While we were finishing up the mixing of Sunburned Skeptics I signed up to participate in an art project called The Sketchbook Project. I learned about it via my friend Kari and decided that it would be a great challenge. Basically the idea is that these lovely people send you a sketchbook, you fill it up with drawings and whatnot and then send it back. They use all of their organizational skills and send all of the sketchbooks out on tour to various galleries throughout the U.S.
When I signed up for this, I assumed “no big whoop” and now that the deadline of January 15th is approaching I’m finding that it might be a bigger whoop then I originally thought. My theme is “boys and girls” and I’ve only just begun… 80 or so drawings to go but the covers are done!
Bob and I have begun work on new animal or vegetable recordings. It looks as though this one is shaping up to be our first real long player as we have about 10-13 songs started. The other night I had exhausted all possibilities of adding layers of ridiculous falsetto vocals to one of the new tunes and was about to call it a day until I decided to work on something else entirely. That something turned into a cover of Yo La Tengo’s The Hour Grows Late from my favorite Yo La album, Electr-O-Pura. I’m not usually one to record or play covers so I’m not promising anything ground breaking here, probably more like ground mushing.
It’s yrs if you want it…
With the help of some recent amp and mic purchasing, Tom and I were able to practice for the first time ever in my basement this evening. Only after we made and ate a killer meal of pasta and eggplant parmesan with Connie. Speaking of Connie, I played in the super group version of Coney Island yesterday at the High Noon Saloon benefiting Madison’s Girls Rock Camp! It was quite awesome! Tom posted tons of photos and wrote about it over at his blog here.
Yep, so Tom and I went electric in the basement and it felt pretty darn good. We still kept it pretty chill and for some reason played half of an older album, Sing Like Buildings… best version of tunnel ever? Possibly.
Sometimes just getting to plug in, turn off yr brain and play for an hour is the best feeling in the world.
photo cred: Tom
i was searching through some old files the other day and came across my original lyrical ideas for the song georgia.
ahhh georgia they’re taken yr eyes away from ya
(but) luckily you already told me
you’ve seen all you need to see
i smell of coffee and you of a bed roses
they never could take it away
yeah they could never take it away
i drove down just to see ya
before it all fades away
before it all fades away
she talks of pittsburg
although i’ve never been to pittsburg
but then you remind me
there’s the pittsburg in kansas
and i say not that pittsburg
and we carry on into the night
shooting bullets into the sky
breaking out of the night
breaking out of the night
tonight i dug even deeper into that old hard drive and came across my original demo for the song as well…
2 days sore throat/coughs
one day fever
followed by one day nose drains
oh the headaches…
cans of no chkn noodle soup,
cheddar, mozzarella and garlic sandwiches.
ginger root tea, orange juice, water, tylenol and lots of sleep.
episodes of parks and recreation, arrested development,
and 16 and pregnant play on loop in the background.
blew through boxes of tissues, onto toilet paper.
half a roll down, half a roll to go.
I was bored a couple of weeks ago and made this terrible video. enjoy.
This Friday began with a group of us kids meeting up for sushi and a movie. We went to see Social Networking, which I had suggested based on the silly fact that it is a movie about facebook. Then I kept seeing that it was getting remarkably amazing reviews and I have to admit I was intrigued as to why. I wouldn’t say that I was let down (because I didn’t really have high expectations) but I don’t think it was the film of the year or anything, that is certain. Jesse Eisenberg however was quite stellar, as usual.
After the movie we headed to mickey’s so that Wes and I could fawn over Control. They were fantastic and are becoming one of my favorite Wisconsin bands, for sure.
Saturday evening we hosted a lovely evening of tunes and friends.
peeps check out other peeps:
leonard the comet
My good friend John Wesley Loris posted a new song today over at his blog.
Do yrself a favor and download it immediately.
Wes was also kind enough to make a video for one of the songs on the new album.
It’s pretty magnificently killer.
there are three places to pick up your very own copy of Sunburned Skeptics (available on compact disc and cassette).
1. Shows! This is one of the easiest ways to find the new disc… fo’ sho.
2. Online! As I said in the last post, you can head over to the bandcamp site and pick it up there.
3. Mad City Music Exchange! That’s right, Mad City is now stocking Sunburned Skeptics in both CD and cassette formats. Check the local section for the CD and look in the front case for the cassette as Dave was nice enough to stock it front and center! While yr there, take a look around as they have tons of great artifacts for sale.
Yeah so, the album is available on compact disc and cassette via the bandcamp site for now. The CD comes in an exquisite full color digipak case. An eight page photo book with photos by myself, Tom and Connie is included. Also, the first fifty copies sold receive a new linocut print entitled “a sunburned skeptic.” The cassettes are truly one of a kind in their own right, they differ slightly from the CDs in that the songs fade in and out of each other. Each tape comes packaged in a plastic case with a black and white linocut cover and typewriter liner notes.
Thank you again to everyone for coming out/writing/blogging/talking/emailing about and making this album oh so extra special! We hope that you are enjoying the tunes and we hope to keep making more and more for decades to come…
SO, anybody going to see Obama tomorrow??
A couple more press items made the rounds today. Both articles are from papers that circulate primarily at the UW. Go here to read a terrific write up not only about el-tin fun but also about my good friends Meteorade and Nathan’s Leonard the Comet. The Badger Herald also has a nice article up about the recording of Skeptics, read it here. Funny thing, that doesn’t look like el-tin fun in the photo the posted. That’s show business.
Madison area writer Jessica Steinhoff wrote a lovely article for the daily page about our video for Cactus Flower and the Willameans.
Jessica Steinhoff on Thursday 09/23/2010 11:00 am
YouTube is famous for making temporary stars out of regular folks with a clever idea or a yen for the spotlight. But people aren’t the only ones to achieve minor celebrity in viral videos. Out of all of the creatures in the animal kingdom, cats seem to be the most Internet-savvy when it comes to fame.
Madison indie-rock project El-Tin Fun taps into the nation’s cat fancy in a video for its brand-new song “Cactus Flower and the Willameans,” a track from the forthcoming album Sunburned Skeptics.
While other musicians might go for a video featuring slick shots of their band onstage or attractive actors enacting a story to a song, El-Tin Fun’s approach to video-making is similar to their music-making: It’s pretty low-tech and very D.I.Y., but the resulting imperfections highlight the quirks and foibles of human behavior. The music has a bit of a ’90s-era Yo La Tengo flavor, but the visuals demonstrate something even more modern, despite their raggedy, retro look.
The video has a Blair Witch Project-style camera shake at the beginning, but if you can endure motion sickness for a few seconds, you’ll begin to understand why the band paired their song with footage of their pets. The cats seem to represent the emotions that most people hide when they’re upset about conflict, especially conflict with a loved one.
As a cat bats a ball around a circular track, trying to free it, it’s hard not to imagine conversations that go round and round with no resolution, or glimpsing a quality in another person but being unable to fully extract it. As the cat hides in a cavern of blankets, he embodies despair, or the desire to run and hide when the going gets tough. And when he sits on a Hammond organ, making a dissonant sound, he seems to represent the anxiety about musical ability that most musicians conceal.
The cat isn’t just a cat; he’s an emissary of candor, a representation of the unexpressed.
Thanks again to Jessica for another wonderful article!
Such lovely sentiments have been rolling in via email, facebook and blogs regarding the new album. Our friends at Mam! had this to say when they uploaded the album onto their website last night…
Madison indie favorite el-tin fun is back again with yet another solid full-length. el-tin fun creates music that falls somewhere between outsider music and everything you’ve ever known. What sets “sunburned skeptics” apart from the rest of el-tin’s oeuvre: this album seems to most accurately capture the band’s current live sound (that’s not to say they don’t embellish here and there). If you’ve never had the chance to check out el-tin fun live, this is the album for you.
Also one of my favorite blogs out there, remember you smiling had all of this to say…
new one from el-tin fun. when i heard the demo version of this release (which jason has up to download on his blog), i thought it was pretty great as is…this final version though (even without the absolutely perfect initial take of sticking with the ocean) is fantastic. the transformation of shake, rest and shake some more into the very unresty (there’s just something about that guitar jangle at the opening and segments of the sweeping end of the song that puts me in mind of imperial f.f.r.r.) cactus flower and the willameans is a perfect example of what i mean, as is the title track, which, fleshed out, goes from being a simple and intimate tune to something reminiscent of a yo la tengo song (the “bop bop bopping along” is all ira). maybe my points of reference are all skewed & maybe i have no idea what influences any of these songs actually hit upon, & maybe, just maybe, all that actually matters here is how good the songs sound (mouth of bees!). probably eh? one thing is for certain though, skulls shaken is an awesome opener, and catchy as hell. that cover on the other hand, totally making me miss summer.
and now a picture of cuteness!