Categories
Vinyl

Vinyl love: Lowest of the Low “Hallucigenia”

(Vinyl Love is a series of posts that quite simply lists, describes, and displays the pieces in my growing vinyl collection. You can bet that each record was given a spin during the drafting of each corresponding post.)

Lowest of the Low 'Hallucigenia' on vinyl

Artist: Lowest of the Low
Album Title: Hallucigenia
Year released: 1994
Year reissued: 2018
Details: Black vinyl, 2 x LP, part of five album box set, autographed and limited to 300 copies, (box set includes booklet, lyrics sheets, poster, and stickers)

'Hallucigenia' pronunciation

Box booklet 'Hallucigenia' blurb

Box 'Hallucigenia' stuff

Box lyric sheet reproduction Bit

Box booklet 'Hallucigenia' paraphenalia

Box booklet 'Hallucigenia' lyric sheet

'Hallucigenia' Black Monday lyrics

'Hallucigenia' insert 1

'Hallucigenia' insert 2

'Hallucigenia' inside gatefold

'Hallucigenia' back cover

'Hallucigenia' on the turntable

The skinny: Last weekend, I took the opportunity to do a Vinyl Love revisit of Lowest of the Low’s “Shakespeare my butt…” (my favourite album of 1991) and it also served as an introduction to the next four weeks of Vinyl Love posts. I finally broke down and purchased the “Shakespeare my box” vinyl box set just after Christmas this year using money received as gifts. The box includes the group’s first four records, as well as a bonus disc of rarities and b-sides, not to mention a 24-page full colour booklet and various other goodies. No regrets at all. The only reason I had put it off so long was because I already had the debut and hoped that the other albums would be released individually. “Hallucigenia” was a big part of why I finally bit the “Bullet”*. Interestingly, I was originally disappointed with Lowest of the Low’s sophomore album when it was released in 1994 but I grew to love it over time and many of these tunes became personal favourites in their catalogue. This first ever pressing to vinyl is done over two discs and side four, includes 3 B-sides that weren’t on the original release.

Standout track: “Black Monday”

*The pun was not intended but appreciated after re-reading what I wrote.

Categories
Vinyl

Vinyl love (revisited): Lowest of the Low “Shakespeare my butt…”

(I started my Vinyl Love posts pretty much right after the launch of this blog to share photos of my growing vinyl collection. Over time, the photos have improved and the explanations have grown. And looking back at a handful of the original posts in this series, I found myself wanting to re-do some of them so that the posts are more worthy of those great albums. So that’s what I’ll be doing every once in a while, including today…)

Lowest of the Low 'Shakespeare my butt' on vinyl

Artist: Lowest of the Low
Album Title: Shakespeare my butt…
Year released: 1991
Year reissued: 2018
Details: Black vinyl, 2 x LP, part of a five album box set, autographed and limited to 300 copies (box set includes booklet, lyrics sheets, poster, and stickers)

Box set cover

Box set inside cover autographs

Box set 'Shakespeare my butt' stuff

'Shakespeare my butt' Rosy & grey lyrics sheet

Box set booklet Sneaky's

Box set booklet band story

Box set booklet 'Shakespeare my butt' memorabilia

Box set booklet 'Shakespeare my butt' lyrics page

'Shakespeare my butt' Henry lyrics

'Shakespeare my butt' inside gatefold

'Shakespeare my butt' insert 2

'Shakespeare my butt' insert band members

'Shakespeare my butt' insert 1

'Shakespeare my butt' back cover

'Shakespeare my butt' on the turntable

The skinny: Just two days ago, I wrapped up a countdown of my ten favourite albums of 1991 with this very album landing at the number one spot. I feel that this gives me an opportunity to do one of these Vinyl Love revisits for “Shakespeare my butt…”, something I’ve been looking forward to doing for a while. As I mentioned at the top of this post, I started doing these revisits to do a better job with some of my favourite albums that I did early on but in the case of this one, it’s more because I actually updated the vinyl version I had in my collection. I finally decided to pull the trigger on the “Shakespeare my box” vinyl box set with some money that I received for Christmas but this meant I had an extra copy of the Low’s debut record. I shipped my old one to my younger brother and this here’s my new one, the first album in a five album set (the other four will follow in the coming weeks). And yeah, they really did a great job with this box set. The fact that each one was signed and included stickers and reproductions of handwritten lyric sheets is really just a bonus tacked on to the 24-page booklet, the band’s first four albums, and a bonus disc of rarities.

Standout track: “Henry needs a new pair of shoes”

Categories
Tunes

Best tunes of 1991: #5 The Lowest of the Low “Bleed a little while tonight”

<< #6    |    #4 >>

If and when I get around to counting down my favourite albums of 1991, you know this album’ll definitely be high up on the list. Indeed, “Shakespeare my butt”, The Lowest of the Low’s debut album, is right up there with my favourite albums of all time. Another great track from it appeared just six songs ago at number eleven (“Rosy and grey”) and if this top thirty was a top one hundred instead, I’d say a good deal more of the album would be on here. Already I’m wishing I’d squeezed on one or two more songs from it. It’s criminal that this Toronto indie band never broke it bigger but in a way, it was their own doing.

“Shakespeare my butt” with its folk punk roots, literate and honest lyrics, great guitar hooks, and melodic harmonies won lots of fans and sold lots of copies for an independent release back then. Some of its songs even found their way on to commercial pop radio. Its infamy only grew after they broke up, but mostly in southern Ontario and just across the US border into Buffalo. It’s an album that didn’t reach far but on those it did touch, it left an indelible mark. And if you asked any LOTL fan to name their favourite song, there’s a good chance that they might point to “Bleed a little while tonight”.

Like many of Ron Hawkins’ tunes, it’s a song that ‘shows’ rather than ‘tells’ its story and it’s a story that feels very real and one with which most of us can identify. Here, it’s a love (or perhaps lust) that is unreturned. A universal subject for sure but Hawkins comes by it honestly.

“And I’d forget about you if I could dare but
I just want to make love to you in some dark, rainy street somewhere.”

Its five minutes is a mix of acoustic strumming and careening electric guitars and uneven and crashing drums, the mood rough and passionate and messy, reflecting that of the song’s protagonist. It might almost fall apart if it weren’t held tightly together by the call and response vocals by Stephen Stanley and Hawkins that appear at the bridge and return to close out the song, lines any of us fans can sing along with and drum up all sorts of memories.

“Well, my heart is aching
Damn Damn the circumstance
And my room is spinning
Damn, damn the circumstance
It’s grey without you in it”

Yup. That’s the one.

For the rest of the Best tunes of 1991 list, click here.