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7PM – Doors
8PM – Show
Ratboys have been recording and releasing music for over a decade, but their newest album, The Window, marks the first time they’d ever traveled outside their home base of Chicago to make a record, journeying to the Hall of Justice Recording Studio in Seattle to work with producer Chris Walla. The sessions with Walla (Death Cab for Cutie, Tegan and Sara, Foxing) struck the perfect balance between preparation and experimentation, injecting new life into the band’s style of soft-hearted Midwestern indie rock with an ever so subtle Americana twist. The solidified Ratboys lineup stretched and expanded their vision in the studio, adding unexpected elements and instruments like rototoms, talkboxes, and fiddles. The result is Ratboys’ most sonically diverse record, shifting wildly from track to track. It flexes everything from fuzzy power pop choruses on “Crossed That Line” and “It’s Alive!” to a warm country twang on “Morning Zoo” to mournful folk on the titular track. 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.
Free Range’s music makes mature confessionals feel as simple as flicking on a light switch when the sun starts to set. Jensen’s delivery is gentle, even when their lyrics are untangling stormy thoughts. It’s a kind of openness and ease heard in Jeff Tweedy’s or Ben Gibbard’s writing, unveiling comfort in dark truths. Here, Jensen discusses memory loss as a consequence of self-destruction rather than lack of attentiveness. “I let you think that it was accidental,” they sing in the first verse. “When I stopped caring about being careful.” Loss of time and events indicate a loss of something much more—a sense of self.