Ratboys’ publicist described the duo as a “‘post-country’ meets indie rock group from Chicago.” After listening (many times) to their last full-length, GN (2017, Topshelf), and the follow-up EP, GL (2018, Topshelf) — the titles stand for Good Night and Good Luck — I can’t find much “post-country” about them. But then again, I’ve never considered Wilco, who frontwoman Julia Steiner references as among her influences, to be countrified, post or otherwise.
Instead, Ratboys reminds me ’90s college acts like Belly, Throwing Muses, That Dog, The Breeders and upbeat stuff from Azure Ray and Hop Along. That said, you get plenty of pedal steel on standout EP song “You’ve Changed,” though I prefer the rattle-rock of the EP’s title track and closer, “After School.” Steiner’s warm, soft coo makes it all work no matter what genre label you hang on her music.
Guitarist David Sagan is listed as the duo’s other half, though the band performs live as a four-piece, which we’re likely to see Friday night at O’Leaver’s. We caught up with Steiner and gave her the Ten Questions survey. Here’s what she had to say:
1. What is your favorite album?
Julia Steiner: A Ghost is Born by Wilco.
2. What is your least favorite song?
“Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)” by The Offspring.
3. What do you enjoy most about being in a band?
Playing music with my friends all the time!
4. What do you hate about being in a band?
Trying to tell people what our music sounds like.
5. What is your favorite substance (legal or illegal)?
6. In what city or town do you love to perform?
7. What city or town did you have your worst gig (and why)?
Fort Collins, CO, in 2015, we hadn’t slept and we were all really grouchy
8. Are you able to support yourself through your music? If so, how long did it take to get there; if not, how do you pay your bills?
Not yet, all of us have a variety of side jobs to supplement our income from the band. Dave and I deliver groceries, Sean is a freelance journalist, etc.
9. What one profession other than music would you like to attempt; what one profession would you absolutely hate to do?
My dream job would be some sort of radio sports analyst. I wouldn’t like to work construction.
10. What are the stories you’ve heard about Omaha, Nebraska?
Not many to be honest! I have a couple friends who grew up in Omaha, but they’ve been pretty tight-lipped about any craziness.
Ratboys plays with Uh Oh and Bed Rest Friday, June 14, at O’Leaver’s, 1322 So. Saddle Creek Rd. Showtime is 10 pm., tickets are $10. For more information go to liveatoleaver’s.com.