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Brooklyn, New York, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2010

Brooklyn, New York, United States
Established on Jan, 2010
Band Electronic Post-punk





“This is not the dream,” Bootblacks frontman, Panther MacDonald repeats on “Southpole,” though it is harder to believe him with each successive spin of the track. The post-punk indebted song exists very much in the ether, floating delicately beyond reach.

It’s a strong second single for the band, who have been channeling OG goth vibes for the last five years in Brooklyn. Though their early work owed more to the sounds and aesthetics of punk, the band have let a little more light in (hard to tell from the above picture) on their most recent record, Veins.

MacDonald describes the band’s new album as a step away from punk toward-post punk, and you can most certainly hear that in “Southpole,” which sounds like a skittering love letter to Bauhaus, Joy Division, Depeche Mode and all the other bands that ultimately bridged the gaps between punk, post-punk, and new wave. The instrumentation is expertly produced here, and I am very curious how this would all translate live.

If you happen to be one of our European readers and are digging the tune, you can check them out on tour this April. See those dates below the track. - nerdist

"Gothy Brooklyn trio Bootblacks releasing 'Veins'"

Brooklyn’s gothy-leaning Bootblacks are set to release their debut album, titled Veins, which will be out March 11. Mixing synths, drum machines, echoey guitars and impassioned singing, the band are direct sonic descendants of Xymox and Front Line Assembly. The album’s first single, “Sub-Rosa,” premieres in this post and you can stream it, and check out Veins artwork and tracklist, below.
Bootblacks were to have played Acheron this past Saturday (1/23) but it, like pretty much every show that night, was canceled due to the snowstorm. No makeup date has been announced, but they play regularly in NYC, so keep an eye out for shows. They have announced a European tour for the spring, and those dates are listed below.

Read More: gothy Brooklyn trio Bootblacks releasing ‘Veins’ (listen to “Sub-Rosa”), announce European tour dates | - Brooklyn Vegan

"Bootblacks 'Veins'"

The ’80s get a bad rap. Having lived through the era, a lot of it is deserved. Who could forget the over-the-top hairstyles, the numerous fashion trends and fads like neon-colored clothing and acid-washed jeans, and some disgusting food inventions, such as cheese in a can! It was also the era of the one-hit wonders and during which The Buggles correctly predicted video would kill the radio star (although that is changing with the internet). Some would even say it had some of the worse, if not the worst, music in history, pointing to Eddie Murphy’s “Party All The Time” as Exhibit A (that was really atrocious).

There was some good – o.k. a lot of good – that came out of the decade that born puffy sleeves, popularized perms and big hair, and introduced us to Ocean Pacific t-shirts and Vans shoes. Genres like new wave, dark wave, industrial, goth rock, post-punk, and alt-country started to become more firmly entrenched into the music lexicon. No longer were disenfranchised kids creating music in these areas, but now they were entering the mainstream. Consequently, the legacies of such illustrious bands and artists like Joy Division, The Cure, The Smiths, Depeche Mode, Kraftwerk, and Lucinda Williams were cemented and we revere them today. Their fingerprints can be heard in the songs of Radiohead, Arcade Fire, TV on the Radio, Japandroids, Neko Case, and Wilco, who have further taken music to new heights.

Even today, the influence of the ’80s endures, in all likelihood to the surprise of many. New bands are coming to the forefront to perfect genres that were considered to be far out or experimental. Genres no one thought would last more than a few years – a phase as many had called them. One such group that is reinventing the past is Bootblacks.

Comprising of vocalist and keyboardiest Panther MacDonald, guitarist Alli Gorman, and drummer Roger Humanbeing, the Brooklyn-based trio is fusing new wave, dark wave, goth-rock, and post-punk into an enticing and delectable elixir as heard on their superb debut album, Veins. Bootblacks, in other words, is this generation’s answer to Joy Division, and likely the closest we’ll ever get to hearing another band play with the same intensity, emotion, and fearlessness as the iconic Manchester band.

Veins is relentless in its energy. It is at times furious, such as on the mind-bending burner “ABC Anxiety” and the dark chasm that is “Low Fantasy”. Then there are moments that almost feel blissful and borderline euphoric, where the trio slows things down and build the drama through wave after wave of synth. On “Past Lives”, Bootblacks have created a cinematic and gorgeous number. Meanwhile on “Drift”, the band has manufactured a scintillating dark track that echoes of The Cure.

There are no shortage of pulsating, dance-inducing songs on Veins. “Always”, which is the closest thing to a love song on the album, shimmers with crystalline guitars and MacDonald’s harrowing vocals. “Decoys” has that intoxicating effect that was heard on Joy Division’s “Shadow Play” and “Transmission”. “Southpole”, though, is the band’s most daring number. It’s a driving, infectious post-punk track that brings urgency yet excitement to this genre. It is the one song where Bootblacks put their own stamp on a classic sound, and, therefore, helping it last another generation or beyond. And maybe 20, 30 years from now, we’ll be acknowledging Bootblacks as one of this generation’s seminal talents. - the Revue

"Bootblacks 'Southpole'"

Brooklyn-based post-punks Bootsblacks recently dropped their latest LP Veins, and now they've treated album cut "Southpole" to a brand new video.

The clip follows a man searching for peace and solace that is rarely found amidst the drunken blur of city nightlife. As he makes his way through the dark streets and into a bar, he's approached by a series of less-than-friendly characters.

Later this month, Bootblacks will team up with Berlin's Liste Noire for a European tour, and you can find all the details here. For now, Exclaim! has got the exclusive premiere of the "Southpole" music video, and you can check it out in the player below. - Exclaim

"Interview with Bootblacks"

I love hearing travel stories. As someone who is in a constant state of wanderlust, I gravitate towards people who can share with me their stories of far off lands. It allows me to imagine myself in those places, mentally taking notes about where I should travel to next.
Bootblacks, a post-punk band from New York City, is that type of group that has a treasure trove of travel stories. Having gained a large following in Europe, they have been fortunate enough to tour in places like Germany and Sicily. Over a few beers at my house in Brooklyn, Panther MacDonald (vocals/keyboard), Ali Gorman (guitar), and Roger Humanbeing (drums) told me about a few of their adventures in Europe. One story was about getting complimented by a gothic mob boss, another was about almost getting robbed by a Sicilian gang.
I was thoroughly engaged and amused throughout our entire interview. We went off in a lot of tangents, letting the conversations flow naturally. It almost turned into a therapy session, all of us having the freedom and joy of sharing stories with one another. I’m excited to re connected with them when they return. I wonder what sort of mob boss they will run into this time.
Check out BoC’s interview with Bootblacks, where we talked about their new EP Veins, their upcoming tour in Europe, and how Leipzig, Germany is their home away from home.


Who is BOOTBLACKS and what is your music about?
Ryan William MacDonald also known as Panther, because of a deformed hand
Roger Human Being, known as Roger Pefley
Ali Gorman
Panther: I don’t know if it’s about something. Personally I’m a great lover of music. For me, I think that music is the most powerful experience, the most powerful art form and I want to be a mediocre participant in that. If I did halfway between something that was amazing I would still feel pretty good. I would feel humbled amongst giants, that sort of thing. I just want to be a part of music, so I don’t know, I guess it’s for other people to decide.
Ali: We try to be conscious of the experience of the person listening or at a show. We aren’t writng to sort of masturbate, we think about the experience of the listener. We want to make moments that hit you.
Panther: We want to make music that people want to fuck to, cry to-
Ali: -Dance to
Panther: -drink a cup of coffee to, jog to. Music is a really personal experience
Ali: If we are playing a show and I see that people are having fun and dancing, I know we are doing what we should be doing
Panther: Art should be connective.
Ali: If you see people on their cell phones, you are failing.
Roger: I like the idea that you can fill in the blank. You can finish someone’s idea or thought of their night.
Panther: You wanna make art, and you wanna give something to someone.
Ali: Everything happens really organically, and there’s nothing fake or forced about it. We are very conscious about making sure that it’s good. Making sure that everything is considered and everything feels good to us. We have never felt mediocre about a song.
Panther: We save mediocrity for the every day.
If each member could talk to one species of animal which would it be?
Ali: I wanna talk to my cat like woah.
Roger: I was going to say that, too. I spend so much time with her, she just stares at me and I would like to know what she’s thinking for once.
Panther: To find out if she’s truly in love with you?
Roger: I just want know!
Panther: I want to say cats since my name is Panther and all, but I don’t know.
Ali: Cats are actuallhy moody ass holes and that encapsulates him (Panther) pretty well.
Panther: This may be contrary but I think animals’ greatest power is that they can’t talk. It’s this weird human fantasy to talk to animals. It’s in every kids movie. They’re just experiencing and living purely. I think our trap sometimes is language. I feel like going the other way sometimes and going “ I don’t feel like talking to anybody.” Am I wishing for silence?

If you can pick any celebrity to be the mother or father of your child, who would it be and why?
Panther: David Bowie. I’m gonna let my dog answer this: there are no words.
Ali: Tom Waits
Roger: Henry Rollins
You released VEINS today (3-11-16). Thanks for hanging out with me on your release date! Is there a story behind the album?
Panther: VEINS is a lift from Aleister Crowley. I’m not an occultist but I am fascinated by a person who is so extremely arrogant and confident in their life. He said “ I wanna write something about veins because if you care about something you should open up your veins and bleed out.” I felt like it was free association and very vulnerable. That resonates with me, the idea of being uncensored.
Ali: We basically got halfway through recording the album and then lost our bass player. We were wondering: should we try to get another bass player or do we not so we don’t have to rely on another person? We were kind of going in a different sound anyway, and our producer Brian was holding our hand in the process “If you wanna go in a synth/bass thing,” he said, “this is how we’ll do it.” It changed the course of the whole album.
Panther: Like Depeche Mode and New Order, we are more of a post punk band in a stricter sense.
Ali: Like a balance between electronic and organic. I was super excited about it and glad we went in this course. Brian introduced us to this world. I was kind of intimidated at first. When you are playing with acoustic instruments, you can adjust to each other if someone fucks up. If you have an electronic track going, it’s going with or without you. You have to retrain everything you know about live music.
Panther: The album is a journey of us transitioning and ultimately what you hear in the album is that realization. And it’s all accidental. I’m proud of it.
How are you going to celebrate this release?
Ali: We have a record release show at Don Pedro’s on Saturday March 26th. It’s a club night called Arkham that they do like every 3rd or 4th Saturday. There will be Dj’s and we will be performing around midnight. And then going to Europe! This is the first time in my musical career when I have planned logically a record release and then a tour where we play the record.

Next month BOOTBLACKS is touring Europe. What are you most excited about?
Ali: The beer. It’s incredible.
Panther: The underbelly. Usually when you go on vacation, you see the sights. When you are playing to the people that live there, you get to see the real parts. That is hands down the most exciting part. I can say that I have been to all these places in Europe and I can also say that I haven’t really seen anything famous about those parts. That is extremely exciting for me.
Ali: We get to play for really cool people, stay with the promoter, and he takes us out. He shows us around town, he introduces us to his friends, and we hang with the people who live there. I always feel really lucky.
Roger: I generally don’t like to travel or take vacations. But the idea of being able to travel around Europe and play drums,something I have been doing since I was 11 years old, is kind of amazing to me. I can play the beats that I wrote all over Europe. That’s what I’m excited about!
What are you most nervous about?
Ali: I’m not really nervous about anything. I mean, if we don’t flip our van I’ll be really fucking happy. I mean here’s the thing: some shows will be packed, others will be dead. You never know what you will get into but it’s always fun. It always up as something that you are happy you did.
Panther: I don’t think I’ve ever been nervous about things like crashing.
Roger: I’m the type of person that is nervous about anything at any given time. Being apart of the band gives me a liberating experience. The minute I go on tour I feel free.

Is there a particular city you are most excited about visiting?
Ali: Leipzig. It’s like our home away from home.
Panther: The place is like a mecca of art. It has a lot of things that are idealized like livable loft space, cheap art spaces, streets covered with graffiti, and a real utopian kind of feeling.
Ali: There are a lot of communal spaces. There will be a bar where people volunteer their time and cook and stuff. It’s run by like crusty punks. It’s like “pay us what you can” type of place. We tour with band that’s from there and everyone just treats us really well. Every time we go there it’s always a really good time with good food and cool people.
Who was your first crush?
Panther: Phoebe Cates
Roger: Drew Barrymore
Ali: I was obsessed with Michael Jackson.
Favorite song as a child?
Ali: P.Y.T by Michael Jackson.
Roger: Hungry Like a Wolf by Duran Duran
Panther: Maneater by Hall n Oates.
What’s next for Bootblacks?
Ali: Fame. Money. Prostitutes.
Panther: My entire life mission has been towards a pile of coke and Phoebe Cates.
Ali: Haha it’s tough to answer. We are finally at a place where we all get each other. I guess we’ll just keep making music. - black on the canvas

"Bootblacks 'Veins' looks back to the Future"

If you were craving a classic cross-genre ‘80s revival, which I can personally say I have been hungering for, then Bootblacks will bring you back with their newest album Veins. And I am psyched!

From first song till last, Bootblacks invents a parallel world, a contemporary past, bridging the ‘80s to the 21st century.

When “Colorblind” begins and the vocals set in, the familiarity of the deep sultry vocals — perfectly matched for the chilling guitar, booming percussion, and the precise notes of the synth — grabs you. The second song, “Southpole,” has the cool quality of synthpop — syncopated drums, echoing vocals, and seesawing arrangement — the timbre of a hallucinated flashback.

The commanding drums, symphony feel, and stadium sound of “Past Lives” along with those radiation riffs in “Drift,” like a brain-melting daze or a heartbeat pulsing, catapults you into the past.

Still, what is more stirring about Veins, and Bootblacks as a band is that underneath the New Wave vibrations and Post-Punk phrasings lives layers of other epochs.

“Always” is the fifth song on the album, and the aura of the song captures a whole other mood within the same world. At first, the more upbeat “Always” sounded to me like a song featured on the Weekend At Bernie’s soundtrack.

Listening again, however, I heard the Dick Dale late 50s/early 60s surf rock influences. The effect of the feedback from the guitar, juxtaposing the summer waves of the guitar strums is the first haze of the suspension between eras.

The seventh song, “Sub Rosa,” is effervescent. The repetition of the lyrics and percussion, and the nod to the waves of surf rock, wrap you in a circular trance beat; a sort-of Twilight Zone spinning spiral theme, fading out like white noise on a TV or a radio taking too long for the static to dissipate.

Later on, on the album, “ABC Anxiety” highlights Bootblacks’ punk roots, mixing that urgent underground energy with happy-go-lucky synth and psychedelic reverberation in the background. And layered above the music, the vocals twine in a tinge of the infamous Elvis hiccups with that preexisting brooding and distilled Morrissey-quality.

The penultimate song, “Low Fantasy,” with tones a la the late David Bowie and ‘90s alternative rock, and that consistent undertow of New Wave rhythms, wraps the multilayered time machine of the album together perfectly.

Like one long song, Veins is a cohesive piece — a requiem, with stages and parts and intricacies; or maybe like a Pink Floyd album, linear (and doesn’t the cover art resemble Pink Floyd’s own cover art for Meddle?). “Sub Rosa” knocks on that door, the front cover of Veins, with that peeling paint: “suffocating beneath the paint, beneath the paint. The sound, the sound, the sound…”

The unique ability of Veins to range in character creates a distinct time and style, but one that is all Bootblacks’ own. But I could not sum Veins up any better than the Brooklyn band did themselves a line from “Low Fantasy” that resonated with me the most:

“The future is behind.” - indie band guru

"Friday Night Video: Bootblacks 'Southpole'"

With their album Veins now out on Manic Depression Records, Bootblacks launch a campaign that includes an invasion of space and a claustrophobic bar all brought about by internal tensions. But this video all coincides to the term Bootblacks, a term coined by William Burroughs to describe the dark underbelly of New York City.

A slight tendency away from the punk aesthetics that have coincided with the band since 2010, the synths dominated throughout this new era of the band. Call it atmosphere, I would say it is definitely brooding. - selective memory mag

"Veins by Bootblacks"

Den prosaiske betydning av ordet bootblack er ganske enkelt skopusser, i en overført betydning representerer det samme ord bilder fra storbyens ambivalente vrangside. Et sted mellom glitter, glam og latter, og gatelivets mørke og lugubre hjørner. Det er her, i den noe overførte betydning, Bootblacks fra Brooklyn, NYC finner sine posisjoner.

Bootblacks startet opp som kvartett i 2010 men trimmet seg kjapt ned til dagens trio bestående av Ryan ‘Panther’ MacDonald (vokal, synth), Alli Gorman (gitar, trompet) og Roger ‘Humanbeing’ Peffley (trommer, synth pads). Dette en trio som med «Veins» er kommet til album nummer to, et album som – om vi skal tro presseskriv – er:

… the most recent step in the band’s evolution from punk to post-punk. Fans can expect a more textured, atmospheric and “bigger-sounding” Bootblacks than before.

MacDonald ramser på vegne av Bootblacks villig vekk opp sine forbilder – Depeche Mode, New Order, Simple Minds, Echo & The Bunnymen, Joy Division, (tidlig) U2 – , og de er alle britiske. Det er lite eller ingenting feil ved noe av dét; dog – Bootblacks høres ikke ut som hverken den ene eller den andre av disse. Det er biter, ekko, bruddstykker, vage hint fra både den éne og den andre i mengder, men til Bootblacks fordel skal sies at de står stødige som seg selv og som kontemporære videreførere av klassisk postpunk / new wave. Hva som imidlertid helt sant er, er at Bootblacks ikke nøler med å gå for den store lyden, for atmosfæren, for the big music.

«Veins» styrkes på den éne side av tre kapable musikere. MacDonald er bærer av en ypperlig vokal og skrur vidunderskjønne synthscapes, Gorman behersker til fingerspiss de klangfulle riff, Peffley er en spenstig, leken og hyperaktiv rytmist. På den annen side styrkes «Veins» av et band som åpenbart ønsker å lage popmusikk. Smart, heftig, farlig hektende popmusikk. I «Veins» lykkes Bootblacks med å fusjonere undergrunn og pop, punk og glam. Start med «Colorblind» og «Southpole», blir du med disse ikke kjøpt eller solgt; forsøk videre med mine beste anbefalinger i «Drift» + «Erosion». Eller kanskje «Decoy»? Den er direkte, rett på sak.

Samtidig som «Veins» utvilsomt trekker mange tråder til britisk postpunk, er Bootblacks ikke løsrevet hverken fra sin lokale samtid eller fortid. Bootblacks beveger seg fint i hånd med andre nåværende Brooklyn-band som f.eks. The Harrow, og i «ABC Anxiety» vinker de forsyne meg tilbake til elektropunk anno Suicide og Brooklyn i de sene 1970’s. Hva som høres, hvilke vinklinger som kobles, via «Veins», er trolig litt ymse – men har du vandret noen skritt gjennom tidligere tiders new wave og synth og slikt, vil du trolig finne og høre glimt av flere gode ting. Du vil trolig også høre The Killers, The Bravery og andre av den generasjon band fra statene.

«Veins» er av de klart mest underholdende album hørt så langt i år, i sine fem-seks beste stunder faktisk på grensen mot ekstatisk underholdning. Det vil si merkelig dans, luftsynth og gulvlampe som mikrofonstativ. Generøst nok kan «Veins» pr. dags dato lastes ned for den nette sum av ingenting, grip sjansen. LP slippes for salg i april via franske Manic Depression Records. - indiestadt

"Bootblacks: Narrowed"

There’s a sublime moment that hits at about 5:30 AM. Maybe you stayed up all night working. Maybe you’re drunkenly weaving your way home from the subway stop, or passing by rows of empty houses in the car of a friend who you hope has sobered up. Maybe you’re chemically enhanced and partying boldly onwards, bodega tallboys in each hand. Your exuberance is tinged with exhaustion, and perhaps a sense of unfulfilled possibilities from the waning night. You wonder why you are still awake. And then the sun rises, and you remember it’s summer and you see it’s going to be a beautiful day, and all your pent-up yearning mingles with delight. You might take a walk. You might get a coffee. You might just fucking not go to sleep. Your head is lighter than air, and that’s ok because you can feel the wind carrying you into the morning.

A song gets stuck in your head. There’s a marching beat behind each step. Where’d you hear it before? What’s that band again?

It’s Bootblacks, dude. They’re my favorite New York band, and when I lived in Brooklyn I saw them live every chance I got. They played straight-up goth rock, dissonant spasms of anger and lust rooted in The Birthday Party and early Siouxsie. But when their long-delayed debut album came out in the summer of last year, it was already obsolete—Bootblacks had dropped most of the songs from their set. When I heard their new material I could only describe it as “kinda like New Order.” They incorporated more synth parts, and wove programmed beats around live drums. Above all, they were exploring new atmospheres.
Narrowed, Bootblacks’ first recording since that full-length, is the sound of a nocturnal band pushing into the alien brightness of the morning. It’s powerful but serene, joyful yet deeply melancholy, and in that sense it’s very much like early New Order, who found themselves “seeing the light in the shade of the morning sun” with some regularity. But the better comparison, musically, is with the somber, spacious post-punk of unsung UK bands like The Chameleons and The Sound. Their influence is strongest in Alli Pheteplace’s guitar work. She plays with a light touch here, concealing her hand behind heavy doses of reverb and who knows what else. She hits notes other guitarists pass over. She shapes chords in a way that is entirely her own. With those strange harmonies, those shifting patches of brightness and shade, she paints a new sound-world for Bootblacks.

Alli’s guitar isn’t out front in the mix, though, and the songs aren’t really built around big riffs. Instead, each member of Bootblacks plays short, looping figures that fit into grander patterns, like samples in electronic music. There are no stock gestures here, no filler elements. The first track, “Voices,” opens with a 4-note synth line that quickly fades into the background, but it’s a brilliant hook that travels with you long after you’ve stopped the tape. Bassist Denis Makarov can write massive, melodic riffs in the vein of Joy Division and Bauhaus, but for most of Narrowed he plays the role of a disciplined minimalist, keeping close to the root notes and finding power in fleeting lifts and falls. Roger Peffley, on the other hand, plays the drums almost like a melodic instrument. He hits with tremendous force and industrial precision, locked in with the electronic percussion tracks, but he’s never just keeping a beat. The snare fills on the chorus of “Instincts” and the crashing escalation at the end of “Perfect Fiction” are all complete musical phrases in their own right, crucial parts of what makes this tape so engaging.

If there’s a melodic center to Bootblacks’ highly textured songs, it’s in the voice of their frontman, Panther. On the full-length his vocals were mostly vehement shout-talking, fitted to his role as decadent raconteur, but on Narrowed he’s found the depth in his voice and become a proper singer. Panther’s best work is on a “Perfect Fiction.” Alli traces an arc of pure longing and regret and Panther matches her, softly, picking up on the key tones. Here, and elsewhere, they’re really playing together, guiding one another and leaving space, so that it’s hard to tell whether the vocals or the riff came first.

It could be I’ve overemphasized delicate moments like these, though. Bootblacks dig in and hit hard throughout. Indeed, the weakness of this tape, and perhaps the inevitable weakness of any attempt to record this band, is that it doesn’t quite capture how hard they hit. When they play live, Roger and Denis are so locked-in that they can focus all their attention on bashing the fuck out of their instruments. Luckily, we get some of that impact on the last track “Birds,” which links Narrowed to Bootblacks’ older material. It’s propelled by a dark bass riff and a relentless, cyclical drumbeat. Alli dispenses with subtlety and wrings her guitar’s neck. Panther bellows some cryptic, brooding shit: “SIRENS. THEY BURN IN FRONT OF ME.” As Bootblacks come together in that final squall of noise, the sun is setting. - Lurkersgrave

"Bootblacks 2013 Narrowed"

Bootblacks are a four piece post-punk band from Brooklyn, New York, USA. Narrowed is their new EP. They play a dark brand of post-punk. These are songs designed and perfect for extending the night as long as it can go and railing against the inevitability of the sun. The singer has a darkly booming voice and the band conjures melodramatic backgrounds and make use of the dark space in between. Highlights include Voices, Perfect Fiction and Birds. If you need some dark, brooding music that will propel your evening to melancholy, hedonistic heights Narrowed will serve well. - project burnt

"Bootblacks Release Music Video For “Voices” Remix By Kalma"

If you haven’t heard of Brooklyn-based post-punk band, Bootblacks, you’re about to get your entire rock-loving life. The three-person group have been taking the New York scene by storm, playing shows in and around the city while recording their upcoming album. Building hype around their most recent EP, Narrowed, they have released the video for their alluring track “Voices” which also got the remix treatment by New York DJ, Kalma. The video stars some of the biggest names in the New York drag scene – YAAAAAAS! – including Severelymame, Macy Rodman, Stella Rose Saint Claire and Lena Marquise. Check out the palpitating visuals below and make sure to stop by their show this Saturday at The Acheron in Brooklyn. - Swagger NYC

"Bootblacks, Colony and Dead Fame live at Union Pool"

Two bands from Richmond, Virginia and one band from Brooklyn, New York took the stage at Williamsburg's Union Pool to deliver one hell of a show. The fog machine run non-stop, green and red lights illuminated the room and intermittently laser beams made an appearance. At times, I felt transported back to the 80s, to my favorite indie music night clubs and it felt so good. But as quickly, I was back again in New York of 2014 which felt good too. - GlamGlare


formed by members of THE HOLY KISS in 2009. the brooklyn based postpunk-band released a first split 7" with MONOZID on german "Majorlabel" in october 2010, followed by an european tour. with shows in germany, belgium, france, switzerland, austria and poland. after recording sessions with Peter Mavrogeorgis (producer for THE NATIONAL) and Jim Sclavunos (drummer for NICK CAVE & THE BAD SEEDS and GRINDERMAN) the band released their debut lp in autumn 2012. BOOTBLACKS embrace a love for both the rawness of bands like JOY DIVISION and BAUHAUS, as well as the catchy melodies of bands like DEPECHE MODE and SIMPLE MINDS. for the tour a 3-song EP will be out on chicago based "modern tapes" label. - Toxorecords


The second band, Brooklyn based Bootblacks, used simple stage lights and a fog machine that was also used by each subsequent act to enhance their stage presence. Complete with a singer/synth keyboardist, guitarist, and drummer, Bootblacks provided synth-infused, dance-worthy goth rock. They’ve achieved a brilliant juxtaposition in that they’ve managed to make music that sounds quite insufferable and ominous while simultaneously catchy and melodic. The performance itself sounded great; the singer’s deep voice was complimented by haunting, atmospheric sounds, cold, distant guitar riffs, and structured, rhythmic drumming. - Pancakes and Whiskey

"Bootblacks “Narrowed” Cassette (mt009)"

Modern Tapes is very proud to present “Narrowed” the band new 4 song cassette Ep from Brooklyn, Ny’s Bootblacks. Imagine all your post-punk/death rock heroes had an orgy. This is the band that would be providing the live soundtrack amid pulses of strobelights, washes of fog and spurts of lubricant. They have a sound, they have the songs. enjoy. Release happens april 2nd, for you at least. - Modern Tapes

"Quick Notes: Two Inch Astronaut, Speedy Ortiz, FISTS, Creative Adult, Cool Ghouls, + Bootblacks"

Bootblacks recently released the Narrowed EP as a limited cassette release, through Modern Tapes and it quickly sold out. The band will be releasing the EP on vinyl through Chicago-based Rococo Records (the label home of acts such as Les Savy Fav, the Feeling of Love and others). The EP is the follow up to their 2012 self-titled release, and as you can tell the band is heavily influenced by bands such as Echo and the Bunnymen, Joy Division, Simple Minds and others, including Interpol; however, the new material reflects pronounced growth — the hooks are tighter, and there’s a greater use of synths. Whereas their full-length had more of a punk feel and energy, the EP has an stark, chilly, deeply anxious feel that’s difficult to shake. - Exploding in Sound

"Bootblacks, “Voices,“ Narrowed, 2013."

I don’t often gush about contemporary bands, but I saw Bootblacks last night. I’d seen them before, and I liked them, I think, but they didn’t make that much of an impression on me. I was probably very drunk. But they do it. They echo so many of my favorite ’80s conventions, whilst avoiding sounding imitative of anything in particular. They have drum pads, occasional dissonant sax, an incredible guitarist who plays like a huge flock of birds fluttering over that thick, driving bass. I wouldn’t be surprised to discover them as some tragically forgotten band reviewed in an old issue of Zig Zag, right next to an interview with Theatre of Hate. Of course the fact that they’re fronted by a sexy Kirk Brandon lookalike might have something to do with that.

The point being that even for an inveterate historical fantasist like myself incapable of truly appreciating anything modern unless I can locate it by analogy in my mythic 1980s, this band plays the sort of music that makes music seem worthwhile, and makes me feel like all is not lost. Maybe most importantly, they write good, compelling, often catchy songs - something often overlooked by the recent wave of goth revivalists in their efforts to nod toward the correct tropes. For that reason they’ll probably get tagged ‘indie’ and become successful, and good for them, so did Theatre of Hate, but shit, this is what I wish ‘punk’ sounded like. - Cafe Decay

"Out of Step Dispatches"

Freaks first: Bootblacks' Narrowed EP stalks the dark hours, providing a fine one-two for midnight runs. But, don't mistake them for brooding malcontents monkeying around with the reaper-like moves of Death in June or Christian Death. Narrowed disintegrates into an early Cure obsessed with the angular spiders of Athens, Georgia. That might not read like quite a sight. I realize my spotter's guide is worn, so Method Actors and Pylons may not elevate heart rates. Fine. Newer: Given the delayed guitar and rumbling bass, one could easily recommend this to older astronauts who flew with North Carolina's Codeseven in addition to the likes of Merchandise and Cold Cave. Really though, lazy compartmentalization tendencies aside, the reason this functions so well is because Bootblacks understand musical importance hinges on a killer chorus rather than an I'M SO SERIOUS: A JOURNAL worldview. Hit up sad sacks for cloves, hang out with the hook-heavy, clad-in-Docs boys for a good time. - lastrite

"Mixtape 23: The Holydrug Couple, Elephant Stone And More"

And Brooklyn-based Bootblacks have announced the release of a 12-inch vinyl version of their sold out cassette EP “Narrowed.” You can also stream the whole thing at their bandcamp. They do dark 80s new wave post punk, and they do it well.


Lady Lazarus – “Gleam”

King Tuff – “Sun Medallion”

Shannon & the Clams – “Into a Dream”

Elephant Stone – “Hold Onto Yr Soul”

Baptist Generals – “Dog That Bit You”

Holydrug Couple – “Long Rain”

Bootblacks – “Birds”

White Fence – “Who Feels Right”

When Saints Go Machine – “Love & Respect” ft. Killer Mike

Small Black – “No Stranger” - Best New Bands


"Narrowed" EP Modern Tapes 2013



A New Album, Veins, From NYC’s Post-Punk Outfit Bootblacks

Two years after releasing their debut EP, Narrowed, Bootblacks are back with an even bigger sound.


“This band plays the sort of music that makes music seem worthwhile, and makes me feel like all is not lost…” ~Café Decay


Vocalist and front man Panther MacDonald describes Veins, the newly-completed Bootblacks album, as the most recent step in the band’s evolution from punk to post-punk. Fans can expect a more textured, atmospheric and “bigger-sounding” Bootblacks than before.

Recorded with Brian Scott Herman of TreeFort studios, the new album from Bootblacks – now composed of MacDonald, guitarist Alli Gorman and drummer Roger Humanbeing -- introduces an electronic bass and more synth-oriented soundscapes.

But the super-tight live shows that put Bootblacks on the map haven’t gone anywhere.  Known to win over even initially hostile audiences with their performances, complete with colored lights and laser beams, MacDonald says, “We try to form an organic connection with our audiences…The art of performance, and standing in front of people and putting yourself out there is an adrenaline rush and an addiction.”

Judging from their two sold-out European tours in 2011 and 2013, and the exuberant reaction of crowds stateside attending a Bootblacks live show, probably the best advice is to experience the band for yourself.

“[Bootblacks] embrace a love for both the rawness of bands like Joy Division and Bauhaus, as well as the catchy melodies of bands like Depeche Mode and Simple Minds” ~Toxorecords


Since the group’s founding in 2010, the Bootblacks sound has been described as a balance of contradictions: both pensive and buoyant, referential and modern.  Fitting, as the Bootblacks name is derived from novelist William Burroughs’ description of the dark underbelly of glitzy New York City.

MacDonald lists an eclectic set of influences: Depeche Mode, New Order, Simple Minds, Echo and the Bunnymen, Joy Division, early U2, as well as the Beatles and David Bowie for lyrical inspiration.

Bootblacks released their first EP, Narrowed, in the fall of 2012, recorded with Brian Scott Herman, after previously collaborating with Jim Sclavunos (Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds). Songwriters MacDonald and Gorman describe the collaboration with Sclavunos as a “life-changing” one that informs Bootblacks’ music to this day.

“He awakened me to the idea of crafting songs and the reality of composing songs, and spending time on them,” MacDonald says. “Before that, I thought of music as a purely visceral thing. He taught us to consider why we are making musical decisions, to have strong editing skills, to deeply listen.” That emphasis on a more deliberate yet authentically human music-making, combined with MacDonald’s voice, which manages to be dark and melodic at the same time, lent Narrowed the signature novel mix of sounds that has become the foundation of the Bootblacks experience.

With the completion of Veins, the musical journey for Bootblacks is just beginning.
"We're dedicated musicians." MacDonald says.  “We love touring, we love playing live, and we love recording. For us, it’s not about the vanity of it. There’s a real love of making music.”

“I know that we will continue to evolve, and never get stuck."

Band Members