Vinyl love: Tallies “Tallies”

(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.)

Artist: Tallies
Album Title: Tallies
Year released: 2019
Details: Canadian version, limited to 300 copies, ultra clear with light blue swirl

The skinny: In case you missed it, over the last two weekends, I have been re-counting down my top five albums from 2019, as well as featuring the vinyl packaging of each in this space. Two weeks ago, I posted my number five album, Orville Peck’s debut album “Pony”, and last week, I shared some snaps of “This is not a safe place” by Ride, which hit number four on my year end list. This week’s vinyl love is my number three album from 2019, the self-titled, debut album by new Canadian indie pop quartet, Tallies. As I mentioned back in December: “…”Tallies” is another good reason why we should still be excited about the indie music being made here in Canada. [They] have been described as shoegaze but I would place them more as dream pop, and yes, there is a difference. There’s plenty of jangle and twinkle and rays of sunshine, and man, is it easy on the ears!” The version of the album I purchased is one that’s only available in Canada, limited to 300 pieces, and the disc is ultra clear, save for a baby blue blotch in the middle. And yeah, the pastel motif definitely matches the sprightliness of their sound.

Standout track: “Trouble”

Vinyl love: The Lowest of the Low “Shakepeare my butt”

(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.)

Artist: The Lowest of the Low
Album Title: Shakespeare my butt
Year released: 1991
Year reissued: 2010
Details: Gatefold, double LP

The skinny: Yesterday marked Canada’s 152nd birthday but I kept things low-key around here. In the past, I have acknowledged the day with special Canada-themed posts. And I had thought about posting about this, one of my favourite ever albums by a Canadian artist, yesterday, but I was a bit busy fiddling with my new charcoal BBQ, so instead you’re getting it today, on the morning of my country’s collective hangover. The Lowest of the Low’s folk-rock heavy debut album, “Shakespeare my butt”, for a short time held the sales record for an independent release in Canada (being beaten a few months later by Barenaked Ladies’ yellow tape). It is considered by many, including myself, to be their best, two of its songs appeared on my Best tunes of 1991 (at numbers eleven and five) list but there could’ve easily been more. It is a desert island album for me, which is why the moment I saw this vinyl reissue in one of my locals, I grabbed it up. And wouldn’t you know, it might just be the the album I have spun the most in my collection since its purchase.

(Oh and happy belated to all those out there still partying, I know some of you are.)

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

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.