Stripwax

Against it!

By - Jun 2nd, 2010 12:20 pm
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Early Saturday morning, George walks into my office and says “Can I talk to you for a minute?”

“Sure George,” I say, “have a seat.”

“Well, I just thought I should tell you that I was in the hospital all day yesterday, ” he says, ” everything is fine now, but yesterday my balls swelled up so big, they was the size of grapefruits. The doctor checked me out and said that I tore a ligament in my sack and the infection spread to my balls.”

Okay. It’s tough not to laugh when a guy comes in and tells you a story like this, but in this kind of situation, I’ve been trained to listen with empathy. Or at least fake it.

So I nodded as my mind drifted off to “White Crosses” by Against Me! and George continued to compare his swollen nut size to cantaloupes, softballs and other spherical items. Somewhere along their quest for stardom (or perhaps, mere survival in an industry that has a long and well-documented history of rewarding mediocrity) Against Me! lost their balls.

To continue to label this band as “punk” is just plain false. Is a banana a hammer? Is Lady Gaga a linebacker? No and no. On “White Crosses,” Against Me! sound like a cross between Bruce Springsteen and Flogging Molly, which is fine if yer a band called “Flogging Springsteen.” The only trace of “punk” to be found (not heard, mind you) is in the song title “I Was A Teenage Anarchist” (and even THAT’S cliché, fer crissakes) where they ask the question “Do you remember when you were young and wanted to set the world on fire?”

It’s a question they should ask themselves the next time they decide to write and record songs.

They sound like just about everything else that The Music Industry chops and forms for The Radio Industry — processed. It’s not really Butch Vig’s fault… he just does what he always does best: inflate the sound to the point of bursting.

When George finally (!!!) came to the point — which was to let me know that he was o.k. and had been released by his doctor to work that day –  I told him this:

“George, I never heard of anyone tearing a ligament in their ballsack, but swollen balls are a drag, scary even. At least you know for sure that you still have ‘em, eh?”

Categories: *TCD F1, Stripwax

6 thoughts on “Stripwax: Against it!”

  1. Anthony Hanratty says:

    Finally, I’ve stumbled upon some remedial garbage I can coax enough identity and cohesion out of to bitch about.
    Against Me! (title punctuation was quite fashionable when they decided how to script their moniker, no doubt) hasn’t put out a good record since Reinventing Axl Rose, and about half of it is unlistenable in retrospect. The Crime E.P. is fantastic to this day. Whatever the main guy’s name is (maybe Poster Child?) should’ve blown his brains out immediately after recording those tracks. Wait, that would disrupt the business model! First Butch Vig, THEN blow out the brains. Right.
    In the realm of art they are as irrelevant as the counter intuitive, self-defeating attempts at defining the word punk. I forgot what their second record is called and I can’t be bothered to look it up. After several listens… after months and months of anticipating it’s release… ignoring the fact that it was on Fat (god, how embarrassing!) …guess what it was? A second full-length. What do second full-lengths like to do? Fucking suck. How can you tell a talented artist from a fashionable fluke? When they have at least TWO (2(to(too))) organically inspiring and original sounding full-length albums. Fashion is a chemical thing, it’s usually impure and imbalanced, and I saw this long and twisted road of gold fuckery in front of Against Me! as soon as I heard their god awful second record. Their drastic switch from exciting and charged David Peel and the L.E.S., 1968, angsty beatnik style of -punk- (genre, convoluted cultural classification, marketing term, industry jargon) to flagrantly anti-intellectual football rock in the vein of countless other dumb, thugy, shamrock shake bullshit bands made me swear to loathe them forever. Lift up your kilts and expose your bald bagpipe. This low-brow, hang-tough, bro-down type rubbish runs rampant in the realm called punk. That’s nothing new. Poster Child used the sociopolitical marketing fulcrum called punk to raise support and funding for his quest for stardom. But I don’t really care, my concern is listening to records, and a lot of those records get called punk because they are and a lot of them get called punk because that’s what they sound like and/or call themselves. Anyone who has truly done their homework has learned many times over that that word doesn’t mean squat. Against Me! has been artistically and culturally insignificant since I was in high school. And they are not a punk band. They’re a pop group. Opposite of The Pop Group, who was a punk band. Enough of this drivel, I’m trying to listen to Chairs Missing, Wire’s beautiful, interesting, and triumphantly punk(as fuck) SECOND RECORD. A final note of irony: post-punk is punker than punk. Fuck me.

    1. Jeff Moody says:

      Christ. That was beautiful.

  2. jnoise says:

    Thanks jross, I almost forgot… note to self: Write more negative reviews. They get people talking.

  3. jross says:

    I don’t recall Against Me! calling themselves a punk band at any recent time. In fact, I do recall Tom Gabel saying AM! was NOT a punk band. Do your homework. And did you even listen to the album the whole way through? If you’re grasping to label the tracks “punk”, Rapid Decompression fits the bill…it’s got a total Sex Pistols vibe.

    I give this review a thumbs down, for the author clearly did not even listen to the record in its entirety!

  4. Jeff Moody says:

    Because there’s such an emphasis on them being a punk band. The entire elpee sounds engineered for success at FM Radio. That goes against what I understand punk to be (one of the things, anyway), and yet, it’s being marketed as a punk record. To me it’s a case of false branding of an uninteresting elpee.

  5. Brian Whitney says:

    why does it matter if against me is punk or not?

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