Music Reviews: Tally Hall, The Kingdom

Every month(ish), we recommend the most seriously awesome albums and tracks we had on repeat.

Tally Hall

Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum

Music: Tally Hall combines compositional complexity with an easy sense of humor. And the results are ridiculously good (so much so that even music-hip The O.C. came knocking). Check out first the foot-stomping single “Good Day”—a little bit Flaming Lips and Queen, a little bit Zappa and Wings, and a whole lot of early Barenaked Ladies. And with lyric gems like “we are only six inches from becoming one,” who can resist? Coolest of all, the bandmembers come conveniently outfitted in color-coded ties. 

Drumming: Ross Federman (the silver-tied Tally) slams up a complementary 2 and 4 that actually sounds clever, and when he does stretch out—like with the fast hi-hat pattern on “Taken for a Ride” or the brush beat on “Be Born”—he never loses the group’s quirky groove. Excellent stuff.

The Straight Poop: If there’s room for a second drummer, the gig goes to me. I’d love to be a Tally whacker. 

The Kingdom


Music: There’s apparently some sort of story arc happening here (a race or a journey to or from something), but frankly I don’t care. I simply love the sound of Charles Westmoreland’s voice—beautiful and broken and painful, caressing and smacking each song (all about two minutes long) into rebellious submission. Kingdom, you see, is a bit of a miracle, almost as if Guided by Voices’ songsmith Robert Pollard spent an afternoon in the studio with the Sex Pistols, and somebody was smart enough to press the record button. 

Drumming: No, this isn’t a disc that will satisfy your demon double bass urges (don’t feel bad, though, because we all have them). Instead, Jeff Zimmerman gives a sermon on setting up a cheap, poorly tuned set of skins and getting all loud and brash and bashy. But in the good way. 

The Straight Poop: A whole 25 minutes of musical bliss. That’s about 24 minutes more than usual.

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