Happy Birthday, Ratboy
10 years ago this April — April 1st to be exact — Chicago’s Ratboys put out their first collection of songs. The RATBOY EP, consisting of five indie-folk dorm room recordings, was free to download on Bandcamp and humbly passed around to friends on social media.
Cut to 2021, and Ratboys would normally be celebrating their 10-year anniversary on the road, playing a mix of songs from their very first release to their most recent, last year’s critically-acclaimed Printer’s Devil. Instead, just two weeks after the album’s February 2020 release and mere days before heading out on their first headline tour, the COVID-19 pandemic forced all touring to a halt. Despite not being able to play in-person shows for the past year, Ratboys has managed to stay busy by performing their music online via their own Virtual Tour series and by finding a different way to celebrate their first decade of being a band.
Lots of time at home last year gave Ratboys a chance to hit the studio, which has led to Happy Birthday, Ratboy, a surprise party of a new album featuring 10 brand new recordings of the band’s earliest songs + a newly-written bonus track entitled “Go Outside.”
Although written in 2019, the lyrics of “Go Outside” take on a special sense of relevance and yearning today more than ever. “It’s this carefree and wistful, totally innocent folk song about wanting to travel and spend time with loved ones,” songwriter Julia Steiner says. “We had no idea how much it would mean to us when we wrote it, but hopefully this song will provide a light in someone’s day and help us all wait out this weird ride a little bit longer,” Julia shares.
Released as a surprise on April 1st, 2021, Happy Birthday, Ratboy comes 10 years to the day since the release of the band’s first EP. New recordings of the 5 original RATBOY EP songs make up the A-side of the record, with 5 new versions of rare college-era tracks and the newly-written “Go Outside” on the B-side.
Featuring mainstays from their live show over the years, including “The Stanza” and “Space Blows,” pressed to vinyl for the first time and given the full band treatment, Happy Birthday, Ratboy introduces new Ratboys fans to the band’s beginnings while also raising a toast to those who’ve been there from the start.
Video & Press
Ratboys Have Been Forced Off the Road, but They’re Still on the Rails
[Chicago Reader] The Chicago indie rockers recently released their best album yet, and though they can’t tour, they’re finding ways to stay connected to their fans. By Tim Crisp On February 28, Chicago band Ratboys celebrated the release of their third album, Printer’s Devil, by playing to a sold-out crowd at Lincoln Hall. The next night, they headlined […]
Spongebob Memes and Childhood Artifacts Inspired Ratboys’ Best Album Yet
STREAM THE BAND’S EXCELLENT NEW ALBUM ‘PRINTER’S DEVIL’ AHEAD OF ITS FEBRUARY 28 RELEASE [MTV] By PATRICK HOSKEN In the early 20th century and before, a young “printer’s devil” would help set type and clean the floors in print shops. He learned his trade as all apprentices do, by watching carefully and, eventually, by doing. […]
Ratboys Deliver 2020’s First Great Indie LP With ‘Printer’s Devil’
[Uproxx] By STEVEN HYDEN The RX is Uproxx Music’s stamp of approval for the best albums, songs, and music stories throughout the year. Inclusion in this category is the highest distinction we can bestow, and signals the most important music being released throughout the year. The RX is the music you need, right now. Among the […]
Ratboys Have A Spooky Halloween Adventure In Their ‘I Go Out At Night’ Video
[Uproxx] By Derrick Rossignol Ratboys closed out 2019 by sharing “Alien With A Sleep Mask On,” the lead single from their upcoming album, Painter’s Devil. Now the group has kicked off 2020 with another new song, “I Go Out At Night.” In the video for the soaring rocker, the group (appropriately) goes out a night and […]
Ratboys – ‘Alien With A Sleep Mask On’ Video
[Stereogum] By James Rettig Ratboys have announced that they’re releasing a new album, Printer’s Devil, next year, the follow-up to 2017’s excellent full-length GN and its companion EP GL. It’s the first Ratboys album conceived of and played with a full-time band outside of the project’s principal members Julia Steiner and Dave Sagan, and you can hear that tight-knit […]