When Gainesville anarcho-punks Against Me! released their fourth album, 2007's New Wave, the band's hardcore fundamentalist fans immediately swung into crisis mode, organizing counseling and puke circles for heartbroken indie kids nationwide. Understand though, the mass freakout didn't start because the CD sucked; it was OK. The panic started because Tom Gabel and his buddies were now recording for a major label, Sire, after three earlier, widely fetishized slabs of angsty, anti-globalization group chant rants on No Idea and Fat Wreck Chords.
This fan boy shitstorm was unfair. Let's face it, the whole "sellout" distinction, however widespread, is certifiably bunk. Today, with Rupert Murdoch's MySpace passing for D.I.Y., the idea of independent music has become increasingly dubious. Not unfair though -- the outright, universal hatred for New Wave's fifth track "Stop!," a cloying, simplistic piece of shit. Really, it's like a demented Sesame Street dance-punk sing-along with the power to make an otherwise balanced individual giggle, grind their teeth, and stab inanimate objects.
So ... When Against Me! brings their glossed-up squat party to Culture Room February 18, let's hope Gabel and bros cross that anomaly off the setlist. Let's hope they stick to stellar New Wave stuff like "White People for Peace" or "Americans Abroad." Let's hope they dig into debut Reinventing Axl Rose and go Searching for a Former Clarity. And, lastly, let's hope the band's impending major label follow-up, White Crosses, steers way clear of the "Stop!" trap.
Thursday, February 18. Culture Room, 3045 N Federal Hwy., Fort Lauderdale. Show starts at 7:30 p.m., and tickets cost $12 through Ticketmaster.com. 954-564-1074; cultureroom.net.
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