[POWER PUNK] Laura Jane Grace came here to chew bubblegum, wear a sundress and chop the rings off a bigot's fat fucking fingers—and she's all out of bubblegum. Transgender Dysphoria Blues, the first Against Me! album since the singer-guitarist formerly known as Tom Gabel began living as a woman, isn't some weepy plea for acceptance. Instead, it's a punk-rock pipe bomb exploded in the face of intolerance. Songs like "Black Me Out" and the almost-metal "Osama Bin Laden as the Crucified Christ" read like anti-homophobe revenge fantasies, with Grace promising to "piss on the walls of your house" and do to those who've harmed the trans community what the communists did to Mussolini in Italy—threats made graver with the admission, on the scorching "Drinking With the Jocks," that she used to be one of them, or at least wished she was. Anyone who worried—perhaps more than they'd admit aloud—about how Grace's personal transition would affect the band can rest assured that all this violence and vitriol is delivered via the same rousing, post-Replacements power pop of the 2007 classic New Wave, yet there's nothing in the group's catalog that hits quite as hard. It's Against Me!'s angriest, darkest album yet, but also its bravest, and quite possibly its best.


SEE IT: Hawthorne Theatre, 1507 SE Cesar Chavez Blvd., 233-7100. 8 pm Monday, March 24. $18 advance, $20 day of show. All ages.