Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats “Survivor”

Stax Records 2021

Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats unveil a fabulous video for their knockout single, ‘Survivor‘.

The song is the first track to be released from the band’s forthcoming third studio album, ‘The Future.’ The release of the new album will cap off a run of career milestones for Rateliff and the band, including a debut on ‘Saturday Night Live‘, as well as an appearance on ‘CMT Crossroads‘ with country singer/songwriter Margo Price, while Rateliff’s ‘Tiny Desk (Home) Concert‘ has also recently premiered at NPR Music.

The new single, ‘Survivor‘, features the slinkiest of soulful grooves from the rhythm section, some blistering work from the horn section, with the guitars and keys packing their own perfectly weighted punch throughout. It’s all arranged and produced with a precision that never feels formulaic, but just does exactly what’s required to keep powering the song along – nothing more, and nothing less.

Like the rest of the new album, the track was recorded at Rateliff’s own Broken Creek Studio outside of Denver and produced by Bradley Cook (Bon Iver, Kevin Morby, The War on Drugs) working alongside the production team behind Rateliff’s acclaimed 2020 solo album ‘And It’s Still Alright’, Patrick Meese (The Night Sweats), James Barone (Beach House) and Rateliff himself.

The Future‘, saw The Night Sweats joining Rateliff at his new Colorado studio to write an album’s worth of songs, shedding light on their unique observations and with the songwriting reflecting on these strange and challenging current times. “I look at the album overall as a big question,” notes Rateliff. “When I was writing the record we were in the middle of a pandemic and our future looked pretty bleak. I just continue to try to write from a place of hope. Then my own neurosis, and maybe being a Libra gets in the way, and I can’t make up my mind. There is this constant back and forth battle in me personally and I am sure that comes out in my writing.

It’s a very different battle that features in this cracking promo, directed by Rateliff”s friend and longtime collaborator, Brantley Gutierrez. It’s a glorious pastiche of all your favourite boxing movies, but with more than a passing nod to the Rocky films and Raging Bull. Gutierrez casts Rateliff in the lead role as the unlikely – very unlikely – aspiring champion boxer. He also cleverly utilises the rest of the band in various comic roles. The boxing scenes are sharp and funny but Gutierrez also shoots some live footage of the band playing in the ring and there’s a fabulous energy and fun in these shots that really convincingly captures a true band spirit between these talented musicians.

So once more, Rateliff knocks it out the park… or should that be ring?

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