"Black Earth, WI" (Topshelf Records)

Contact Jaycee Rockhold about Ratboys

Chicago-based band Ratboys return with “Black Earth, WI,” a new single/video out today via Topshelf Records. This is their first new piece of music since 2021’s Happy Birthday, Ratboy and 2020’s beloved Printer’s Devil. Clocking in at eight-and-a-half minutes, “Black Earth, WI” is their most expansive and adventurous track to date. It opens with a country-tinged sound, and as the instrumentation swells, so does Julia Steiner’s voice: “Singin’ hey now // What was that sound // Lighting a match // Just to freak you out // Then on the other side // I saw fifty yellow lines // Pushing up against the window // And with one almighty lightning strike // The Great Lake rose up behind // Said, ‘Baby, you best turn around.’” The self-produced video is made of manipulated, found VHS storm chaser footage.


“We recorded ‘Black Earth, WI’ live off the floor in Seattle last year at the amazing Hall of Justice and it was our first time recording straight to tape,” says vocalist/guitarist Julia Steiner “We had to be conscious of how many takes we could fit onto a reel, but lucky for us, take two was the one.”


Ratboys is made of Julia Steiner (vocals/guitar), Dave Sagan (guitar), Marcus Nuccio (drums), and Sean Neumann (bass). The band will bring their vivacious live show to SXSW later this month. A list of all shows and confirmed showcases can be found below.