Sixteen years after forming in Gainesville, Florida, and nearly two years after frontman Tom Gabel began living life as a woman, Against Me! will unleash their first album with Laura Jane Grace at the helm. It drops 1/21, but thanks to NPR, you can listen to Transgender Dysphoria Blues right now.
The band's sixth is a ferocious, highly personal record. Vocally, not much has changed—Jane's delivery is nearly identical to her past work—but the songs are far more candid, as you might expect from someone going through hormone replacement therapy while still married to a woman.
"True Trans Soul Rebel" and "F—KMYLIFE666" directly address the major life change without ever being didactic. For instance, a line like, "Is your mother proud of your eyelashes?" gets Jane's point across artfully, showing rather than telling how coming out as transgender has altered her life. The negotiation between honesty and obliqueness is near-perfect on Transgender Dysphoria Blues, an enormous achievement given the typically blunt lyrics on most confessional punk albums.
At 29 minutes, this is a full seven minutes shorter than their last album. But unlike 2010's White Crosses, the emotional depth of this record makes it feel like a more substantial, fully-realized work. Listen to it at NPR and marvel at the wonderful song title "Osama bin Laden as the Crucified Cross."