Posts Tagged ‘Against Me’

Laura Jane Grace wasn’t planning on making a solo record this year. In fact, she was planning on making a record with Against Me!, the band she’s fronted for the past 23 years. But clearly, nothing went according to plan this year. “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. As she sat at home, all of her tours cancelled, and the members of Against Me!—as well as her other band Laura Jane Grace & The Devouring Mothers—spread across the country, she was left with a batch of songs and no band to record them with.

“I sat around for a month-and-a-half at a home just being shellshocked 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.”

So, Grace got to work. She picked up the phone and called Electrical Audio, the iconic studio in her adopted hometown of Chicago, Illinois, to ask if she could make a record with famed engineer Steve Albini. The goal was to go in and document these songs exactly as she’d been playing them in her home, straight to analogue tape. When she hung up the phone, she had four days booked.

The result of the session at Electrical Audio is “Stay Alive”, a record that doesn’t just embody that title, it serves as the guiding principle behind its creations. But it also put life back into an industry that’s been ravaged by venue closures, cancelled tours, and delayed records. “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,” says Grace. “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.”

Across the 14 songs that comprise Stay Alive, Grace takes all her pent-up fears, anger, and anxiety and releases it, like an olive branch to the weary listeners who are feeling those exact same ways. As she says in “Blood & Thunder,” a love song to Chicago—or perhaps a mea culpa for “I Hate Chicago” on The Devouring Mothers album Bought to Rot—the album’s thematic premise is all but spelled out: “When you give in and quit / There’s a power to be found in it.” It’s an idea that may sound odd on its face, but it displays Grace’s commitment to no longer resisting the changes in front of her. On a record that sees her traversing the globe—from Marbella, Spain to Glasgow, Scotland to London, England to the Land of Oz—”Blood & Thunder” is a begrudging embrace of what can’t be changed; Instead of resisting the city she once loathed, she finds the beauty in the little things, like the moon rising over Indian Boundary Park, or the wind rolling up Western Avenue.

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The album’s title is one that surfaces in the record itself, and serves as a subtle rejoinder to her Polyvinyl labelmate Chris Farren, who gifted Grace a hat that said “Can’t Die,” and she’s spent the last two years running in it every single day. By flipping the phrase on its head, Grace built her own message; one based around work, struggle, and reaffirmed commitments. In certain cases, songs like “Hanging Tree,” which has a chorus that builds to the phrase, “A burning crucifix and a hanging tree,” have been kicking around since 2017, but finally found a moment that made sense for it on Stay Alive. And in the case of “Shelter In Place,” a song about her own isolation and introspection, the pandemic finally gave words to a feeling she’d long had but was never able to accurately describe.

The songs that make up Stay Alive are documents of a time and a songwriter who experienced enough to find levity in the simple act of doing the work. Recorded with nothing more than an acoustic guitar, an occasional drum machine, and her own powerful voice, Grace’s distinct song writing signature is front and center. What’s more, she made it 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,” says Grace. “It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks about what you do. Just stay alive.” 

Released October 1st, 2020

Laura Jane Grace – Stay Alive LP/CD

The one and only Laura Jane Grace (Against Me! Laura Jane Grace & the Devouring Mothers) has signed with us and announced her incredible new solo record “Stay Alive” streaming everywhere right now!

There’s so much we want to tell you about the record, but listen now and read what Laura herself has to say…

A short note from Laura Jane…“Hi, my name is Laura Jane Grace. This is my album. This album is about staying alive. Stay alive. Don’t die. Work hard. Fight back.

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, Laura Jane Grace had a panic attack, quit smoking weed, and decided to put out a record. Thursday, she dropped Stay Alive with little warning or preamble —  a raw, unedited missive from lockdown.

“I just wanted to make a record and I wanted to make a record that was the antithesis of a Zoom call,” she says. “I wanted to record all analogue. 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?”

This album is an entirely analogue recording. No computers were involved in the making of this album. These recordings were not edited together, these songs are documented performances. This album was written and recorded in Chicago, Illinois. I recorded this album with Steve Albini at Electrical Audio on the two days after the full moon of July 5th, 2020. The album was mixed in another two days time. Steve and I were the only two people in the studio. We both wore face masks and stayed 6 feet apart at all times. I only took my face mask off while singing. Please wear a face mask.

There are songs on this album about haunted swimming pools and burning churches. There are songs about mountains. There are songs about astral seas and dry lakes. There are songs about drinking espressos and eating croissants at the Bora Bora beach club in Marbella, Spain. There are songs about dirty rivers that smell like pee in Glasgow, Scotland. There are songs about Nelson Algren’s Neon Jungle and Simone de Beauvoir’s Mandarines. There are songs about petrified polymorphs and blood and thunder and LSD and laying on the grave of the Marchesa Luisa Casati while day dreaming of fabulous parties thrown 100 years ago and how the world has fallen apart before and how it is falling apart now and how if we’re lucky it will fall apart again someday long from now too. There are songs about all of that and more but really this record is about staying alive. Stay alive. Don’t die. Thank you for listening to my record. –LJG

Grace worked feverishly with Albini on the record; mostly masked, the two never saw each other’s faces. The producer’s reluctance to try too many takes suited Grace fine since she didn’t want anything to sound too over-cooked. The result is a fast-paced 14-song record with the fist-pumping old-school bravado of Against Me! (“So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Fuck Off”) mixed with almost painfully beautiful imagery (“The Swimming Pool Song,” in which Grace describes herself as a haunted pool).

Laura Jane Grace knocks it out of the park with this unexpected solo effort, in a time which we need artists like her. Even though I’ve been listening to her music for years I still find something refreshing in it, such as the track “Ice Cream Song” which has a twing of modern broadway, as well as the demo aesthetic of midi drums and intriguing vocal mastering on “So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, fuck off”. A definitive quarantine classic!

PS: this may technically be my first proper solo record but I can’t even tell anymore PSS: if at any point you refer to this album as an “acoustic album” my 6 string strumming ghost will haunt 10 generations of your family every night of their lives with bedroom busking from 11PM to 6AM 🙂 ”

As you’re frantically hitting that link, be sure to pre-order your physical copy on a limited UK/EU Starburst (Black/Blue/Purple) vinyl variant as well as black LP/CD and an exclusive t-shirt too.

Laura Jane Grace’s new album, Stay Alive, is available December 11th, 2020.

Laura Jane Grace

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Against Me! rocker Laura Jane Grace has proven that Rickenbacker guitars are, in fact, deeply punk. Join us as we visit her at her practice space to meet some of the axes in her collection, and learn the wild stories behind them. Laura Jane Grace, who fronts the well-known punk band Against Me!, became a Rickenbacker-wielding legend for one reason, specifically: Rickenbackers look cool. “A Rickenbacker—they’re just the meanest looking guitars.”

In the video, she takes us through her love for the eye-catching instrument—from the moment she saw Tom Petty holding one on the cover of her first CD, to the moment she could finally afford one at 22-23 years old, and beyond.

Her collection is filled with fine specimens, like the very first Rickenbacker she owned—a 330, now banana-yellow—that she traded a bandmate for, a 360 you can hear on tons of Against Me! records, and a collection of oddballs like the 620 and Rickenbacker Colorado.

Be sure to check out the full video for a closer look into Laura Jane Grace’s Rickenbacker collection,

Laura Jane Grace and the Devouring Mothers Bought to Rot Album Artwork

Debut album from new band led by Against Me!’s Laura Jane Grace. 

To say musician, author and activist Laura Jane Grace has had a defiant career would be the understatement of the year. Whether being accused of leaving the DIY punk scene to pursue a major label career over a decade ago, or courageously challenging people’s conceptions of gender identity with a bombshell Rolling Stone article, Grace has remained a daring and influential cultural figure in her over 20+ years of creating dynamic art across various mediums. Sure, she’s bound to worry some fans with her decision to press pause on Against Me! to release a more intimate singer-songwriter leaning solo album under the name Laura Jane Grace & the Devouring Mothers, but her artistic motivation cast her determination in steel. “In the back of my head I was thinking, ‘f**k all of you, I’m going to do this anyway,’” she says with a smile.

With this conviction came liberation, because few expectations equals total freedom. Indeed on the record’s opening cut, “China Beach,” Grace delivers a bold, lip-curled statement of intent: “Learn to trust yourself, no one else matters / Respect the source and always welcome failure.” And it’s in this spirit—with the help of Against Me! drummer Atom Willard and long-term AM! producer Marc Jacob Hudson on bass—that Bought to Rotthe debut album from Laura Jane Grace & the Devouring Mothers, came into existence.

Bought to Rot was written largely in motion—on tour, in Spain, Australia, Amsterdam hotel rooms, and some at home in Chicago. It’s a record scorched with honesty, unapologetically confessional, capturing many moments snipped from Grace’s life and stitched together in song. Although it’s a step and a twist away from Against Me!’s sonic blueprint, there’s still a kinetic punk energy that vibrates throughout. These compositions are looser, stripped, but with a melodic pop immediacy pushing to the fore. “I have my main gig, but I’m still doing this thing,” she continues. “It’s undeniable and it’s really good and here’s the proof … so what are you going to do with that?” Well, it has to go out into the world: via Bloodshot Records, the storied Chicago indie boasting a past & present roster that includes Ryan AdamsNeko CaseMurder by DeathOld 97’s and Justin Townes Earle.

The seeds of this project were initially sown when Grace, Hudson and Willard introduced the band on a small run of dates in 2016 that included Grace delivering impassioned readings of journal entries between stripped-down Against Me! songs, most of which were featured in her critically acclaimed memoir Tranny: Confessions Of Punk Rock’s Most Infamous Anarchist Sellout. Coming off the cycle for Shape Shift With Me, Against Me!’s latest full-length studio album, and a North American arena tour with Green Day, Grace was asked to perform a Mountain Goats cover on the podcast Welcome to Night Vale, and it was then that she received a massive sense of renewed momentum overall.

With additional songs penned that felt more stand-alone than a proper Against Me! offering, Bought to Rot resulted in 14 gripping tracks detailing Grace’s fractured relationship with her adopted hometown of Chicago (“I Hate Chicago”), the act of interpersonal acceptance (“The Friendship Song”), all-consuming affection until our ultimate demise [“Apocalypse Now (& Later)”], complicated romance (“The Airplane Song”), and reconciling everything in the end. As a complete body of work, the album stands as the most musically diverse collection of songs Grace has written to date, and is what she affectionately calls her “Scorpio” record – redolent in sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll.

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Additionally inspired in large part by Tom Petty’s Full Moon Fever, the first album Grace ever owned, Bought to Rot finds her at the same age Tom Petty was when he created his classic solo debut. In light of his recent passing, Grace was even able to pay direct homage to him on the recording. “I bought a ’64 Fender Jaguar off Stan Lynch, drummer of the Heartbreakers, and I always like to think that maybe Petty had picked it up and strummed a couple chords on it, she says. “I always liked the idea of having my fingers dance on the same fret board as my hero.”

There’s a refreshing sense of variety present on Bought to Rot, an album that features a vast array of musical textures and lyrics that read like separate short stories throughout. “My approach musically to the record was that I wanted it to feel like a mixtape,” Grace recently said “Like OK, you’ve got this Nirvana-like song, you’ve got a Cure song. It was musically freeing, in that way, to just be playing whatever was coming to me as I was writing and not having to think about it.” As such, “I Hate Chicago,” a tongue-in-cheek centerpiece to the album that has become a bit of a live favorite to Chicagoans and non-locals alike, finds Grace at her most wry and entertainingly venomous, lambasting the city’s sports teams and revered bands, its festivals and its unfriendly denizens over an Americana-angled jaunt.

Created at a breakneck pace, Bought to Rot is finally here and ready to be consumed & dissected: to be loved, to be hated. It’s an album propelled by a sense of restless, forward motion and the inherent need for Grace to continue evolving as an artist and person the only way she knows how. “I don’t want to write about these same things anymore,” she says. “I need some new sources of inspiration. And I don’t want to be negative. I want to write some positive, happy songs, and I wanted that to be inspired by positive, happy living, too.”

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Laura Jane Grace is an activist, author and musician best known as frontwoman of the iconic Florida punk band Against Me!. Grace set that project aside in 2016 to focus on a solo endeavor dubbed Laura Jane Grace & the Devouring Mothers. The Bloodshot Records signee has a more intimate, singer-songwriter feel yet maintains LJG’s signature howl and kinetic punk energy. Watch Laura Jane Grace & the Devouring Mothers live performance at Lizard’s Liquid Lounge.

Band Members
Laura Jane Grace – Vocals and Guitar
Atom Willard – Drums
Marc Jacob Hudson – Bass

 

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Against Me!’s 2014 album, Transgender Dysphoria Blues, damn near killed frontwoman Laura Jane Grace. Written and recorded as she was beginning her gender transition and dealing with the struggles that came with it—taxing hormone treatment, invasive therapist sessions, and crumbling personal relationships—the album took a physical toll as she fought to maintain her sanity. The result was a primal scream of a record that will undoubtedly go down as one of the most important punk records of all time. Two years later, Grace is still trying to find her place as a woman in the world but is not the wound-up ball of anxiety and raging hormones she once was. Shape Shift With Me sees Grace starting a new life and discovering all the experiences that come with it—dating, friendships, and body image. And while there is still plenty of classic Grace-ian existential darkness here, there are also the occasional flashes of—gasp—excitement and optimism. Shape Shift With Me is the album where Laura Jane Grace got back on track, or, more accurately, found a new one.

The transformation of Against Me! lead singer Tom Gabel into Laura Jane Grace was the single most fascinating story of 2012 in rock music, bar none. On this acoustic teaser for 2014’s Transgender Dysphoria Blues, we are given our first proper insight into Laura’s struggles with identity. With barely more than a guitar guiding her words, we hear of regrets and distress delivered with palpable honesty. It resonates brilliantly in such a stripped-back format – and, admittedly, it doesn’t hurt that the track itself is catchy as anything that blew up pop radio this year. This is going to be a hell of an album. .

After releasing her memoir, Tranny: Confessions of Punk Rock’s Most Infamous Anarchist Sellout and Against Me!’s 2016 LP, Shape Shift With Me, Laura Jane Grace decided to put out her first record under the name Laura Jane Grace & the Devouring Mothers. Bought To Rot is unlike anything she’s ever released with Against Me!

It embraces pop and alt-rock conventions as much as it does punk—a press release even namedrops the record’s Tom Petty influence. The result is an immensely liberating album that couldn’t care less what you think of it. There are still undertones of despondent angst and self-doubt, but it feels like a largely optimistic record, one that basks in the moment and bursts at the seams with momentous punk elation. “Born in Black” is a robust, throttling take on existentialism and mortality, while the uplifting punk of “Apocalypse Now (& Later)” is a rush of unwavering confidence, camaraderie and earth-shattering joy.

How best to describe Laura Jane Grace’s latest endeavor? “It’s a solo album, except that it’s not,” the Against Me! frontwoman wrote in an announcement on Twitter. Though her main band isn’t going anywhere, Grace has said she sought an artistic “blank slate” following the outfit’s 2016 album Shape Shift With Me. But she’s not in it alone — Grace made the record, under the name Laura Jane Grace & the Devouring Mothers, with Against Me! bassist Atom Willard and producer Marc Hudson, who also worked on Shape Shift. (Fellow AM! guitarist James Bowman even shows up one track.) Regardless of its name or packaging, the record is yet another outlet for Grace’s boundless creativity, which she often strikes at the most inconvenient times: “I sleep with a notebook next to me in bed,” she said recently . “And most nights I sleep with my guitar next to me.”

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Laura Jane Grace has shared “Apocalypse Now (& Later),” the debut single from her forthcoming album with her new band, Laura Jane Grace & The Devouring Mothers. The album, Bought to Rot, comes out November. 9th through Bloodshot Records.

“Apocalypse Now (& Later)” is a tender love song, in a sort of twisted way. “On top of the world, at the end of the world, with you,” Grace sings. It’s about “witnessing the end of the world with the person you care about the most,” as explained in a press release.

Bought to Rot will be Grace’s first non-Against Me! album since forming the band in 1997. “It felt really relieving to be like, ‘OK, this isn’t an Against Me! record, so I can say whatever the fuck I want!’” Grace told Rolling Stone. She says she was strongly influenced by Tom Petty’s landmark solo album Full Moon Fever when recording Bought to Rot. The 14-track album is about “Grace’s fractured relationship with her adopted hometown of Chicago, true friendship, complicated romance and reconciling everything in the end.”

The Devouring Mothers are made up of a pair of frequent Grace collaborators: Drummer Atom Willard and bassist Marc Jacob Hudson have both worked with Against Me!, Willard as drummer and Hudson as sound engineer.

Dear Guitar Hero: Submit Questions for Laura Jane Grace of Against Me!

In the midst of an extended tour with Green Day and behind last year’s “Shape Shift With Me” , Against Me! have shared a new video for the single “Haunting, Haunted, Haunts.” Directed by Margherita Ballarin, the video twists Laura Jane Grace’s lyrics on loneliness into a fractal collage of kaleidoscopic animation.

Last year, Laura Jane Grace released the memoir “Tranny Confessions Of Punk Rocks Most Infamous Anarchist Sellout” , which chronicled the challenges of coming out as transgender in the punk and hardcore community at age 32.

Haunting, Haunted, Haunts ,  Directed by Margherita Ballarin

Longtime fans have been left somewhat disconcerted by Laura Jane Grace’s shift from hard-edged punk to a more melodic classic-sounding rock ‘n’ roll, but come on, the clue’s right there in the album title! Every artist evolves over the course of their career (well, the best ones do, anyway) and Grace’s muse is clearly taking her in different directions to where it’s gone in the past — hardly surprising, perhaps, given the degree to which her life has changed in recent years. And shit, maybe she’s just happier these days? Good! (Also, the video above was directed by Ione Skye!)

Taken from the brand new full-length record titled Shape Shift With Me that’ll be released on our own label, Total Treble, on Friday, September 16th! Written over the past couple of years while on tour, the new album is a collaborative effort that the four of us are extremely excited to share with you. In advance, we offer you the track “333”

Members: Laura Jane Grace – Guitar/Vocals James Bowman – Guitar/Vocals Atom Willard – Drums Inge Johansson – Bass

Against Me! have announced a UK tour this December, visiting Birmingham, Manchester, London, Glasgow, Bristol and Nottingham.

The tour will follow the release of the band’s new album, ‘Shape Shift With Me’, a loose concept album about traveling the world and falling in and out of love, due for release on 16th September 2016.