This Week’s Model — Ratboys, “Black Earth, WI”

Back Earth, Wisconsin is a village located in the western portion of Dane County, around twenty-five miles from the state capital. The 2010 census tallied the population at just a few dozen residents over thirteen hundred. It is the home of the Black Earth Bombers amateur baseball team and a humungous discount shoe store. Of course, there is a bowling alley.

“Black Earth, WI” is the new track from Chicago band Ratboys. It was recorded live to tape at a Seattle music venue. It has a rich indie-rock groove, cryptic lyrics that are magically evocative of youthful drifting (“Singin’ hey now/ What was that sound?/ Lighting a match/ Just to f-freak you out”), and a guitar solo that undulates and stretches out seemingly forever like a Midwestern highway. It is eight and a half minutes long, meaning it can probably be played to accompany the entire drive through the village of Black Earth, and might not be at its final note by the time you make it to Cross Plains. It’s good stuff.

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