Crooks & Nannies

August 24, 2023

Crooks & Nannies release Real Life, celebrate with music video for “Big Mouth Bass”

Real Life is one of the most unflinching & affecting full-lengths we’ve ever released. Musically omnivorous. Unafraid to interrogate ideas about death, identity, depression — the album couldn’t bear a more fitting name. The band celebrated the release ealier this week with a music video for “Big Mouth Bass,” directed by Mannequin Pussy’s Marisa Dabice.  

Limited LPs still available on Bandcamp & in indie record shops – on highlighter yellow & ultra clear vinyl and limited edition cassette. Purchase links below.

Crooks & Nannies

July 25, 2023

Crooks & Nannies unveil “Country Bar” single

Crooks & Nannies return today with “Country Bar,” the third pre-release single from their new record Real Life, which arrives August 25th. The new track builds around a frantic acoustic guitar strum, and as Stereogum says “merges a confessional singer-songwriter approach with the trappings of artsy indie rock, veering from straight-ahead guitars to grand detonations to sparse intimacy and back around to a louder, mildly twangy conclusion.”

Of the song, Max Rafter shares:

“I started to write this song during a budding romance. There were so many secret unspoken feelings. It felt exciting, and I wanted more. I could only meet them as far as they were willing to go. I thought that if I put in enough work, things would click into place. I thought if I wanted something hard enough, there was no reason it couldn’t happen. It’s about being blinded by love, zoomed in, and hopeful. Knowing it won’t work but trying so hard anyway.

I’ve always been a person who wants to fix relationships that aren’t working rather than walk away, at times to my own detriment. “Country Bar” hits on those themes, looking with rose colored glasses at a relationship.”

Last month the band announced a run of tour dates around the album’s release. Flyer below, tickets available in our tour section now.

Crooks & Nannies

June 28, 2023

Crooks & Nannies release new single “Weather”

Single number two from the forthcoming Real Life is “Weather,” a Sam song that starts slow before exploding into big fits of chaos and pathos. The dynamic swing is something the band masters with their debut LP, coming in August. The video hints at the story behind the song’s creation, a song written by Huntington during a long bike ride that turned into an even longer walk, and the nights chaos is mirrored in its instrumentation.

She explains: “It was spring of 2020, and despite being the first warm night of the season, the city was eerily empty. After weeks of being cooped up I wanted to see something new and decided to make a rule for myself: If I came across an unfamiliar street I was required to turn down it. Drunk and restless, I biked for hours, until my phone died and I realized I was lost. I was in a non-residential area that I didn’t recognize and it was very late. In Philly many of the major streets are numbered, but I was having difficulty finding one. I seemed to be trapped in a labyrinth of exit ramps, warehouses and negative space. By the time I made it home, I had sweated through my shirt, popped a tire, had a bizarre encounter with a flock of geese, stumbled upon a massive house fire, and written a song. The bike ride felt like some kind of strange upsetting dream and I think deeply informed the tone of Weather. The song is about feeling hollow.”

“The vocals throughout this track are from the original demo. My roommate came home while I was recording them and, feeling self-conscious about the lyrics, I sang the ending section as a whisper. I figured it would be a placeholder but we decided to lean in, emphasizing the fragility in the vocal performance and doing everything in our power to make the instrumental go really fucking hard. There are like 8 layers of guitar feedback. We hit a trash can with a mallet and layered it over the snare. That’s our engineer, Mark Water, screaming. The abrupt ending symbolizes death, perhaps a life cut short.”

In other news, the band just announced a series of dates around the album’s release. Tickets on sale this Friday!


Real Life is available for pre-order now – on highlighter yellow & ultra clear vinyl and limited edition cassette. Purchase links below.

Crooks & Nannies

May 23, 2023

Crooks & Nannies announce Real Life, release lead single “Temper”

It’s rare for things to feel and sound this raw and true. You may have discovered Crooks & Nannies – the West Philly duo of Sam Huntington & Max Rafter — on their early 2023 No Fun EP, a short-player that deserved every plaudit it received. Just last month, Paste proclaimed “what a joy it is to watch a band at the top of their game make such dazzling, singular tracks; how lucky we are that Crooks & Nannies have so, so much left to give.”

Today the band announced exactly what that more-to-give is: a new 10-song record, Real Life.

Alternating between painfully tender and jarringly obtuse, the childhood friends fashion themes of growth, loss, and transformation into off-kilter pop songs that whirr with the unpredictability of a failing engine. In early 2020, just days after Huntington decided to start hormone therapy, her father was diagnosed with terminal cancer. After his passing, she and Rafter retreated to the partially-finished, off-grid cabin that her father had been building prior to his diagnosis. It was the first time either of them had been back to their hometown in upstate NY since transitioning, and it resulted in a distinct contrast between vulnerable, melancholy hush and explosive, confused guitar throughout every fiber of their new record. “Temper” is the first tease, a song that feels like an open wound filled with sugar, a rumination on the difficulties of forgiveness.

You can preorder copies of the album now on limited edition cassette, highlighter yellow vinyl on Bandcamp, or on ultra clear wax anywhere else.

Crooks & Nannies

April 20, 2023

Crooks & Nannies release 3AM

Previously cassette-exclusive track from No Fun, now available at streaming today. Ever wonder what the teeny tiny part of the venn diagram where emo & disco overlap would sound like?

Crooks & Nannies

April 4, 2023

Crooks & Nannies cover Islands In The Stream

File this under things you didn’t know you needed in your life: Crooks and Nannies covering “Islands In The Stream,” the Dolly Parten & Kenny Rogers classic. Available everywhere now.

“To me, Dolly Parton & Kenny Rogers’ “Islands In The Stream” is one of the most iconic duets in human history,” says Crooks’ Madel Rafter. “We wanted to cover this track so Sam and I could mess around and have fun gender-swapping Dolly and Kenny’s parts while highlighting each of our vocal styles. Our pal and occasional bandmate Jacob Blizard produced the song; he and I spent a few days in his bedroom studio trying to make it into a disco version, which we ended up scrapping for this early-aughts pop-song compilation (think Now That’s What I Call Music but quirked up) approach. Solving the puzzle of this cover was a blast.”

Crooks & Nannies

January 13, 2023

Crooks & Nannies release No Fun EP

Today we are thrilled to release No Fun, the new EP from Philly’s Crooks & Nannies. Last year, you heard the spare “control” and fragile yet powerful “Sorry” & the slow-building title-track (embedded above) dropped earlier this week. The cassette version of the EP features three exclusive tracks: “Liquor Store,” “Cantaloupe,” & “3am.” Crooks songs are like an exposed nerve – all tensions, spasms, singalongs and pathos – and those three are no exception. Cassettes available here.

The band will be playing an EP release show in Philly this weekend, alongside Empath & Another Michael. Tickets here.

More soon.

Crooks & Nannies

October 25, 2022

Crooks & Nannies release “Sorry” from upcoming EP

Today Crooks & Nannies are back with “Sorry.”

It’s the second song we’ve released since announcing the signing of the West Philly duo of Madel Rafter and Sam Huntington. Our first came back in September: “control,” a roller coaster ride of emotion from Rafter. “Sorry” veers into slightly different territory. The fragile-yet-dynamic anthem from Huntington, arrives with the announcement of the January 13th EP No Fun.

Of the song, Huntington says, “Sorry is the first and only song I’ve written entirely in one sitting. I recorded a demo immediately afterward, and the final vocal is still the take from that demo. It came to me in 2018, at an incredibly overwhelming and unstable time in my life – I had recently made the decision to stop ignoring the fact that I was transgender but was struggling to grapple with what that meant for me personally, and was feeling a lot of frustration toward myself for not having figured it out. Simultaneously, I found myself single for the first time in years and without the self-understanding to forge structures and supports i had, until that point, found in other people. I was in over my head, looking for strength in the wrong places and having an increasingly difficult time seeing a future for myself.”

No Fun will be available digitally and on limited-edition cassette, featuring three tape-exclusive tracks. You can pre-order one of 200 available copies now over on Bandcamp. While the digital is coming in January, the cassette will arrive in March.



The announcement comes only a few short days after the band wrapped up a run of dates supporting Lucy Dacus. They’ll hit the road again later this winter alongside our very own Rubblebucket at their release show next month in NYC then a handful of dates throughout the north east. All dates in our tour section.

Crooks & Nannies

September 13, 2022

Welcome Crooks & Nannies, the latest members of the Grand Jury family

We came across Crooks & Nannies for the first time earlier this year. The sound we heard was tricky to describe. We found ourselves grasping for reference points that felt incongruous: Tigers Jaw, Big Thief, Amanda Palmer, Andrew Bird, Hop Along. Emotive, theatrical, playful, vulnerable – basically every adjective you could ask for in a new favorite band. All the while, there was a bravery in the songwriting that felt mischievous. Songs started and there was no telling where they’d end up. It’s the kind of musical chemistry that usually only happens when the players are, like this West Philly duo of Madel Rafter and Sam Huntington, friends since childhood. It’s a language all their own.

And today we are honored to say we’re going to have a small part in translating the language for the masses. “control” is our first single with the band – thankfully the first of many, as there’s plenty more to come.

“I wrote “control” in 2017 while struggling with consistent intrusive thoughts,” says Rafter. “I wanted to capture the feeling of walking through an art museum and holding all of your muscles tightly because if you don’t, you might give into some crazy impulse and do something really really bad, like pull a painting off the wall and put your foot through it. The lyrics talk about wearing a mask for the world to conceal internal negative thoughts, and worrying about being ‘bad to the bone’ and ugly inside. On the facade, the song feels humorous, but I often use humor as a way to soften the blow of darker sentiments. Sonically, we took an approach that feels almost sing-songy at the top, but gets progressively more chaotic, fast, and emotionally blown out as the song progresses.”

Later this month the band embarks on a tour with Lucy Dacus. It kicks off in their hometown of Philly at Franklin Music Hall, a venue that’s more than 10x the size of their last hometown show at PhilaMOCA. But something tells us big audiences and big rooms aren’t going to pose much of a problem for Crooks.

Dates below. More soon.