The Window (Topshelf Records)

Contact Jaycee Rockhold about Ratboys

Today, 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.


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.



    Jun. 28 - Jun. 30
    North Adams, MA
    Solid Sound Festival

    Jul 19, 2024
    Indianapolis, IN
    HI-FI Annex