“Traveling Light” Bootblacks

Northern Transmissions Song of the Day is "Traveling Light" by Bootblacks featuring Shannon Hemmett. The track is of the their forthcoming LP Thin Skies
Bootblacks photo by Katrin Albert

Thin Skies, is the forthcoming release for Brooklyn, NY band Bootblacks, and their debut release for Artoffact Records (ACTORS, Wingtips, Devours Spectres). The nine track LP was Produced by Jason Corbett from lablemates ACTORS, Thin Skies is described as a a marriage of post-punk emotion and clubland sweat. Frontman Panther Almqvist’s brooding voice captivates as it veers from detached cool to deep vulnerability. Band members include Panther Almqvist’, Alli Gorman, Barrett Hiatt, Larry Gorman, along with backing vocals by Shannon Hemmett (ACTORS) and Kennedy Ashlyn (SRSQ, Them Are Us Too). Ahead of the album’s release, the band have shared the single “Traveling Light,” the song is a compliment to the band’s name, derived from novelist William Burroughs’ description of the dark underbelly of glitzy NYC, maybe with a bit of Manchester, England circa 1980.

Panther Almqvist on “Traveling Light:”

“”Traveling Light”” was a sort of summation of memories, a million nights out and the social compromises one makes with oneself in public spaces. Seems like a distant concept now, in spite of everything. The bigger theme about your inner self and your public self I don’t think disappeared just because we don’t assemble like we used to, we’re always living this life of duality which feels pretty lonely most of the time. So, the center of the song is finding that vulnerability and connection with someone in a sea of pretense and posturing, like an island in a sea.”

The loneliness of city life pervades the album’s music and lyrics. “Most of the lyrics on the album are about loneliness,” says . Almqvist “Looking back on the lyric writing process there seems to be some connective feeling of isolation and distance present in all of the songs… I’m always hoping that a listener personalizes the song, that’s why the songs never have a narrative but try to embody a feeling.”

Following a handful of formative sessions with prolific drummer/producer Jim Sclavunos (Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Sonic Youth), the Brooklyn-based Bootblacks released its first EP, Narrowed, in the fall of 2012. Debut full-length Veins came next in 2016 and was backed by extensive touring. 2017’s Fragments found the band expanding to a bigger, more atmospheric and synth-heavy sound; the album landed on many year-end lists and helped earn slots on festivals such as Cold Waves, Terminus, Absolution, Wave Gotik Treffen, and Murder of Crows.

As well as playing shows at every significant venue in NYC, sharing stages with the likes of Clan of Xymox, Light Asylum, HEALTH, and VOWWS, along the way, Bootblacks has toured North America and Europe, most recently being handpicked by Modern English as direct support for a 2020 North American tour (currently postponed).

Bootblacks
Thin Skies
Tracklist
Artoffact Records

1) Traveling Light (feat. Shannon Hemmett of ACTORS)
2) The Jealous Star
3) Thin Skies
4) Hidden Things
5) Parallel
6) Nostalgia Void
7) Brouhaha
8) New Lines (feat. Kennedy Ashlyn of SRSQ)
9) Inextinguishable

Lineup:
Panther Almqvist – vocals
Alli Gorman – guitar
Barrett Hiatt – synth
Larry Gorman – drums