Posts Tagged ‘Ratboys’

Ratboys Printer's Devil

Back when they released 2017’s GN, Chicago’s Ratboys were regulars of the DIY/indie/punk world but they were injecting a little alt-country into their sound and they seem poised to be one of DIY/indie/punk’s next breakout bands. Now, three years later, their third album Printer’s Devil just might be the one that does it. Ratboys already seem to be getting more praise and hype than ever, and compared to their first two albums, Printer’s Devil sounds big. They’re channelling the soaring, power pop-tinged alternative rock of the ’90s, sounding kind of like a cross between Weezer and the Gin Blossoms but with a distinct delivery from vocalist Julia Steiner that sets them apart from any one band in particular. They also know how to change things up, with Printer’s Devil finding time for punk speed, folk balladry, atmospheric build-ups, and plenty of the in-between. As ever, Julia’s earworm melodies and the band’s strong vision tie it all together.

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Upheaval and change are themes spread throughout the songs on Printer’s Devil, the latest Ratboys LP, released via Topshelf Records. A tangible sonic shift is apparent thanks to a newly-expanded lineup – founding members Julia Steiner and Dave Sagan are now joined by Marcus Nuccio and Sean Neumann on drums and bass. What started as an acoustic duo has finally transformed into a full-scale indie-rock band with a clear identity. Recorded live at Decade Music Studios in Chicago, Printer’s Devil features big-chorus power pop songs like “Alien with a Sleep Mask On” and “Anj” that sound massive and larger than life, alongside intimate folk songs like “A Vision” and devastating alt-country tracks like “Listening,” showcasing once again the group’s signature versatility. Building off their previous albums Ratboys captures the bombastic, electrified fun of their live show in a bottle on Printer’s Devil and showcases their growing chemistry as a tight-knit group.

The Band:

Guitar, vocals, lyrics – Julia Steiner
Guitar, bass (Tracks 3, 8, 9) – Dave Sagan
Bass – Sean Neumann
Drums, synths – Marcus Nuccio
Drums (Tracks 3, 4, 8, 10), Vibes – Ian Paine-Jesam

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Back in November, Chicago-based Ratboys announced plans for a new album this year. The upcoming Printer’s Devil serves as a follow-up to their 2017 sophomore full-length GN, and its companion EP, GL. Along with that announcement, the band released their raucous, grungy lead single, “Alien With A Sleep Mask On,” and its video.

Now, Ratboys are sharing a second single and video from that forthcoming LP, “I Go Out At Night.” It’s a bit more starry-eyed than the previous single, as soaring electric riffs blend seamlessly with full chord synths throughout. The lyric “I’m lost, but I’m not afraid” — pulled from David Byrne and Brian Eno’s collaboration “Life Is Long” — reportedly became a mantra for Ratboys during the making of the new album.

vocalist Julia Steiner said about the song:

The first verse and main riff of this song is actually the only “older” idea that we recycled for the record — I think I wrote both when I was 19 or 20, maybe 6 or 7 years ago. We wanted this song to feel different from the rest, something like a daydream or a fantasy. We experimented with synths in this song, during the bridge and the outro. I’m extremely happy with how all of the sounds interact — it comforts me for reasons I find hard to describe.

Like the video for “Alien With A Sleep Mask On,” this one was directed by Coool, the working moniker of duo John TerEick and Jake Nokovic. It’s a noirish ode to Halloween that sees the band members trick-or-treating, complete with an evil witch.

Band Members
Julia Steiner – vox/lyrics, guitar
David Sagan – guitar

Printer’s Devil is out 2/28 via Topshelf Records.

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Ratboys, the Chicago based band, that is built on the duo of Julia Steiner and Dave Fagan have become one of my favorites over the last couple of years. Their unique tales sung to their own brand of indie make them an easy band to reach for. New album “Printer’s Devil” is out on 2/28/20 via the fine folks of Topshelf Records.

Upheaval and change are themes spread throughout the songs on Printer’s Devil, the latest Ratboys LP, out February 28th, 2020 via Topshelf Records. But all the while, singer-songwriter Julia Steiner embraces moments of uncertainty as a necessary part of growing. Steiner recalls a David Byrne lyric, “I’m lost, but I’m not afraid” as inspiration for the transformative outlook, considering the line a personal mantra while writing Ratboys’ third full-length record. “There’s definitely a lot of uncertainty about what’s next, but I like to think that, in the midst of creating a lot of vulnerability for ourselves, we’re confident and becoming more self-assured.”

This is the official music video for “Alien with a Sleep Mask On” from the album ‘Printer’s Devil’ by Ratboys

Independent record label located in San Diego, CA by way of Boston, MA. Started in 2006.

Hitting up South By Southwest this year? Topshelf Records will be returning to Austin Cheer Up Charlie’s for our official SXSW showcase on Thursday, 15th March. We have an awesome lineup this year featuring GulferQueen of JeansSpecial ExplosionRatboys, and No Vacation.

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Julia sings and plays guitar Dave does everything else , Ratboys’ propulsive yet gentle sound is anchored by the ethereal voice of guitarist Julia Steiner, who sings with a combination of vulnerability and strength, while the band essentially longtime multi-instrumentalist Dave Sagan and drummer Danny Lyons provides a dynamic soundtrack of frenetic volume and powerful quietude. Within their stylistic range, Ratboys hint at the Folk/Pop energy of Clem Snide and The Innocence Mission and sonic territories explored by Juliana Hatfield and Smashing Pumpkins, with Steiner’s emotive vocals, intensely wrought lyrics and delicate guitar ministrations set against Sagan’s angular and often unbridled fury.

Ratboys began in Chicago nearly a decade ago, operating consistently as the solid core of Steiner and Sagan, with a revolving support cast around them. Since its recorded debut with the track “Spiderweb 2/8/09,” the band has dropped a number of solo and split singles, an EP and a pair of full-lengths — 2015’s AOID and last year’s spectacular GN. At the time of AOID’s release, Ratboys were operating with a traditional rhythm section, but by GN, the band was pared down to a trio, with Lyons on drums and Sagan handling bass, guitar and pocket piano (pedal steel, cello and other accompaniment was provided by guest musicians).

hey! we have some new music to share today! here’s an EP called ‘GL’ (aka Good Luck) featuring 4 songs about losing faith in your friends & telling the truth. a companion piece to ‘GN’ if ya dig. We really hope you like these songs & we’re So psyched to play em for you in person as we tour across the US and Canada in the coming weeks

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released February 23rd, 2018

Julia Steiner – vox/lyrics, guitar
David Sagan – guitar
recorded & mixed by Mikey Crotty
drums by Brendan Smyth
pedal steel on ‘You’ve Changed’ by Pat Lyons 
trumpet on ‘GL’ and ‘After School’ by Cody Owens

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Ratboys have always been a good band. But, with GN, they became a great one. The way in which they blend alt-country with buzzy, borderline pop-punk shouldn’t work, but it totally does. Julia sings and plays guitar Dave does everything else. I didn’t think it was possible to top their debut album, but their growth is hard to ignore on their second release. This album peels off its layers bit by bit with every listen.  Ratboys combines folksy roots, guitar rifts, and uncommon lyricism with a mesmerizing lead. Among one of my favorite albums of the year, easily

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Last summer, Chicago’s Ratboys released its debut album AOID, though that simple statement betrays how much work went into it. The band was initially launched as an acoustic duo, with Julia Steiner and Dave Sagan slowly building a membership around their songs, which took five full years to congeal. Now, Ratboys are moving at a quicker pace, as evinced by its latest single, “Not Again, the video for the song below, which sees Ratboys garage jam—inside Chicago DIY space, Gnarnia—turn into a paint-balloon war. It’s a video that gets a little messy, but shows that Ratboys are still doing a great job of crafting county-inspired indie jams.

“Not Again”, is the new single from Ratboys – available digitally from Topshelf Records.  Julia Steiner commented on the video for the latest single .Released April 8th, 2016.

Ratboys are
vocals/guitar – julia steiner
guitar – dave sagan
bass/drums – will lange

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They’re—in a word ’twinkly.’ They have these complex guitar parts and very piercing guitars and riffs. You can tell that Ratboys grew out of screamo house show music culture. They have little vestiges of that. But they also have a very matured alt, almost country sound. There’s definitely some folk thrown in there. But Julia’s voice takes on this Best Coast, art-rock quality. She was telling me about how she loves Jeff Tweedy. We ended up talking about that for a while, because damn, I love Wilco so much. Yankee Hotel Foxtrot is an alt-country record, and I see that same experimental vibe in Ratboys. And I love it so much. Watching them perform is just insane. They’ll have one song that’s a vibey, low dynamic song, and close with one that’s just feedback and chaos. They were engaging with the audience so much. You could tell the crowd was perpetually surprised by what was happening—just like I was when I listened to this record the first time. There’s a lot going on, and I really love it.

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Julia Steiner – guitar/singing
Dave Sagan – guitar
Will Lange – bass
Pat Kennedy – drums