Emmy-nominated artist/author/activist Laura Jane Grace (Against Me!, The Devouring Mothers) has just announced the surprise release of her debut solo album, Stay Alive. The album is available on all streaming platforms, but can be pre-ordered via Polyvinyl here.
Stay Alive was recorded with an acoustic guitar and the occasional drum machine, lead by Grace’s powerful voice that helped propel her distinct songwriting to front and center. Across the fourteen songs that comprise of the album, Grace takes all of their pent up-fears, anger, and anxiety and releases it out in the world, extending a hand to listeners who find themselves feeling the same way.
She wasn’t necessarily planning on making a solo record this year — in fact, it was the opposite. There were plans in place to make a record with Against Me!, who she’s spent the past 23 years leading. “We came home from the Against Me! tour we were on in March, and right before we left, we had been in the studio working on songs, and I had been working on them for months prior,” says Grace. But, as she sat at home and watched all of her tours get canceled, with the members of Against Me! spread across the country, she was stuck with a bunch of song ideas and no one to work on them with.
“I sat around for a month-and-a-half at a home just being shell-shocked being like, ‘What the fuck happened and what the fuck is happening with the world?’ As I started to get my bearings, I just came to the realization that waiting was going to kill the record and kill the songs. I spent two years working on all these songs, and the idea of throwing them away didn’t sit well with me,” says Grace. “But then I was like, ‘What am I waiting for?’ All I have to do is adjust my scope. I can sit here on my fucking ass and do nothing, or I can work.”
What happened next was essentially instinctual: she got to work. Four days were booked with Steve Albini and Electrical Audio to record these songs as Grace had been playing them at home, straight to analog tape. The result was the birth of Stay Alive, a record that embodies the message behind the title, and also helps the music industry turn a little bit more. “By putting the songs out, that puts the label in work, that puts a photographer in work, that puts a graphic designer in work, that puts a merch company in work, that keeps it alive,” Grace says. “You hear on the news every day about people losing their jobs and everything collapsing, and I want to fight against that. The only way I can think to fight against that is to work.”
Stay Alive is home to a lot of lyrical frustrations regarding 2020 and world events, but at the end of the day, Grace made the record purely for herself. “I just want to put this out because it makes me feel alive and it’s giving me something better than sitting here losing my mind while the world falls apart,” she says. “It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks about what you do. Just stay alive.”
To celebrate the reals of Stay Alive, Grace will be performing live from Lincoln Hall in Chicago, Illinois as part of Audiotree’s “STAGED” series on Saturday, October 17. Tickets for the stream are available now, and fans can also choose to bundle a copy of the album here.