Ryden Larimore, Reporter

Notre Dame has produced a list of great, local bands that has to include Ratboys as one of the most prolific. Their name makes it sound like they belong in a playlist alongside The Misfits or Ramones, but what you’ll hear is some of the most pure indie-folk rock music of this generation. 

Students Julia Steiner and Dave Sagan are credited as having created the band in 2010 while attending Notre Dame. After fronting the band together with only temporary additions for a few years, joining them were Marcus Nuccio on drums and Sean Neumann on bass, with Steiner on guitar and vocals and Sagan on guitar. They are currently based in Chicago, likely recording new music. 

The band only released their first album in 2015 (without Nuccio or Neumann), “AOID,” a great way to introduce a band in the discography world. Listening to the album provides the same feelings you get when listening to a classic Wilco album, the perfect blend of folk and rock with an incredibly unique voice taking the lead. The album received plenty of attention and sparked a national tour. 

Eventually, the team came out with “GN,” one of Rolling Stones “15 Great Albums You Probably Didn’t Hear in 2017.” They tone into their rock sound, with the same feel as The Breeders. The album is full of creativity and a clear intention that a lot of bands aren’t able to find early on. Ratboys simply know what they’re doing. 

“GN” being as successful as it was made their next choices crucial in their career as musicians. But they returned with “Printer’s Devil,” an album that surpasses any expectations it had or still has for the band. Listening to the Printer’s Devil makes you feel like you’re hearing Smashing Pumpkins team up with Thom Yorke, which is awesome. The angsty guitar mixed with a distinct electronica sound is a pairing that just works well. It also brings back their original, acoustic, indie sound, strategically placed within the rock-heavy exterior. This likely inspired them to take a step back from their heavy hitting melodies and overdrive guitar, and to come out with their next, great, folk album.

On April 1st, 2021, the group released “Happy Birthday, Ratboys,” a feel-good collection of softer songs you want to listen to when driving through the woods. Steiner’s voice is still recognizable, in the same way it was from their rock years, now put in its original context of modern folk. The album still includes some rock songs, including a hit called “Space Blows.” The whiplash that Ratboys take their listeners through when you listen to an album all the way through only adds to the enjoyability. Few bands can stay as creative when crossing between genres, which makes their discography that much more impressive. 

Ratboys are not currently on an official tour, but they continue to schedule shows in the general US area.