Until now the self-proclaimed “landlocked surf outfit” Shy Boys have barely existed outside of living rooms and smoky basements across Kansas City, MO.
Their self-titled debut, Out Now on High Dive Records, was tracked live to tape by Mike Nolte at Westend Studios in a matter of days. “To make the record bigger than that seemed wrong,” explains the band’s frontman Collin Rausch. “It’s the sound of us standing in a room together and playing, guitar plugged straight into the amp, single-tracked vocals, finishing lyrics on pizza boxes so we can track the next song.”
Shy Boys earnestly began as an outlet to escape from their day jobs or an excuse to ditch class. After returning to school in 2011, Collin quickly enlisted brother Kyle Rausch and roommate Konnor Ervin to critique some rough mixes and demos he’d been working on in his free time. Though musicians in their respective fields, Collin had never played guitar, Konnor wasn’t a drummer, and Kyle had never picked up a bass in his life. The response? Fuck it. From the first song it was contagious, energetic and downright sloppy.
They quickly removed the furniture from their house in the city’s artist-heavy midtown to make way for a practice room and DIY performance space. “We had a house show and were basically too lazy to move any of our stuff back in. The shows ended up being cool because they put us close to the people watching us play, literally face-to-face” Collin explains.
What came together were songs about unattainable girls that evolved into songs about dogs (“Keeps Me on My Toes”) or broken down cars (“Is This Who You Are?”). Perhaps the standout, “Bully Fight,” comes from the news coverage of a school bully, Richard Gale, who became an international asshole when his antics were posted on YouTube.
“We’re all into pop music and vocal groups–quick songs with weird arrangements and choir boy vocals. If a song gets too long we get bored with it. Some things are important to hold on to, everything else isn’t.”