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Printer's Devil

by Ratboys

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I don’t know about me Take my life, and put it on a pedestal I don’t get beamed down this way usually But, it’s time for a change of scenery I’m an alien with a sleep mask on And I don’t know where I went wrong The front door slammed next to me Woke me up in my cryogenic chamber I said, ‘Where are we again? No idea? Well, that’s quite alright, I must be dreaming’ I’m an alien with a sleep mask on And I’m sleeping with both eyes closed I’ll probe you when I wake up I’m an alien with a sleep mask on I come from the outside The outside looking in But, I’m so inside my head Yeah, it’s beautiful from the outside But I’m always looking in
Look To 04:00
When I was a little tyke Bombing hills in the summertime I felt the sun I had your face memorized Looking up and kissing you goodnight From the comfort of my room But, I don’t wanna choose I just don’t know who to look to Pick apart both our lives It’s hard to know you’ll need me soon like I Like I used to need you Looking over eye to eye You tearfully tell me not to cry I’m right here beside you But I don’t wanna choose I just don’t know who to look to
Oh, my hands grow All the way to the sky White clouds arrive When the wind blows past us over the light I know that it’s hard to cry sometimes While no one watches, shake your head and wonder why I can’t tell you how I tried Oh, to love what I can’t describe Yeah, I’ll watch you by and by While we hang by the riverside It’s night and day, how it feels when we stay Outside, driving down the roads that snake all across the county line Know that what you see Is just life in a vivid dream The tall grass, it hides whole civilizations bugs design I know that it’s hard to feel my love Just trust that all we’ve learned tonight is real
A Vision 03:52
I had a vision of a dying blade of grass Woke up in an instant to find it had come to pass I stared up at the ceiling fan until the sun came back With closed eyes in the distance I woke up in an instant, and I hit the gravel road Walked around the backyard where I shook down all my foes I passed right through the mess of a spiderweb like some infernal ghost Then drove off for some breakfast The rain had stopped ‘round 10 o’clock while we wound our way home And on the side of the road, saw Hannah There was a possum lying face up in the road All of the water in the air had somehow turned to gold As the hot and soft pavement rocked him slowly in the mist We drove by in an instant Terrified and staring I slammed my foot on the gas And swerved right by in an instant
Anj 03:24
The day we met I had a brand new heartbeat, twisting Its way through my chest Humming like a silhouette in the dark You sat in a chair And held my tiny body, rocking And it’s hard to send My aching mind back after what came and went I’m not alone The day my parents moved You took me over to Indiana We went to the mall I rode a paper airplane inside The motion simulator Breaking my back, a fiery death And when we got out You held me close, I was shaking, I know it I’m not alone You were never broken up Or less than whole, you’re powerful But, I’m not the one to tell you this I know, you’ve told yourself I’ll do what I can To make this all go away faster But, you are the one Who tells me not to call you when I try to say You’re not alone I’m not alone
I just had a thought ‘What if I never came home?’ I’d go and get a job Uninstalling ‘90s payphones I like the sunrise But, I just want to feel alright And, sometimes when I’m alone I go out at night Pick apart my brain Put it back into my head Should I write it down Hastily or let it rest? I’d like to know what Nothing and everything feels like And, sometimes when I’m afraid I turn on the light I am waking up in the light The sun that breaks through the sky Photographs fill my mind I’m sleeping here for the last time
There was a Victorian Slum House On the corner, by the Tesco parking lot Eyes wide with fascination As the dump trucks unloaded three tons of mud For the show, looking back now, where did it go? They held a casting call for volunteers Which one will be the first to cry? Locked in 20 people, then half a dozen camera crews, they filmed at night Watched ‘em stir, waking up to get to work But, they’re running so far behind All the time Key light from the corner When the family comes to pay their weekly rent Watch it back, we got the take Now break the set But, it’s hard to control the lines With hands shaking by design Cross your heart, we promise you’ll be fine Until next time
Clever Hans 05:30
I was born into a circle Widening with every single breath we take Making all our big mistakes together We were thick as thieves in the getaway So, I was torn up When you said, ‘Enough is enough’ Waking up outside, I felt the morning Light subside, as I wandered toward the hay It’s funny how I gain this new importance When you watch me watch the lines move on your face So, I prayed That you would stay Kicking up some blossoms in a field now I remember the crowds as they came And, there’s something more to see on the horizon A ball of fire, falling slowly from the day But, you’ve gone away
Listening 03:25
How do I find? There’s something outside I’m listening Through the wall Maybe I’ll find Something that’s right I’m listening Through the wall If I go home Pockets full of something, I don’t know If I go home Maybe you’re right Everybody’s tired Not listening Looking toward the sky For something bonafide I’m listening For it all But, how you could Baby, I was somewhere far If I go, could you write me? But, you’re gone That’s right Everyone looks different at night You’re gone It’s true Making sure you don’t know what to do It’s something you can’t explain Something just has to go away I don’t know
The fire in your eyes is open I was hoping for something The fire in your eyes is open A quiet light Open up your life frozen Dig where you lie A frozen meadow In the dead of the night Printer’s Devil Moves the type A killer letter That’s dead inside Printer’s Devil Put down the line God is silent Make up your mind God is silence A voice inside Put down the line


Upheaval and change are themes spread throughout the songs on Printer’s Devil, the latest Ratboys LP, out February 28, 2020 via Topshelf Records. But all the while, singer-songwriter Julia Steiner embraces moments of uncertainty as a necessary part of growing. Steiner recalls a David Byrne lyric, “I’m lost, but I’m not afraid” as inspiration for the transformative outlook, considering the line a personal mantra while writing Ratboys’ third full-length record. “There’s definitely a lot of uncertainty about what’s next, but I like to think that, in the midst of creating a lot of vulnerability for ourselves, we’re confident and becoming more self-assured.”

Steiner wrote the record with guitarist Dave Sagan while she was experiencing a dramatic shift in her own foundations, demoing out songs in her Louisville, Kentucky childhood home, which had just been sold and emptied out. “Demoing there was almost too intense,” Steiner says. “I kept writing in my journal that it feels like we shouldn’t be there. I don’t know if that feeling made its way directly into the lyrics, but to me the songs will always be connected to that sense of home and time passing.”

With years of touring under their belts, Steiner and Sagan have welcomed a newly consistent four-piece lineup, after years of shuffling through drummers. The band’s comfortable core -- which sees Steiner and Sagan backed by drummer Marcus Nuccio and bassist Sean Neumann -- is tangible across Printer’s Devil. What started as an acoustic duo has finally transformed into a full-scale indie-rock band with a clear identity. The rhythm section brings the band not only consistency, but a jolt in line with Steiner and Sagan’s growing sonic aspirations: Printer’s Devil was recorded live at Decade Music Studios in Chicago and was produced by the band and engineer Erik Rasmussen. Big-chorus power pop songs like “Alien with a Sleep Mask On” and “Anj” sound massive and larger than life, while the band’s dynamics beautifully thread together intimate folk songs like “A Vision” and devastating alt-country tracks like “Listening,” showcasing a rare range that invites listeners to imagine the band blowing out a 2,000-cap room or playing quietly next to you in the living room.

Building off their previous albums—AOID (2015) and GN (2017), which feature bright, youthful Americana narratives centered around soft vocal cadences and fluid, melodic lead guitars—Ratboys captures the bombastic, electrified fun of their live show in a bottle on Printer’s Devil and showcases their growing chemistry as a tight-knit group. Through all the change that fueled the record, Ratboys’ latest album Printer’s Devil finds a band that’s truly grown into itself and is just getting started.

(words by Tim Crisp // edited by Sean Neumann)


released February 28, 2020

Recorded and Mixed by Erik Rasmussen at Decade Music Studio
Produced by Ratboys and Erik Rasmussen
Mastered by Alan Douches at West Westside

Guitar, vocals, lyrics - Julia Steiner
Guitar, bass (Tracks 3, 8, 9) - Dave Sagan
Bass - Sean Neumann
Drums, synths - Marcus Nuccio
Drums (Tracks 3, 4, 8, 10), Vibes - Ian Paine-Jesam

Photographs by Johnny Fabrizio
Layout by Dave Sagan


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