Here’s a nice surprise: Against Me!’s Laura Jane Grace just dropped her first solo album, Stay Alive, and it absolutely fucking rules. Stay Alive was recorded and mixed in just four summer days at Steve Albini’s Electrical Audio, its 14 songs comprised of nothing more than a guitar, a drum machine, and her voice.
“I spent two years working on all these songs, and the idea of throwing them away didn’t sit well with me,” Grace says in a press release, reflecting on how the pandemic had impacted her plans of recording a new Against Me! album. “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.”
She elaborated in an interview with Rolling Stone: “I just wanted to make a record and I wanted to make a record that was the antithesis of a Zoom call. I wanted to record all analog. I didn’t want to make any edits. I wanted to make something that matters from this period of time because all that shit like livestreams… I don’t mean to bash them, but they don’t create anything lasting, you know?”
The instrumentation may be scaled back, but the songs themselves roar with the rage, passion, and tenderness we’ve come to expect from Grace. That said, we’re still curious to see how these tracks might evolve when she’s reunited on the road with her backing band. It’s excellent as is, but “SuperNatural Possession” is just begging for a bigger sound.
Give it a listen in full below.
Stream it via Spotify and Apple Music below. Head over to Polyvinyl to pick up a vinyl LP (or a Stay Alive-themed Swiss Army Knife).