Album Premiere| Toilet Rats, IV

Minneapolis’ Toilet Rats, a grimy and entertaining synth-punk project conceived and performed by Tommy Ratz, releases IV on all major streaming platforms and Bandcamp on March 3 (and on cassette via Steadfast Records).

Tommy Ratz is allegedly an elusive character who allegedly operates out of a small studio in the sewers beneath Minneapolis, Minnesota where he is surrounded by synthesizers, guitars, and fast-food wrappers. Unable to get internet or television signals in the sewer, Ratz collects discarded VHS tapes, audio cassettes, and discarded brochures, which inform his sense of reality and worldview. As a result, he is regularly expectant of national threats that have long passed, and wildly behind on trends and cultural norms… Because he listens to discarded cassette tapes to satiate his musical cravings, Toilet Rats music influences, and output is an amalgamation of synth-pop, thrash metal, and spaghetti western soundtracks.”

In reality, Tommy Ratz is a pseudonym for Thomas Rehbein, who has played with Minneapolis bands Naive Sense, Farewell Continental, Robosapien, and Small Towns Burn A Little Slower, and others. He has also produced recordings for artists such as Justin Courtney Pierre (of Motion City Soundtrack), Party House, and Zaq Baker, to name a few.

From the rest of the record, one can expect a combination of a variety of musical influences ranging from Jawbreaker, DEVO, Nine Inch Nails, Jawbox, Depeche Mode, Ennio Morricone, Lard, Run DMC, Ramones, Powerplant, and others with lyrics primarily inspired by vintage horror and sci-fi movies to create a succinct rock album that, though well produced, never takes itself too seriously.

“I wanted to make a record that captured what it would sound like if your gothy/punky older sister made you a mixtape in 1987,” Rehbein says. “The songs blend a Juno 106 synthesizer with fuzzed-out guitars, trashy beats, gritty bass lines, and I sing about horror flicks. I hope this delivers a cacophony of pop songs driven into the red.”

Follow Toilet Rats on Instagram here.

Photo by Dena Denny