I used to live in Chicago, so I have soft spot for music that connects me to that city, whether by virtue of a band hailing from there or by virtue of their music emoting in a familiar way. Chicago-based foursome Ratboys have both going for them; their track “MCMXIV” dips and swerves with an earnest simplicity, while the accompanying visuals make living in the Chicago suburbs look like heaven–I damn near teared up at the sight of a flat, open meadow.
The subtly pretty song is the second track off their latest record AOID, which is a very solid collection of indie rock gems that make you want to migrate back to where your parents live and turn their garage into an ad-hoc performance space. The video follows the group around various low-foot-traffic locations around the Chicago area, as lead singer Julia Steiner sings, “I’m making my way back home; it was bizarre to say the least because I wasn’t alone.” I like the idea here that perhaps she is accompanied not by a person, but instead a memory, something intangible that effectively alters her perception about a place she at some point considered home. I guess that is the funny thing about nostalgia–it exists in your head only. Though this might cause some anxiety, the breezy guitar hooks allay all worry, and Ratboys, with hearts firmly rooted at home, march forward.
If you are digging the track, be sure to catch Ratboys on tour: