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Formerly known as Cherry, New York’s rock-meets-electronica duo Ratatat feature multi-instrumentalist/programmer Evan Mast and guitarist Mike Stroud. Mast was also the brains behind the pretty laptop pop of E*vax, and with his brother E*Rock he ran the indie electronic label Audio Dregs. Stroud also played, in the studio and on tour, with artists including Ben Kweller and Dashboard Confessional. Between these duties (and Mast’s job as a graphic designer), the duo found time to work on their collaboration. In his bedroom studio, Mast worked on beats and song ideas that he gave to Stroud to develop while the guitarist was on the road. Though Mast and Stroud began working together in 2001, things really began to come together for the pair in 2003: in May, while they were still called Cherry, they played their first gig; by September they changed their name to Ratatat; and that November they issued their first single, which had a limited run of 1,100 copies, on Audio Dregs. Dates with Franz Ferdinand, Interpol, and Battles followed, and Ratatat signed to XL Records. The duo’s self-titled debut album arrived in spring 2004, coinciding with another round of dates with bands including !!!, Electrelane, and Tortoise. Classics appeared in 2006, followed by a self-released remix album. Ratatat then took a different approach to their third full-length effort, emphasizing live percussion and keyboards while toning down their familiar mix of programmed beats and guitars. Recorded in several short weeks, LP3 was released in July 2008, followed by the more experimental LP4, released just shy of two years later in 2010. After four years spent recording in a variety of places, including Jamaica, upstate New York, and their Brooklyn home studio, the band resurfaced in 2015, playing the Coachella and Governor’s Ball music festivals and releasing the “Cream on Chrome” single in April. Their fifth album, Magnifique, featuring a cover of the 1971 Springwater song “I Will Return,” was issued in July of that year. ~ Heather Phares