in a few years and realize it's actually a pretty good album.

raveneffect (June 10, 2010)

Minus "Animal" and "Born on The FM Waves" I thought New Wave was a pretty above average album, considering it was AM!'s first major label release, it could of been WAY worse. White Crosses on the other hand sucks, New Wave kills this shit. I've been listening to this shit since it leaked and it still hasn't grew on me. Only tracks I like are "Rapid Decompression" and the title track, "Bamboo Bones" is alright too. Overall I suppose its an ok pop rock album, but I was kind of hoping for something more along the lines of New Wave.

Oh wells.

XchinatownX (June 10, 2010)

Does anyone know if Heather Gabel has tattoos on her breasts?

keithybobeefy (June 9, 2010)

"You can't tell someone to get over something that is subjective (and also wrong). That doesn't make any sense."

Hello Kettle...

whatchokesbegin (June 9, 2010)

"It's a good album, get over it"

You can't tell someone to get over something that is subjective (and also wrong). That doesn't make any sense.

ZachLeg (June 9, 2010)

hail satan

vinhoff (June 9, 2010)

I like it. Every sappy hook is fine with me, it's a well composed album, where alot of the early stuff seems like collections of songs with no common thread. If it was a rehashing of Reinventing Axl Rose I would have little interest in it.

drewshaw (June 9, 2010)

this thread got weird, fast

MisterMurder (June 9, 2010)

It makes me sad that every band I like eventually resorts to releasing garbage.
With very few exceptions, switching to a major generally kills any bands passion and raw expression.
Which was what I originally liked such bands for in the first place.

Anyway, White Crosses is horrible.

SporadicPunk (June 9, 2010)

Watered down.

flowerfeeder (June 9, 2010)

I've been listening to "We're Breaking Up" on a loop all day.

They captured the mood of that experience to a fucking T. I know, because I'm living it.

Just a beautiful song. Couldn't give a fuck if it's "punk" or not or who wrote it. It's just a beautiful song.

FaithIsForFools (June 9, 2010)

"If there is a worse song than Ache With me released this year, I'll eat my own feces."

Everything on the new Dopamines album.
Eat your shit, retard.

Blackjaw_ (June 9, 2010)

The toilet I used at the GO Station yesterday had "HAIL SATAN" carved into the seat.

mattramone (June 9, 2010)

Welcome to the Hail Satan Network!

SloaneDaley (June 9, 2010)

Jelone is satan! hail satan!

makeshifty (June 9, 2010)

I dont know about instant classics, but Jelone should probably stop writing reviews, his music taste blows.

renvolpi (June 9, 2010)

Hey Jelone, you obviously don't know shit about music. this album is a masterpiece! songs like "White Crosses" and "Because of the Shame" are instant classics! You should stop writing on this website cause you are embarrassing yourself.

SloaneDaley (June 9, 2010)

I like this record a lot.

no you don't! why are you lying to us Duffer? stop lying!

DuffB (June 9, 2010)

I like this record a lot.

theemalcontents (June 9, 2010)

kinda reminds me of when NOFX put out Heavy Petting Zoo and everybody (that I knew) hated it because they changed their sound up a bit. Not as drastic of a change as Against ME! and everybody flipped out. When they would play songs off that album they'd get booed. Sometimes a band feels like doing something different. They are doing it for themselves. Isn't that why most people started playing music, you know, for themselves? You don't pick up a guitar and say hey, what can I write that everybody would like.
Anyways, I don't like this album or the last 2 before this one. I still love Eternal Cowboy and RAR. And yes, I liked Heavy Petting Zoo then and still do now. There isn't much NOFX can do to make me not like them. I guess I have shitty taste in music. Hell, I even liked my band and we blew hard.

zeroeffects (June 9, 2010)

It's a good album, get over it. You always have the old stuff to listen to. How can you dislike a song like White Crosses or High Pressure Low? That's some intense good shit. Over-produced? Probably, but that doesn't make the songs bad. AM fans are no better than hipsters sometimes.

Luke12 (June 9, 2010)

@Whatchokesbegan is spot on. Would I have listened to this as much as I have, desperate to like it, if it wasn't Against Me!? Would I balls. This is a poor album written by an otherwise great band. Those that actually like it can only say it's better than New Wave, which it patently isn't.

Ballsy815 (June 9, 2010)

Just when I thought it was ok to like Tom Gabel again, he becomes a teenage whiney bitch on Twitter. On a side note, I like the album a lot.

paulrulzdood (June 9, 2010)

i look forward to getting this. I really enjoyed New Wave so if this continues in that direction, sounds good. and i saw them live last month and most of the new songs sounded great to me, hopefully the studio versions of them don't suck.

Paul

whatchokesbegin (June 9, 2010)

Also, I'm not expecting them to make the same album over and over again. I honestly didn't like Reinventing as much as Eternal Cowboy, and the latter was much different and more polished. But let's pretend for a moment that this is their first album, so there is no older material to compare it to. If I heard this record, would I like it? Would I recommend this band to others? Nope, because I don't like generic arena rock. I don't give a fuck if this is Tom Gabel, it's just not good.

Are the lyrics meaningful and heartfelt? Probably. Does the songwriting make me cringe? Very much. Does the music suck? Absolutely.

jacknife737 (June 9, 2010)

"Needz moar ska."

Amen brother.

SloaneDaley (June 9, 2010)

I'm surprised that think Tom's lyrics have matured at all and enjoyed the lyrics here, on the past two releases it feels like he has dumbed things down a lot. His only mode seems to be far too literal and straightforward explication. The band has always had songs like that which is okay but it seems like they lost any poetic elements they had. Lyrically, between older albums and these two it is like Crimpshrine vs. Fifteen. There isn't any "We Laugh At Danger...", "Disco Before The Breakdown", "Sink, Florida, Sink", "Unsubstantiated Rumors...", "Miami" or "Searching For A Former Clarity" or even "The Ocean" here. "I Was A Teenage Anarchist" is an interesting song in terms of narrative perspective and "Lehigh Acres" is pretty darn good but from someone who wrote those other songs it seems lacking.

PunkCDSampler (June 9, 2010)

Horrible.

thegooch (June 9, 2010)

new songs sound good live...that counts for something, right? right? guys?

sciulli (June 9, 2010)

Unlike everyone else, I didn't download the rip months ago. So yesterday was my first taste.

The first thing that hits me hard, and I've read this comparison but I wasn't so sure how true it would be, is that this record sounds SO much like "American Idiot/21st Century" just on a smaller scale.

Some of the songs are really great, but at the same time, there are so many moments that you think, "Wow, this sounds like every other generic rock band out there."

This is only after one listen though, so maybe it's not a fair assessment. My favorites after one listen were probably "White Crosses," "Because of the Shame," and "Ache with Me" (the later two could be big singles for sure). I've read a lot of people trashing "Ache with Me," but I think they actually pull it off. The song could have been a disaster, but Tom's vocals are so unique that it can save a song like this that would be trash by another band.

I really hope Tom still makes another angry, bare-bones production record sometime in the future. Couple his growth as a song writer with the "correct" production (less 'whoaaaaas' and generic alt band moments) and he could still make something amazing I feel.

yummygrass (June 9, 2010)

Opening riff "Spanish Moss" sound like Jack Black School of Rock song?
"High Pressure Low" Dancing With Myself by Generation X??

Luke12 (June 9, 2010)

I don't feel they've matured their sound, they've certainly changed it, but matured it? I don't know. Those irritating noises littered across this album make it difficult to feel like a band maturing. Ahh ah ah, in Teenage Anarchist, the fucking horrible chuck-ah's in the awful Ache With Me, and the urgh! during the chorus of Suffocation. Why did they bother putting those bits in? Definitely didn't add anything apart from humour to the songs.

flowerfeeder (June 9, 2010)

Great record. Ignore the review.

I've grown up, and I'm glad the band has as well.

PCS19 (June 9, 2010)

@whatchokesbegin nailed it.

Misanthropee (June 9, 2010)

The sucking sound of rebellion turning into money.

Indecay (June 9, 2010)

If there is a worse song than Ache With me released this year, I'll eat my own feces.

regreteverything (June 9, 2010)

How dare Against Me! not rewrite Reinventing... track for track and instead put out an album they're obviously comfortable with. Those. Selfish. Bastards.

Indecay (June 9, 2010)

Such a disappointing record. I just can't get into it at all. The songs range from terrible to meh and it's the first AM! album I've had to delete from my ipod. Simply can't listen to half of it.

keithybobeefy (June 9, 2010)

It's not my favorite Against Me! record, but I don't think this is bad by any means. It's catchy as hell and it's solid. Yeah, it's not Reinvnenting Axl Rose or Searching For A Former Clarity, but it's good. 'Because of the Shame' and 'Bamboo Bones' are pretty great.

And yes, I like 'We're Breaking Up'.

XchinatownX (June 9, 2010)

Except that The National, The Hold Steady, and Neko Case are all much, much better songwriters and lyricists than fuckin' Against Me!

bumS_lie (June 9, 2010)

Be sure to check 'em out on Jay Leno this friday! ...

MN_DrNick (June 9, 2010)

Holy fucking ass crackers. This is just as bad as that drama last year over Rancid's "Let The Dominoes Fall".

redscare (June 9, 2010)

Something else crossed my mind after I read a lot of criticism about this album not being punk enough, or being too slick, too mainstream-sounding, etc.

Punknews lends a lot of praise to plenty of un-punk, mainstream bands. Just look at some of the bands that have made the "Best of" lists: Vampire Weekend, Feist, The National, Bloc Party, Hold Steady, Neko Case, etc. My point is, Against Me! looks like GG Allin compared to plenty of the stuff that people rave about on here. I guess that's AM's curse: they'll always be judged in the context of their early, anarcho days.

Blackjaw_ (June 9, 2010)

Score is for the album. Multiply it by 2 to see the score for Bamboo Bones. Easily the best track.

faithisforfools (June 9, 2010)

More listens today, and now there's only one song of the 14 that I do NOT like... "We're Breaking Up".

8/10

mediocore (June 8, 2010)

I couldn't really get into New Wave (and SFTC is just okay), but I really dig this. Just a good rock record.

notfeelingcreative (June 8, 2010)

Lol @ Damo's comment about the coastline, I've been eating Grouper with Valvoline! My comment was directed at Easy not all British, I was being a prick for the fun of it!

whatchokesbegin (June 8, 2010)

Many bands get shit on for evolving or signing to a major label, and I generally disagree with this notion because it's usually bullshit. I love the new direction Crime in Stereo is heading. I liked Good Mourning when everyone thought it sucked and I enjoyed For Blood and Empire when everyone called Anti-Flag sellouts (although both bands have gone down the toilet since). While C I V I L W A R, Supporting Caste and Iron Front were well received here, many hardcore fans dumped all over the bands and cried about how much better they used to be. I also still love the Get Up Kids. The point is, new and different doesn't always mean worse and people are too afraid of change to understand that many of these disowned albums are actually very good.

However...

This is NOT one of those instances, and many who agree with my above statements are so desperate to believe that it IS, that they are too blinded by their passion to realize how fucking TERRIBLE this album is. I mean, I love Bad Religion to death, but I'm not afraid to admit that they've created a few pretty awful records.

It's not the end of the world, but this one's a stinker, folks.

hogan (June 8, 2010)

I really enjoy "I Was An Teenage Anarchist" and "Ache with Me". Generally there are times when I listen to the album and I kind of start tunning it out...I have not decided if that is because things start to sound the same or if I just need to see Against Me! play these songs live. I really respect the band and I often feel that people are too concerned with the band in general. I was kind of hoping for an angry album similar to "Insomniac" by Green Day, which was spurred on by people giving them Hell for becoming commercially successful. So I encourage everyone to give this album a chance before they decided to bash it.

PCS19 (June 8, 2010)

@tommygabel 's very mature reaction is pretty entertaining to read through. "chickuh-ah." then he says he changes his mind and says he likes punknews and calls scott heisel a fuck face... ahh the internets

xshoutoutx (June 8, 2010)

Blows fucking hard!

thegreatestmanalive (June 8, 2010)

Still love this band, that being said this album crushed my spirit. I refuse to listen to it anymore cause it hurts me too much

thegimper (June 8, 2010)

Needz moar ska.

chipsahoycookie (June 8, 2010)

Were they given ice cold Pepsi's when they were recording half these songs or what?

Kylewagoner (June 8, 2010)

Amazing album. Can't get over how addictive it is. It took me a few listens but then I couldn't stop. I knew the review would not be biased on this album...

ashtraymonument (June 8, 2010)

i don't particularly feel like repeating my full opinion on this album, but I will say I enjoy it much more than new wave. its more diverse and interesting musically and lyrically, and despite the god awful productionicide on this, and the chk-ahhs, there are some great songs on here. Nothing close to their first 3 albums, but leagues above New Wave.

3.5

thepopeofchili-town (June 8, 2010)

Maybe just a little bit.

drewshaw (June 8, 2010)

The pope of chili town would have givin this a higher rating

GlassPipeMurder (June 8, 2010)

haven't heard the whole thing, but i surprisingly enjoyed 'i was a teenage anarchist'

yummygrass (June 8, 2010)

"Iâ??ve never thought Against Me! was only worth a listen or two. I used to swear by their songs. Now I just make up excuses."

Perfect way to put how it is now. Damn, i really miss 'em. Fuck Butch Vig.

jo_punk_promoter (June 8, 2010)

i bet Against Me and Four Year Strong are gonna co-headline a "IhateScottHeisel tour" pretty soon!

jaydischord (June 8, 2010)

That should say you can watch Against me live on this link kids....or that link.....time for a PBR methinks, oh and why does that tosser hate the 'British'

ryanonthembta (June 8, 2010)

It's not quite as horrendous as New Wave... but that's not saying a whole lot. I'm sincerely amused by how pissy Tom Gabel gets these days. He seems to be attempting to fulfill every rock star cliche ever. Dude is seriously a joke.

ZachLeg (June 8, 2010)

two things I hate -

comparing bands to the Replacements. I already have one friend who pretends to like them and that's enough for me.

and comparing bands to Springsteen

damo (June 8, 2010)

can't get into this record, not heavy or fast enough for me (streamed it not downloaded). i do like high pressure low though which is bizarre. ah well, i love hey ya by Outkast too.

got into these during their fat years n really liked them for the songs rather than the lyrics/politics. some bands just change their sound. deal with it

damo (June 8, 2010)

"God, I hate the British."

and we hate you too! how's your coastline btw? lol roll on Saturday so that we can kick ya arse

crackpotdemagogue (June 8, 2010)

I love 'Org Drama. Gabel called Heisel a "fuckface" during his outburst. Perhaps the best action we've seen since Bemis-gate.

avery7190 (June 8, 2010)

Tom Gabel needds to stop being a little bitch. Either way, I still enjoy the album.

jacknife737 (June 8, 2010)

Love this album so fucking much; could be my favorite of the year.

It seems to be less polarizing as well, suppose a lot of the kids crying about new wave and stopped caring.

Top three tracks: Because of the Shame, White Crosses, High Pressure Low

Wasn't too keen on the review either; it's not that it wasn't well written, just kind of predictable.

faithisforfools (June 8, 2010)

Still better than Reinventing Axl Rose.

It's also hilarious to think Jeff Rosenstock could rip on this album, yet make the garbage he does.... insane.

tris (June 8, 2010)

LOL @ tom gabel throwing a hissy fit on twitter. major label rockstar in "can't handle bad press" shocker.

this album is bunk. I've yet to meet anyone outside of the hollow .org echo chamber who actually likes it. it gets 1 1/5 only because the falsetto in 'suffocation' has me in hysterics every time.

slymer (June 8, 2010)

someone needs to fix the rating thing

laserguidedbygod (June 8, 2010)

Gabel called Scott Heisel a "fuckface" on his Twitter too. Hilarious.

conebone69 (June 8, 2010)

We don't need a review for Off With Their Heads since they just rehash the same album ala Pennywise

mattramone (June 8, 2010)

@XchinatownX Yes. When their bus flipped it's because Tom saw a synagogue and grabbed the wheel and turned hard to hit it.

jo_punk_promoter (June 8, 2010)

i really disagree, i love this record. It's my favorite since Reinventing.

evildeadalive (June 8, 2010)

and where the fuck is the Off With Their Heads review?

evildeadalive (June 8, 2010)

Exactly what redscare said minus the Seahawks comments. I hate the Seahawks.... Have they gotten rid of Matt Hasslebeck yet?

But yeah, came in with low expectations, absolutely love it. 9.88 out of 10.

disconnected (June 8, 2010)

For me it's a better record than New Wave.

XchinatownX (June 8, 2010)

Does Tom Gabel really hate Jews?

notfeelingcreative (June 8, 2010)

I still happen to like both of those bands, most of the people I know who liked Defiance Ohio and TBIAPB still like them so that statement is ridiculous. You use the whole "they have to stay fresh to stay relevant" mentality, but I don't know where you live but I can't remeber the last time I heard one of the offspring's songs from their last two records on the radio, they're still playing the stuff off "smash" though.

AM! wanted a bigger audience they weren't happy playing to 100 kids a night anymore and that's fine, good for them, if I have to listen to the radio I'd much rather hear Against Me! than fucking shinedown or whatever! but don't act like they're superior to other bands because other bands are content with playing basements and selling a lot less records.

quickattack (June 8, 2010)

I like everything they've done already, including New Wave. But this album is just okay, I dont really have strong feelings for it either way. It was disappointing, thats all I have to say about it.

conebone69 (June 8, 2010)

Garbage review.

This album is solid all-around with "because of the shame" as the standout.

Not only that, but I would put that song in my top three AM! songs of all-time

skaboom (June 8, 2010)

This is an enjoyable album. Bamboo Bones, Because of the Shame and Spanish Moss are among the best songs the band has ever written. I agree with a couple points the reviewer made, especially regarding James' vocals being too low in the mix, but beyond that I fail to see why this band garners endless criticism.

skankbook (June 8, 2010)

White Crosses? More like C I V I L W A R 2.

What makes "Reinventing Axl Rose" such a great fucking song is the idea that there can be a band who doesn't give a fuck what the haters say, as long as they get to play. "New Wave" expanded on that, "We can be the bands we want to hear." "Rapid Decompression" goes even further. "Before you point your finger, before you cast your stones, take a look @ yourself."

If you're so fucking sick of a band not being who they were a decade ago, go out and write your own fucking albums, get your own tires slashed, & get into an argument @ a coffee shop & have a 2,000 comment article written about it. If you don't like the music, fine, but don't hate it simply because you don't want Against Me! to have a keyboard in their songs.

thepopeofchili-town (June 8, 2010)

"I wonder how big AM! would have gotten if they kept playing like Reinventing/ Eternal cowboy. It still seems like with the huge crowds those are the ones that get the best reception."

Probably as big as Defiance, Ohio or This Bike Is A Pipe Bomb. It'd get old after about 3 records and no one would give a shit.

Those older songs do get a big reaction at shows, which is a lot of fun, but I doubt a lot of people would know those songs if they hadn't made New Wave and SFAFC.

mattramone (June 8, 2010)

@brangelina I'd like to kick things off with a positive jam.

swiftjustice (June 8, 2010)

I wonder how big AM! would have gotten if they kept playing like Reinventing/ Eternal cowboy. It still seems like with the huge crowds those are the ones that get the best reception.

fisch (June 8, 2010)

not one curse word

ozmanx (June 8, 2010)

1 star for the review. So much hate my friend.

XchinatownX (June 8, 2010)

So bad.

goodfella31 (June 8, 2010)

butch vig blew his load all over this record, on as the eternal cowboy the music sounds so much more natural and not layered with crap, vig turns the drums and guitars way too loud and sucks the passion out of toms vocals...everything sounds so processed...except for because of the shame and bamboo bones, the lyrics are entirely too unoriginal....bob dylans dream may be the worst song ever written along with we're breaking up...i dont think bob dylan would appreciate that song, its a novelty song which is way too bland...this record shouldnt be by against me!, it should be by tom gabel and his all star band starring butch vig...i refuse to believe tom gabel is done as a musician, but i think he has temporarily forgotten where he mispplaced his passion....in summation this record is like going to eat chicken mcnuggets, only to realize that the person at the drive thru forgot to put the barbecue sauce in with them.

brangelina (June 8, 2010)

I like this record!

tylerk (June 8, 2010)

I don't dislike this album because of the label it's being put out on
I don't dislike this album because of the politics of the band or lyrical content
I don't dislike this album because the of the over production
I don't dislike this album for it's too-polished drumming.
I don't dislike this album because it isn't the Eternal Cowboy or Searching
I dislike this album because it sucks.

But you know what? Ben and Jerry's has a hundred flavors, and just because I think Chunky Monkey sucks doesn't mean I'm about to stop eating Chubby Hubby, or Chocolate Chip Cookie dough. It's Just a bad entry in a catalog of greatness. Tom Gabel has had the musical equivalent of the midas touch on the last 10 things he's done, but this one is a dud.
Oh and I saw them live on this current tour and they're live show has lost everything that made it fun, exciting, enjoyable and thrilling in previous years. IMO

slymer (June 8, 2010)

as well as the long overdue Cherry Poppin Daddies review

zap (June 8, 2010)

i like it

overdefined (June 8, 2010)

Purple Mercy and Down to Nothing reviews up

boobthemusicindustry (June 8, 2010)

Amidst the negativaty, I've managed to enjoy certain parts of this album quite a bit. Bamboo Bones? Excellent. High Pressure Low? Above average. One By One might be a bit overproduced, but its still a great listen.

notfeelingcreative (June 8, 2010)

"Perhaps "change" would be a better word than "grow". Show me a person that is the same as they were ten years ago, and I'll show you a boring, stagnant motherfucker."

Point taken.

dX927 (June 8, 2010)

All I know is Scott Heisel is a fuck face. That's the rumor lol

misterspike (June 8, 2010)

Perhaps "change" would be a better word than "grow". Show me a person that is the same as they were ten years ago, and I'll show you a boring, stagnant motherfucker.

notfeelingcreative (June 8, 2010)

"All the people that whine about "It isn't RAR" can still listen to that album. People grow, get over it."

I'm sorry but what exactly makes this and the last album "more mature" than RAR other than the lack of "I was burning that fucker and stringing my black flag high" in the lyrics? If they had released "White Crosses" as their first album and RAR as their fifth would people be complaining about the "regression" of their sound? They might call it "stripped down" or something to that effect but no one would be saying "Against me have really regressed with their new record, "Reinventing Axl Rose, they've lost the maturity of "White Crosses" and have resorted to sophomoric "folk punk".

misterspike (June 8, 2010)

Much bigger fan of the album than I am the review. The one I had submitted gave it 3.5/5 ...

All the people that whine about "It isn't RAR" can still listen to that album. People grow, get over it.

"Because of the Shame" is easily the standout track here. The person below that compared it to "Thrash Unreal" is spot-on. Sure, there are a few clunkers on here, but it's a solid record. People need to leave their baggage at the door and give it
a fair shake.

10-4Eleanor (June 8, 2010)

I'm not in favor, nor do I think any of us has the right, to criticize AM! for the direction they have taken. I prefer records with good production, albeit maybe not this glossy, but I think AM!'s earlier stuff suffered from sounding like it was recorded through a car tape deck. And who cares what the fuck label they are on, it's a dying industry any way you cut it. Change happens, and no bullshit xeroxed-rooftop-gardening-zine-wielding anarcho douche is going to stop that. So I say go for it, dudes, do a synth pop record next for all I care. The problem for me is twofold: first, that the music itself doesn't do anything for me, despite having for the most part good lyrics, and secondly, that the finest drummer in punk rock doesn't get to show his chops.

Against Me! has gotten fantastic as a live band though (phantom member notwithstanding). They are tight and focused and they make the old stuff sound huge and awesome!

3.5/5

FatTony (June 8, 2010)

There's some fantastic songs on here, but also some absolute turds. With a scant 10 tracks, you can't afford to have any shitty songs. That's what kept New Wave from being their best album. Oh well, at least we still have the old shit.

Jelone (June 8, 2010)

I don't have a Twitter account, so I figured I'd respond to Tom publicly here:

1. Yes, I've heard "No Surrender." Get the title right.

2. I'm glad you have a sense of humor about how bad "Ache With Me" sounds.

3. I've actually written several articles supporting your work: http://www.punknews.org/review/7398
http://www.punknews.org/revi ew/8450
http://www.punknews.org/review/7726
http://www.punknews .org/review/7829
I took the first chance I got to correct the negative review for New Wave by hyping the French deluxe edition. So while you can certainly try to discredit my review by saying it came from the Org, keep in mind that I still argued in your favor.

4. I'll see ya with Silversun Pickups and Metric 6/28 buddy! Feel free to flip me off from the stage or whatever!

zeroeffects (June 8, 2010)

I have two problems with this review:

1) I've never heard anyone criticize Against Me!'s lyrics, and their lyrics on this album are amazing. I thought everyone could agree on that.

2) The album was leaked months ago, and that's going to cost Against Me! a lot of money, and they probably put bonus tracks on so people will buy the actual album. Saying "Don't buy it" at this point is akin to telling people not to support a band which is a low blow.

notfeelingcreative (June 8, 2010)

God, I hate the British.

eazyd2 (June 8, 2010)

@tommygabel i want to have a 3some with you and your wife xoxo

eazyd2 (June 8, 2010)

@mikexdude unban me from orgsummit please thanks

eazyd2 (June 8, 2010)

@notfeelingcreative do you know what "alludes to" means? you are a dumb cunt

eazyd2 (June 8, 2010)

@Cos you are a dumbcunt

Cos (June 8, 2010)

@notfeeling... the Good Charlotte thing is bizarre, because if Tom is really a regular around here, you'd think he'd know the difference between staff reviews and user-submitted ones. Also, there are 2 reviews of that GC album: one by much-missed regular WussEmoRock (score: 2 Stars) and one by someone who's only known post is that review (score: 4 stars).

eazyd2 (June 8, 2010)

the redscare guy said what i want to say but only smarter. except the seahawks bit i dont know what that is.

also how the heck does twitter work i dont get it @someone etc etc there is no flow it doesnt make any sense.

slymer (June 8, 2010)

Fuck the Seahawks! Lets go USA! 4 more days

slymer (June 8, 2010)

Fuck the Seahawks! Lets go USA! 3 more days

redscare (June 8, 2010)

I had a mind to submit a review for this record and I woulda scored it a 9/10. Wacky, eh?!?! I thought better of it because the whole review would be an apology letter to the other readers for liking this new record so much. Ha.

I was pretty disappointed with New Wave, but for some reason I absolutely LOVE this shit. It's an unapologetic American rock record with punk undertones. Really happy to see the band's lyrical content veer away from the music industry themes of the last two LPs and get back to personal politics. I really love that so many people are made uncomfortable by some of the production elements on this and I think it's a sign of good art that it challenges the listener at times. Shootz, I could on and on.

It may not be for everybody, but hopefully people check this out with an open mind. I was surprised how great this record turned out and you'd be selling yourself short if you didn't give it a couple listens. Go Seahawks.

notfeelingcreative (June 8, 2010)

I find it odd that he alludes to good charlotte getting a high score, does he not realize that all of his old records have gotten at least three stars if not four or five? I mean all of us who stopped caring after the last record are seen as "immature" or "riduclous" but his response to this review is, "oh yeah? well you like Good Charlotte!"...

jaydischord (June 8, 2010)

Ive said it before, personally i think 5 tracks are fantastic(can't stop playing them,i think its obvious which ones they are too), there a few ok ones and a couple that i cant stand.....just my opinion.

Cos (June 8, 2010)

His twitter reads like this "We're compared to the Replacements, but then we're criticized for Ache With Me! But we both use "ache" in our choruses! LOL at contradictions."

This is why musicians shouldn't use Twitter. Well, this and Courtney Love.

T-Rock (June 8, 2010)

Wow, could not agree less. Is it old-school Against Me? Definitely not. But it basically takes their original work, lightens it up, and puts a Bruce Springsteen twist on it. I was fine when Gaslight did it, and I'm fine now.

One of my Top 5 Albums of the Year for sure.

slymer (June 8, 2010)

why isn't the review thing working?

alpod4 (June 8, 2010)

"Tom Gabel is getting a little annoyed on his twitter account about this review.

http://twitter.com/tommygabel"

lol at the chicka-ah stuff

jaydischord (June 8, 2010)

Tom Gabel is getting a little annoyed on his twitter account about this review.

http://twitter.com/tommygabel

slymer (June 8, 2010)

Because of the Shame is this albums Thrash Unreal.

mattramone (June 8, 2010)

I actually really, really liked New Wave, and I couldn't stand this record. It just...I don't know. It lacked a spark even the latter Replacements albums have. (Dirty secret - I think Don't Tell a Soul is a genuinely great album.) Not gonna join the chorus of "OH NOES TOM HE R BETRAY US" but not gonna pretend to love this record either.

slymer (June 8, 2010)

Good album. Not quite as good as New Wave. 'Because of the Shame', 'Ache With Me' and 'Bamboo Bones' are already officially considered Against Me classics.

Alien (June 8, 2010)

I surprising like this album. it's a lot less annoying than new wave. New wave with it's three goods songs, and the rest crap.

mikexdude (June 8, 2010)

That's a little disappointing how Tom's taking it. Considering he's generalizing all Punknews to having the same opinion. This is the first album of theirs, I didn't enjoy all the way through. I've always supported, but whatever man.

SloaneDaley (June 8, 2010)

and no, the typing will not be any better.

SloaneDaley (June 8, 2010)

I'll write Tom a glorified press release if he wants, and eh can tack it onto his fridge.

hubitcherkokov (June 8, 2010)

I'll check it out eventually, but I noticed a personal pattern regarding Against Me! albums -
"Reinventing Axl Rose" - Did not like
"As the Eternal Cowboy" - Liked
"Searching for a Former Clarity" - Did not like
"New Wave" - Liked

mevsall (June 8, 2010)

I actually like this album. It's catchy as all hell. And at this point in my life, I'm okay with that.

Cos (June 8, 2010)

My mistake. I guess I took eazy always calling him a "cunt" as indicative of gender.

salvation (June 8, 2010)

tom is butthurt from this review. mini rant on twitter.

twitter.com/tommygabel

mikexdude (June 8, 2010)

Jelone = Joseph Pelone

Cos (June 8, 2010)

E tu, mikey?

mikexdude (June 8, 2010)

lol at "with her"

Luke12 (June 8, 2010)

Fantastic review for me. Really says everything that I feel, all the albums good and bad points in there. The fact that there are 3/4 good songs in a 10 song album makes the score fair for me too. The polished sound of Gabel and the lack of James Bowman really pissed me off with this record. That took away two aspects of the band that drew me to them. Can't believe some are saying this is better than New Wave, I feel it's far worse.

Cos (June 8, 2010)

What Matt said.

Haven't heard this album yet, but I always enjoy Jelone's writing, whether I agree with her or not.

mattramone (June 8, 2010)

Calling it. This is gonna be the worst thread ever.

d_boons_ghost (June 8, 2010)

"Unbelievably happy this got a bad review. Couldn't let those pretentious "album of the year" chanters get their way."

Spoken like somebody who just looked at the score and didn't bother with any of those big, pesky words. Ironically, an action that is more self-important and idiotic than the so called pretentious fans that you apparently despise.

TeaEssAre (June 8, 2010)

Unbelievably happy this got a bad review. Couldn't let those pretentious "album of the year" chanters get their way.

eazyd2 (June 8, 2010)

the only gay songs are suffocation and were breaking up. the rest are SICK

d_boons_ghost (June 8, 2010)

I don't think it sucks, but I've never been a huge fan of Reinventing Axl Rose. I hopped aboard the bandwagon with As The Eternal Cowboy and I prefer that record to Reinventing. Searching For A Former Clarity will always be their masterpiece, though, at least in my mind.

mikexdude (June 8, 2010)

"Am I the only one who think reinventing Axl rose really sucks?"

If you aren't the only one, you should be. That's a fucking unreal opinion. GTFO

mikexdude (June 8, 2010)

Good review. Someone songs are nice (like the title track), but the rest are eh.

renton (June 8, 2010)

Am I the only one who think reinventing Axl rose really sucks?

disappointed (June 8, 2010)

definitely not their best but given the circumstances I am enjoying the record much more than I ever enjoyed New Wave and the bonus tracks are well worth it in my humble opinion they would have never been able to top Disco or Cowboy anyway they were flawless victories

Ryansapunk (June 8, 2010)

Maybe it will grow on me....

melirnvxlrse (June 8, 2010)

This review described my feelings about the album perfectly.

banal242 (June 8, 2010)

Good review. Better than the New Wave review.

655321 (June 8, 2010)

I would give this album 4.5 starts, but it only gets 4 cause of the inclusion of We're Breaking Up. This album is a good shift from New Wave

Fuzzy (June 8, 2010)

I've really held my tongue on this album for a few reasons (as best I could).

The most striking aspect of this album is that with every other Against Me! album I've had an extremely visceral response. Be it good, bad or ugly they've always hit me like a ton of bricks. This album is just...enjoyable. It doesn't get me on my feet pumping my fist or laughing uncontrollably at the absurdity. It's the soundtrack to John Hughes' unmade final film and carries with it that Bouncing Souls-esque feel of nostalgia and longing. It's not horrible, it's not great, it's just an album. I'll be the first to admit there are some amazingly solid tracks on here. There's a couple stinkers too.

I'm glad that Tom has managed to write an album with only one song about how hard it is to be Tom Gabel and Against Me!. Maybe he's finally gotten it out of his system. I just wish there was a little more substance or swagger to these songs. They're definitely informed by Moneybrother but have none of that cocksure swagger that Ander nails so well. Maybe with time they'll get it. It's also strange to get one of the most influential and dynamic drummers then have him do 4 on the floor and dance beats the whole album.

I wish these guys the best - the biggest problem with New Wave was that they didn't go for it, they didn't grab music by the throat. In fact they played it mostly safe even on the ridiculous songs. This time it's just over the top in the kind of way that shows us they're ready to escape the "punk ghetto". Just don't hide your 5th member behind the amps all the time (called "Pulling a Trio") and have fun with it.

-Justin

ps: Worst track is "Rapid Decompression". Someone didn't even try to write a chorus.

bryne (June 8, 2010)

It's solid. The only tracks I don't really care for are "Ache with Me" and "We're Breaking Up." I really like "Shame" and "High Pressure Low."

inagreendase (June 8, 2010)

Everything I've heard from this is painfully generic and boring and dulls any desire I have to properly hear it. Complacency sucks; this is worse.

MN_DrNick (June 8, 2010)

Your Hold Steady review was shitty for many reasons. But I do agree with this one.

macbethmystery (June 8, 2010)

No word on 'Bamboo Bones'? I guess it'll be the favourite track off the album for many people who still regret AM! becoming more and more mainstream, e.g. boring and plain soppy. "Because of the Shame" and "White Crosses" are decent tracks as well.

Apparently, George Rebelo didn't know what he was doing when he joined this bland pop/rock outfit. The complex drumming the common 'org-Core fan loves so much when listening to HWM barely plays a role on this record and is interchangeable.

eazyd2 (June 8, 2010)

this is the shittest review ever. fuck off jelone you jaded little cunt. this album is the bomb. i listened to it already about 400 times and still not sick of it. and the bonus tracks are fuckin sick. and getting rid of that idiot james backing vocals was the best thing that ever happened to this band. and the lyrics a the goodness. and its about 50 times better than new wave. youre a dumb shit. i cant believe punknews posted this review.

SloaneDaley (June 8, 2010)

Accurate and fair review, my feelings are similar and my score would likely be within a half star give or take. I don't agree about the bonus tracks though. Bob Dylan Dream is great despite it's awkward lyrics and Lehigh Acres is one of the top songs from the session.

thepopeofchili-town (June 8, 2010)

Album of the year, and since we're in only in 2010, ALBUM OF THE MOTHERFUCKIN' DECADE.

Well-written review, but it's fucking wrong.

bastard_squad (June 8, 2010)

"Well, I give them credit because they definitely made the record they wanted to make. It's just not a record I find myself wanting to listen to very often.

Favorite track: "Suffocation"

-Scott"

Yet again, you show that you've got the worst music taste on the planet.

LinoleumMagazine (June 8, 2010)

Yup. Pretty spot on review. It's not a bad record, but for AM! it's a huge step dooown. I hope they pull a Nirvana and ditch Butch Vig for their next one and go the with Steve Albini. Could you imagine the awesomeness?

mikeflynn (June 8, 2010)

Really into this album..surprised at the low rating.

d_boons_ghost (June 8, 2010)

Yeah, I've read a lot of bitching about how it's "autotuned to hell" but the only autotuning I hear is on "Ache With Me," and I think it's entirely appropriate.

superskabro (June 8, 2010)

I love this record. Seriously. I was a little iffy about it when I bought the "Teenage Anarchist" 7", but once I heard the whole album a few weeks ago, it stayed in my CD player/iPod. Sure, it's a lot different than their best work (Disco Before The Breakdown, Eternal Cowboy, Crime), but it is definitely an improvement over the spotty "New Wave". I think Against Me! is like Mel Gibson in that no matter how good their work is, people just WANT to hate it. It's a real shame. because I think "White Crosses" will be the biggest album of the year.

R3vengeTherapy (June 8, 2010)

Ah, what a surprise. A totally mediocre score and review for White Crosses, as if I really expected differently. I don't think a lot of people will base whether they listen to this record or not on this review, but just in case: give it a chance. The LP is excellent, the extra tracks on the deluxe edition aren't as good, but are still good, except maybe "Leigh Acres", which is the only song out of the whole batch I didn't like.

Am I just blissfully ignorant (or maybe I just don't give a shit?) but I don't feel like his vocals were auto-corrected a ton, and I like the backing vocals a lot. New Wave was so weak, this is way better.

skankbook (June 8, 2010)

I love this album. RAR never really hit me the way it has the rest of you; for me Eternal Cowboy & SFAFC are their crowning achievements. While I like New Wave, White Crosses flows better as an album (there's no "Animal" or "Stop!" to kill momentum between songs). "High Pressure Low" is a standout, and "One By One" alone is worth getting the bonus tracks.

actually_OFFENDS_me (June 8, 2010)

Another thing that actually OFFENDS me, which is hard to to these days, are the people who are pissed that musicians make money. The strange, slow, old people on punknews.org and the few annoying stragglers on this website.

Timorous_Me (June 8, 2010)

I love this record. I didn't at first, mostly because the production turned me off. I still think it sounds a bit too polished, but the songs are just so good. Bamboo Bones ranks up with the best this band has ever done.

scientistrock (June 8, 2010)

Need to pick up. Was into leak. 'Mats-styled alt rock > folk punk. Suck it!

maverick (June 8, 2010)

Well, I give them credit because they definitely made the record they wanted to make. It's just not a record I find myself wanting to listen to very often.

Favorite track: "Suffocation"

-Scott

d_boons_ghost (June 8, 2010)

Wow, I actually really, really agree with this review. I was expecting some 0 star tirade. The middle of the album ("Suffocation," "We're Breaking Up," and "High Pressure Low") is pretty weak and unmemorable, but that picks up with "Ache With Me" and ends really strong with "Bamboo Bones." On the other hand, I think I'm a little more enthusiastic about the rest of the album than you are, Jelone. I'd give it something like 3 1/2 or 4 stars. So far, it's one of my favorite albums of the summer.

Also, good call on the Psychedelic Furs nod, I would have never thought of that.

bastard_squad (June 8, 2010)

'one by one' off the deluxe is pretty good. As always, I'd rather have the 4 bonus songs than 4 of the songs that were picked for the LP

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