Laura Jane Grace chronicles the ups and downs of love in rock songs with giant hooks
In 2007, the Butch Vig-produced album from Against Me!, New Wave, seemed like it would be the band's signature, breakthrough record. For one, the release landed on a major label, and two, it cut ties with the sometimes-acoustic sound that showed up on previous albums. Henceforth, it seemed, Against Me! would rock out, and do so loudly.
Then in 2012, singer Laura Jane Grace came out as transgender and abandoned her birth name, Tom Gabel. In 2014, Against Me! released Transgender Dysphoria Blues, which made the move from electric to acoustic seem like a simple game of hopscotch. The soul-bearing, critically lauded release managed to gain traction with a bigger, wider audience while still retaining a sound that longtime fans could latch onto.
The pattern continued with 2016's Shape Shift with Me, a sort-of concept album about traveling the world and falling in and out of love. As the album's narrator, Grace embraces big hooks, a punk-rock attitude and a penchant for '90s underground rock acts like Husker Du. (Safe bet)