When we last checked in with Something To Do, the veteran Milwaukee-Madison ska outfit was urging people to stay inside with a quarantine-specific song the band’s members recorded in their own homes. Since releasing that single—called “Stay Inside,” naturally—back in April, the sextuplet became a seven-piece with the addition of trumpet player Jessi Dills. Beyond bringing her into the mix, the band also wrote enough new material for a new album.
Though plenty has changed with Something To Do since early spring, not much is different in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic in Wisconsin. As a result, the band had to take some inventive and ambitious measures to make recording a full-length possible. Something To Do took a socially distant recording approach, starting with drummer Brad Klotz laying down his drum parts alone and strictly from memory at Howl Street Recordings. Using his beats as the framework, guitar and bass parts were tracked from members’ homes. Vocals were also added remotely. Horns were recorded on-site at Howl Street, but the band’s brass section tried to keep as much distance from each other as possible while playing.
“Initially we were all kind of freaking out about recording in a very different way than normal, but, it may have actually made it better, you know?” singer and bassist Nate Tredinnick says. “Generally we’re always trying to fit recording in around show dates and a bunch of commitments, but this time, for maybe the first time ever, we really had a chance to focus up with fewer—at least band-related—distractions.”
The final product of that unconventional recording process is Give Me Attention, an album that’s due to be released November 15. Before the record comes out, the band wanted to get listeners ready for the release (and, yes, hopefully get a few pre-orders since they’ve been unable to finance vinyl pressing through playing shows this time around!) by putting out a new song.
The semi-titular lead single deals with the dichotomy of striving for views and likes online, but being reserved and anti-social in person. The criminally catchy and self-described “ska power ballad” makes a great impression on its own, but is rendered all the more remarkable when taking into account how it was assembled. You can listen to “Give Me Attention (But Also Leave Me Alone)” below.