Polyvinyl Record Co. and Laura Jane Grace are excited to announce ‘Hole In My Head,’ the Emmy-nominated artist, author, activist, and musician’s first offering since 2021’s ‘At War With The Silverfish.’ Recorded at Native Sound in St. Louis with David Beeman and mixed by Matt Allison (The Lawrence Arms, Rise Against), ‘Hole In My Head’ is a sonic curio cabinet containing multitudes – a showcase that features warm, ‘50s rock-influenced guitar riffs, saved-for-later lyrics, love letters to new surroundings, and thoughtful reflections on a punk life lived. Grace’s commanding vocals are backed predominately by her performances on guitar and drums, and bolstered by Drive-By Truckers bassist Matt Patton, whose presence rounds out a full-band sound on over half the album.
Having already revealed the acclaimed fan favorite ‘Dysphoria Hoodie,’ Grace’s raw ode to a particular type of armor, today she offers the title track to the album in the form of a thrilling music video directed by actor and photographer Gilbert Trejo (Machete, From a Son). An exhilarating escape from the mundane nature of our daily lives, ‘Hole In My Head’ is a fuzzed-out and barreling, power-pop ripper that illustrates just how liberating the power of music can be.
A musical force since Against Me!’s debut in the late-’90s and one of Billboard Magazine’s “50 Greatest Rock Lead Singers Of All Time,” punk veteran Laura Jane Grace has never shied away from themes of political commentary, environmentalism, social critique, and candid self-exploration. On the forthcoming ‘Hole In My Head,’ she continues to showcase her songwriting genius across the 11 tracks presented here, issuing an album that captures the nuances of humanity and experience in a strangely optimistic manner. The lightness of its influence, and the journalistic recollection of experience set against a battered and warm folk-punk delivery from beginning to end, makes ‘Hole In My Head’ a refreshing comfort.
From the scrappy acoustic anthem ‘Dysphoria Hoodie,’ the shouty surf-punk of ‘I’m Not A Cop’ and jangle of the Jonathan Richman-inspired ‘Punk Rock in Basements,’ a song where she looks back on the formative underground spaces of her youth through a post-pandemic, rose-colored lens, ‘Hole In My Head’ also takes time to reflect on Grace’s ongoing travels and adopted homes, themes that have always been at the heart of her songwriting. Written in Amsterdam on a black hollow-body Gretsch guitar that was hand-painted by her friend Gakkin, ‘Birds Talk Too’ is a song that commemorates Grace’s recent experience of having her head shaved and tattooed by the famed Japanese artist.
Elsewhere, the easygoing ‘Tacos and Toast’ and its predecessor, ‘Cuffing Season,’ slows down the tempo of the record, moving forward as its lyrics delve into Grace’s renewed ability to make music in a new place. After spending the pandemic cooped up in an apartment, Grace landed in St. Louis for some time and (quite serendipitously) posted up in a studio that formerly belonged to Jay Farrar, frontman of Son Volt and founding member of Uncle Tupelo. And while home is wherever Grace’s daughter is, “St. Louis really opened its arms to me and I just have such a great time when I’m there,” she reflects. “It’s a really special city. To me, it feels like the way every city in America felt when I first started touring in the late-‘90s, and this crazy mix of fun and adventure, but danger and possibility.”
Vibrant and direct as ever, ‘Hole In My Head’ is an exciting hallmark in Grace’s colorful and ever-changing journey. With the final track, ‘Give Up The Ghost,’ there is almost a stream of consciousness where Grace flows between apologies and regrets to seemingly embellished experiences. Except when she sings “I’m standing at the center of the universe/ screaming at god, I’m not done,” she’s being serious. The Center of the Universe is an auditory phenomena on a footbridge in downtown Tulsa, OK – a place where tourists can stand at its center and yell yet not be heard by those standing outside of them. The track is relatively sparse compared to the rest of the record. As it was in the American Hotel in Amsterdam and the bedroom of her childhood, the record ends with just Grace and a guitar, setting her time and memory to melody, the hard-edged yet honest way she’s mastered. ‘Hole In My Head’ is a welcome embrace of life and just the start of a new chapter in Grace’s raucous journey.
‘Hole In My Head’ tracklist:
01. Hole In My Head
02. I’m Not A Cop
03. Dysphoria Hoodie
04. Birds Talk Too
05. Punk Rock In Basements
06. Cuffing Season
07. Tacos and Toast
09. Keeping Your Wheels Straight
10. Hard Feelings
10. Give Up The Ghost