Local foursome Lacing hits the ground running with 4-song cassette
The members of the Chattanooga quartet Lacing have previously covered diverse genres such as metalcore, pop-rock, instrumental hip-hop, hard rock, noise and ambient music, but they all converged in their current act with a common interest in shoegaze.
Coined by journalist Andy Ross at the beginning of the ‘90s, “shoegazing” was actually a light insult directed toward the under-recognized British band Moose’s lack of showmanship and predilection to stare downward.
The term was adopted to categorize groups such as My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive that created swirling masses that could be turbulent or dreamy, and eventually, “shoegaze” was sometimes indiscriminately used to describe bands that used more than two guitar pedals in the ‘90s.
So, why shoegaze and why now?
“Why not?” said Lacing guitarist and singer Joseph Davenport, who is also behind the 11-year-strong shoegaze/harsh noise project Millipede. “I think we all feel that as a musical movement it was cut short in its prime or sort of dead-ended stylistically around 1995.”
“Not everyone has to reinvent a genre,” said drummer Jerry Reed, who has played drums in Rough Rope, Gravebound and Hoth and has a solo noise act called Rurnt. “What I would like to bring to the genre is solid music. I really want to just play what I want to hear.”
“To me, shoegaze is the music that fulfilled the promise that psychedelic [rock] made,” said Reed, who described “feeling a little dizzy and nauseous” after hearing a song by My Bloody Valentine for the first time.
“This music, in my opinion, has never really lost relevance as it ties together several areas of sound to form something that is at the same time familiar and yet very mesmerizing and novel,” said bassist Joseph J. Micolo III, who has several solo projects including Segaworms, GTRUK and Vaus and is also a member of the Massapequa, NY band Year of Confession. “It’s less of a ‘throwback’ and more of an experimentation of the possibilities in this sonic palette.”
“Even though it’s this huge, kind of busy sound, it does have a sort of distilling effect in that there’s always a soothing and pleasing element riding on top of all the chaos,” said guitarist Robert Parker, whose previous bands include Swoon (stylized as S W O O N), Thee Something Brothers and Mister Grits.
“So it’s a lot like how we consume media and information: we ride the wave of the spectacle and latch onto the pieces that resonate with us at that particular moment, and sometimes we ride the wave again and something new sticks out. Or we just let it wash over us with abandon. Just swap out the numb, calculated insincerity of the clickbait world and replace it with pure volume and raw textures, and baby, you’ve got some shoegaze.”
Lacing—named after a beer term for the foam stuck to the side of a glass—came together after Davenport wanted to create some song-oriented Millipede material with vocals and approached Reed to play drums. Micolo, a mainstay of the local noise scene, was recruited on bass, and Parker joined after Swoon’s breakup.
The group’s debut performance last November at Sluggo’s was warmly received, and the band’s 4-song cassette Honey Glow was released earlier this year on Reed’s Failed Recordings label, ranging from the piercing stabs of “Needle” to the soothing, blissed-out 11-minute title track. Within the next year, Lacing will be on a split tape with the Chicago group Lazy Legs and plans on recording a full-length LP.
“Our goal is to make some music when we record that we may not be able to accurately recreate live,” said Davenport. “We want to have all these little idiosyncratic things going on. They’re separate entities. Live is more visceral, just us kind of going off.”
“Just by the nature of our other projects, doses of noise, hardcore, doom and other aspects weave their way into the sound,” said Micolo.
Contemporary rap music is a huge influence on Lacing that may not be obvious, and Micolo cited “the level of production and atmosphere,” “epic feel” and “large sonic view” of rap that lends its spirit to Lacing.
“We’re all really into Future and Kanye,” said Davenport.
Regarding Davenport’s singing that is intentionally buried in the mix, he said, “I don’t think it’s important for people to know the exact lyrical content. But in the most elusive terms our songs have been about suicide, anxiety about the future and people you love going away.”
“I’m happily married with a kid, so the things that really worry me these days have more to do with the random violence and absurd uncertainty of the modern age,” said Davenport.
“We all are tied to real life responsibilities,” said Reed, when asked about the band’s goals. “I just wanna make loud music with my friends.”