Feature, News, Reviews

Ratboys Share New Single & Video For Album Title-Track “The Window” – New Album out August 25th via Topshelf Records

June 29, 2023
Photo Credit: Alexa Viscius

RATBOYS

Share new single & video for album title-track
LP ‘The Window’ due August 25th via Topshelf Records

Chicago’s Ratboys present the title track and an accompanying video from their forthcoming album ‘The Window’, out August 25th via Topshelf.

Lyrically, the album sees songwriter Julia Steiner at her most personal, reflecting on love and grief with occasional humor and levity. She frequently leans on windows as a theme—the idea of an interrupted connection, the feeling of being near someone without being fully present. Throughout the title track, the window is literal. It’s simultaneously heart-wrenching and poignant, as Steiner’s voice swells over twangs of guitar and stirring percussion. “I wrote this song a few days after the death of my grandma in June of 2020,” Steiner explains. “She didn’t have covid, but because of the pandemic my grandpa wasn’t able to visit her in person at the nursing home to say goodbye. He ended up standing outside her room and saying goodbye through an open window. A lot of the lyrics are direct quotes of things he said to her in those final moments.” The accompanying video, directed by John TerEick, is cinematic and echoes the nostalgic and bittersweet themes of the song.

Ratboys have your heart in their hand throughout this very tender, very explosive, volatile composition. Hooked from the get-go, the sincerity of the lyrics will floor you. Fixated on the affection that resonates through the vocal harmonies and guides the emotive direction of the words, the instrumentation unites to propel the intensity to new heights.

Ratboys have evolved through their time together and the new material marks this enthused energy and robust power that all musicians convey once united.

After more than ten years and four studio albums, The Window finally captures Ratboys as they were always meant to be heard—expansive while still intimate, audacious while still tender—the sound of four friends operating as a single, cohesive unit. Throughout the last few years, Sean Neumann (bass) and Marcus Nuccio (drums) became full-time members alongside Steiner (vocals, guitar) and Dave Sagan (guitars), making The Window the first album Ratboys have written collaboratively from start to finish. It was also the first time they’d ever traveled outside their home base of Chicago to record an album, journeying to Seattle to work with producer Chris Walla (Death Cab for Cutie, Tegan and Sara, Foxing) for three weeks. 

The sessions struck the perfect balance between preparation and experimentation. Walla’s studio sensibilities pushed Ratboys to stretch and expand their vision, adding unexpected elements and instruments like rototoms, talkboxes, and fiddles. Hunting for sonic inspiration, Walla and the band sometimes spent hours just listening to their favorite albums, spinning everything from Sloan to Brainiac to The Roches. The resulting album is sonically diverse, shifting wildly from track to track and flexing everything from fuzzy power pop choruses to warm country twang to mournful folk.

So far, Ratboys have released two singles, “It’s Alive!” and “Black Earth, WI,” the latter of which has been deemed one of the top 10 songs of the year by Consequence and Paste. Following the album’s release, they’ll play a North American tour this fall. Tickets for all dates are on sale now. 

Pre-order album herehttps://ratboys-merch.limitedrun.com/?view=f38692

The Window marks a number of firsts for the band. Throughout the last few years, Sean Neumann (bass) and Marcus Nuccio (drums) became full-time members alongside Julia Steiner (vocals, guitar) and Dave Sagan (guitars), making The Window the first album Ratboys have written collaboratively from start to finish. It was also the first time they’d ever traveled outside their home base of Chicago to record an album, journeying to Seattle to work with producer Chris Walla (Death Cab for Cutie, Tegan and Sara, Foxing) for three weeks. The group worked on the arrangements together over the course of a year and half, so by the time the band showed up to the Hall of Justice Recording Studio in February 2022, The Window’s songs were well rehearsed and airtight. “We spent 2020 demoing the songs, and spent 2021 practicing them,” says Steiner. “We practiced twice a week for six months, exploring the songs and developing them. We’d send early versions to Chris and he’d give us notes. It went like that for weeks. It was such a dedicated and intentional process.”

But while The Window was nearly fully formed going into the studio, the band also left some space for experimentation with Walla. The sessions struck the perfect balance between preparation and experimentation. Walla’s studio sensibilities pushed Ratboys to stretch and expand their vision, adding unexpected elements and instruments like rototoms, talkboxes, and fiddles. Hunting for sonic inspiration, Walla and the band sometimes spent hours just listening to their favorite albums, spinning everything from Sloan to Brainiac to The Roches. “The language Chris uses when speaking about music comes from a very emotionally centered place, and that’s something that resonated with us. He would say things like, ‘This cymbal hurts my feelings,’ or ‘This song is like a cat,’” says Nuccio. “It was such a disarming thing,” adds Neumann. “We didn’t get bogged down in technical terms, and he never placed pressure on us in that way. With Chris steering the ship, we were free to go off on little creative expeditions and come up with parts and ideas we’d never imagined.”

As Paste lauds, “Ratboys has had all of our hearts for 10 years…[and] a live chemistry that remains unparalleled and irreplaceable.” This fall, they’ll bring their incredible live show across North America. A list of dates can be found below and tickets will be on sale this Friday, June 9th at 10am local at the band’s website.

Ratboys Tour Dates
Fri. Aug. 25 – Chicago, IL @ Schubas Tavern – SOLD OUT
Thu. Sep. 21 – Champaign-Urbana, IL @ Pygmalion Festival
Fri. Sep. 22 – Columbus, OH @ Rumba Cafe *
Sat. Sep. 23 – Washington, DC @ Songbyrd *
Tue. Sep. 26 – Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s *
Wed. Sep. 27 – New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom *
Thu. Sep. 28 – Boston, MA @ Brighton Music Hall *
Fri. Sep. 29 – Montreal, QC @ POP Montreal ^
Sat. Sep. 30 – Toronto, ON @ Monarch Tavern ^
Mon. Oct. 2 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Bottlerocket Social Hall *
Tue. Oct. 3 – Cleveland, OH @ No Class *
Wed. Oct. 4 – Ferndale, MI @ Magic Bag *
Fri. Oct. 6 – St. Paul, MN @ Turf Club *
Sat. Oct. 7 – Milwaukee, WI @ The Back Room at Colectivo Coffee *
Thu. Oct. 19 – Omaha, NE @ Reverb &
Sat. Oct. 21 – Denver, CO @ Globe Hall &
Sun. Oct. 22 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Kilby Court &
Tue. Oct. 24 – Seattle, WA @ Madame Lou’s &
Wed. Oct. 25 – Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios &
Fri. Oct. 27 – San Francisco, CA @ Cafe du Nord &
Sat. Oct. 28 – Los Angeles, CA @ Lodge Room Highland Park &
Sun. Oct. 29 – San Diego, CA @ The Loft at UC San Diego &
Mon. Oct. 30 – Santa Ana, CA @ Constellation Room &
Tue. Oct. 31 – Phoenix, AZ @ Valley Bar &
Thu. Nov. 2 – San Antonio, TX @ Paper Tiger &
Fri. Nov. 3 – Austin, TX @ Empire Control Room & Garage &
Sat. Nov. 4 – Dallas, TX @ Club Dada &
Fri. Dec. 22 – Chicago, IL @ Thalia Hall – NEW SHOW
* =w/ Free Range
&=w/ Another Michael
^=w/ Ellis

The Window tracklist:
1. Making Noise for the Ones You Love
2. Morning Zoo
3. Crossed that Line
4. It’s Alive!
5. No Way
6. The Window
7. Empty
8. Break
9. Black Earth, WI
10. I Want You (Fall 2010)

https://ratboys.bandcamp.com/

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