LACE's Dark Punk Embraces the Bleakness of These Modern Times

Listen to a couple of tracks from the Houston noise-punk's debut album.
21 December 2017, 12:34am
Photo: Derek Rathbun

Since forming in early 2016, Houston's LACE have built a solid local reputation as a band who spew fast and furious punk music. Just don't call them hardcore. The band's Joshua Bosarge says that he's more likely to listen to Joni Mitchell than a hardcore record, and the five-piece's bleak and desperate tone owes more to 39 Clocks, Swans, and Total Control as it does Black Flag or bands who sound like they want to overturn small cars.

Following a lauded demo, the band are set to release their ten-song debut _Human Conditio_n on Kentucky label Funeral Party.

While the demo had a blown apart rawness, Human Condition seems more considered. The production, by no means polished, has stepped up and on tracks such as "Tension" and "On a Rung", that you can listen to below, the band ruminate on destructive human behaviour.

We sent some questions to Bosarge to find out more about the band and the upcoming album.

Noisey: It’s been an eventful year for Houston with Hurricane Harvey and the Astros winning the World Series. How have these events affected you on a personal level and then on a more general for the local music scene?

Josh Bosarge: Houston is an interesting city. We’ve got a sense of hometown pride and a very loud independence that may at times isolate us. When the hurricane hit though, I felt an urgency for my friends and my community I hadn’t felt in sometime. The highway near my home was completely flooded up to the overpass above it. Many of my friends own small businesses and for our city to come to a complete stand-still for that week or two was really frightening. Even while it was raining though, everyone I knew was looking for a way to volunteer. As soon as the roads were clear, we were back on it, finding ways to build or contribute. There were benefit shows left and right, and it was really great to see us pick up and move along the way we did.

Houston was also home to Summer Breeze the hardcore punk fest. How important for a city like Houston to have a festival like this?

Summer Breeze is definitely healthy and important for Houston. A lot of our previous punk festivals had a tendency to cater to a narrow scope. A fest like this that is inclusive of all of the different degrees of modern punk is needed. Sexpill played their last show right before Gag and left the room covered in beer. Watching the locals get as much love as the touring bands was awesome. I know they are already working on next year, so I am looking forward to what it will look like.

You are a band who involve members with various musical backgrounds. What was the starting point?

We began from the remnants of a band three of us had started years ago. I moved to Austin, then came back and was ready to create with the same people, but wanted something completely different. There weren't any preconceived notions of how we wanted to sound, but our influences in everything but hardcore music and different backgrounds meshed together created something we really like. That’s why I don’t like thinking of us as a hardcore band.

The band has a strong visual aesthetic and design style.

I like keeping a consistent look and theme to our visuals including flyers. It feels important, maybe it’s not, but it is comforting to me in a way. The artwork coupled with our sound is an interesting package. I like the vague bleak look of some Penguin books from the past, or 70s/80s post punk album covers.

Lyrics to songs such “Tension” and “On a Rung” seem fairly abstract but there is also an ominous and dark underlay. Obviously Trump has brought a sense of foreboding to American life but how is this reflected in your songs?

With Trump around, the uneasiness is palpable and hangs pretty heavy in the air. People are pissed, and just as equally pissed that other people are actually pleased with the President and what is going on. I say that they all all a reference to “destructive human behavior”. I don’t think that the lyrics directly exhibit that aggression towards Trump, but I would say that because of the times, those destructive behaviors are much more visible and active.

'Human Condition' will be available early 2018 on Funeral Party Records.