Russian Spies

Album: Single Release Only (2011)
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Songfacts®:

  • After taking a break in late 2010, Florida Punkers Against Me! took the opportunity to record a couple of songs they had kicking around that did not necessarily feel like tracks for the follow up to their White Crosses album. This tune was recorded as the A-side with "Occult Enemies" making up the B-side. They were released as a 7" vinyl single on June 14, 2011 on Sabot Productions.
  • The songs were recorded in Madison, Wisconsin at a now-closed studio prior to the band's March 2011 tour with Dropkick Murphys. Madison is the home base of Butch Vig, who produced Against Me!'s previous two albums. "We had a break between tours this past February that left us nowhere near Florida," frontman Tom Gabel (who later became Laura Jane Grace) told Spin magazine. "When I realized that we were going to be close to Madison, though, I gave Butch a call to see if there was any way we could go into Smart Studios to record a couple of songs that I had in my pocket. I knew that Smart was closed to the public but that most of the gear was still there. I wanted to have the chance to record there before it was gone for good. Butch was cool enough to help make it happen."
  • The band's sessions at Smart overlapped with massive protests taking place in Madison against a bill that would remove most collective bargaining rights for public worker unions. "As we were recording, the capital was erupting just down the street from us which I think only helped add to the immediacy of the songs," Gabel recalled to Spin. "'Russian Spies' is a song about existential dread, narcotic submarines, oil spills, and the now almost distant memory of a red threat. In this brave new world, sometimes I find myself longing for enemies so simple."
  • The songs marked the studio debut of the band's new drummer Jay Weinberg, who is the son of the E Street Band's Max Weinberg.

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