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Ratboys announce new single, album and show at the Back Room

 A woman holding an electric guitar smiles while looking upward on stage with lights and another guitar player in the background.
Ratboys / Facebook

A few months ago, Chicago outfit Ratboys musically traveled to the Badger State on their single, “Black Earth, WI.” Today, they announced the real thing as part of a North American tour that’ll bring them to the Back Room at Colectivo on Oct. 7.

At the time of that single’s release — which a slightly unhinged fan called “a pleasant stroll and head-bobbing guitar rocker and fist-pumping singalong and then back to the stroll again” — it was unclear whether it was a standalone or part of a larger project. Now, we know it’s the latter, as the band also announced upcoming LP The Window, due out Aug. 25.

If that’s not enough, Tuesday’s announcements also included a second single from the album, “It’s Alive.” The new track isn’t nearly as beefy as its 8-1/2-minute predecessor and doesn’t shift gears quite as much, opting to just drive forward from the get-go as frontwoman Julia Steiner lays out the scene unfolding on either side of a window — birds dancing, wind blowing, her freaking out.

It’s one of many window-related references on the album (hence the name), which included a lot of firsts for the band: first time recording outside of Chicago, first time writing a full album as a band start to finish, and first time working with producer Chris Walla of Death Cab for Cutie fame, whose unique approach to feedback seemed to resonate with the band. “He would say things like, ‘This cymbal hurts my feelings,’” drummer Marcus Nuccio said in a release, “or ‘This song is like a cat.’”

“It’s Alive” doesn’t feel very cat-like, so he was probably talking about some other track, but you can determine that for yourself by listening to the single below. And if you want to pick up tickets to the Back Room show Oct. 7, you can do that starting this Friday online and at the Pabst/Riverside box offices.