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Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats perform in The Current studio

Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats.
Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats.MPR photo/Nate Ryan
  Play Now [17:22]
Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats - Look It Here (Live on 89.3 The Current)
by MPR
Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats - I've Been Failing (Live on 89.3 The Current)
by MPR
Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats - S.O.B. (Live on 89.3 The Current)
by MPR

Nathaniel Rateliff makes it clear the band's name is not a reference to menopause. "It's actually a reference to when you have alcohol withdrawal, you have night sweats," he explains, "or heart attack symptoms, too."

Whiplash may be a symptom Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats are actually experiencing, given they've been catapulted into a national and global spotlight on the appeal of their hit single, "S.O.B.", particularly after it made waves during the band's appearance on NBC's The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon. As evidence of the their appeal, Rateliff and the band came to St. Paul, Minn., to play a sold-out show at the Turf Club, but not before they stopped at The Current for an in-studio session hosted by Mark Wheat.

In the face of the meteoric rise, the affable Rateliff finds it easy to choose a highlight. "The highlight is that we're all getting along and having a good time," he says.

The band's self-titled album is out on the Stax Records label, a choice Rateliff says just seemed a natural fit. "We worked [with Stax] through Concord, and when I first heard it was even a possibility, I thought, 'Why aren't we doing this?' Because that seems like that would make a lot of sense. It makes a lot of sense to me."

Releasing the album on the Stax label also reflects Rateliff's own life experience. "For me, the music we're playing on this record we made, I was drawing on a lot of that from my childhood and teens and 20s," he says, "and I wanted to make something that was sweaty and hard-working and kind of a mix of Sam & Dave and The Band."

Although "S.O.B." has been widely embraced, it was not a song Rateliff expected to be a hit. "I was surprised that people played it, really," he says. "It was actually the last song we recorded in the studio because we were like, (meekly) 'It's OK, but there's better ones.' We worked really hard in the studio from what its original form was to try to make it into something we thought was cooler."

And Rateliff acknowledges the choice The Current made to limit its play to the evening and nighttime hours. "I know there's been some controversy," Rateliff says. "In the context of how we're using the word, I definitely don't want it to come across as derogatory towards women. I don't want to seem like a bigot or a womanizer."

Listen to the complete session and studio tracks by clicking the audio player above.

Songs Performed

"Look It Here"
"I've Been Failing"
All songs from Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats' self-titled album, available on Stax Records. It's also our Album of the Week for Oct. 26 to Nov. 1, 2015.

Hosted by Mark Wheat
Produced by Derrick Stevens
Engineered by Corey Schreppel, Michael Osborne and Dan Mariska
Web feature by Luke Taylor