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Ratboys

Biography

Upheaval and change are themes spread throughout the songs on Printer’s Devil, the latest Ratboys LP, out February 28, 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.”

Steiner wrote the record with guitarist Dave Sagan while she was experiencing a dramatic shift in her own foundations, demoing out songs in her Louisville, Kentucky childhood home, which had just been sold and emptied out. “Demoing there was almost too intense,” Steiner says. “I kept writing in my journal that it feels like we shouldn’t be there. I don’t know if that feeling made its way directly into the lyrics, but to me the songs will always be connected to that sense of home and time passing.”

With years of touring under their belts, Steiner and Sagan have welcomed a newly consistent four-piece lineup, after years of shuffling through drummers. The band’s comfortable core — which sees Steiner and Sagan backed by drummer Marcus Nuccio and bassist Sean Neumann — is tangible across Printer’s Devil. What started as an acoustic duo has finally transformed into a full-scale indie-rock band with a clear identity. The rhythm section brings the band not only consistency, but a jolt in line with Steiner and Sagan’s growing sonic aspirations: Printer’s Devil was recorded live at Decade Music Studios in Chicago and was produced by the band and engineer Erik Rasmussen. Big-chorus power pop songs like “Alien with a Sleep Mask On” and “Anj” sound massive and larger than life, while the band’s dynamics beautifully thread together intimate folk songs like “A Vision” and devastating alt-country tracks like “Listening,” showcasing a rare range that invites listeners to imagine the band blowing out a 2,000-cap room or playing quietly next to you in the living room.

Building off their previous albums—AOID (2015) and GN (2017), which feature bright, youthful Americana narratives centered around soft vocal cadences and fluid, melodic lead guitars—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. Through all the change that fueled the record, Ratboys’ latest album Printer’s Devil finds a band that’s truly grown into itself and is just getting started.

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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 […]

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  • 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. […]

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  • 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 […]

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  • 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 […]

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  • 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 […]

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