Tally Hall’s Admittedly Incomplete Demos and What They Mean

Tally Hall just unloaded dozens of demos and other rarities on us like a sudden hailstorm in the middle of a desert that is our collective heart. In addition to putting up their self-released album of demos known as “Complete Demos” on Bandcamp, they also put up a collection of previously unreleased demos, mainly from the Good & Evil sessions and are calling it “Admittedly Incomplete Demos“.

And it’s all PAY WHAT YOU WANT!  (WHICH SHOULD BE AS MUCH AS YOU CAN!)

Along with demos from most of the songs off Good & Evil, there’s a few demos from the Marvin’s era and a few other random pieces which we’ll get into a little later. [Edit: Yes, the download of this new album includes 29 tracks, despite the amount of tracks that currently show on the Bandcamp page!]

But first, what does this all mean?

We could chalk it up as simply a wonderful Christmas Miracle, which, we should do either way. But I can’t help think this might say other things. I can only speak for myself here, but I wouldn’t feel inclined to unload a ton (all?) of my band’s demos unless I was doing it as an act of solemn resignation. Especially if I’d been holding on to them for a number of years. Especially-especially after the last song on this new collection.

HITS has always remained optimistic in terms of the band regrouping; reinforcing the fact that they’re on hiatus. This evening, however, I find it harder to believe that as much. (Skip to the end if you have no patience.)

In/Complete Demos Cover Art
In/Complete Demos Cover Art

But hey, that’s all speculation. We should definitely enjoy this on a superficial level before looking deeper into it. Speaking of which, let’s take a look at what we’ve got here on this new collection of tunes!  Here are my thoughts and first impressions on what we’ve got here:

  1. Another Minute (Live at the Frieze Basement, December 2002)
    Presumably from one of their first shows before they even had Joe in the band and therefore weren’t even known as Tally Hall yet. Possibly a song carried over from ListedBlack?
  2. Mobile Phone Premonition (Live at the Frieze Basement, December 2002)
    As heard on The Pingry EP.
  3. Welcome to Tally Hall (Acoustic Demo)
    I’ve heard a demo from before Ross joined but this appears to be the original demo before lyrics were written.
  4. Marvin’s SFX – “Bohemian Rhapsody” (Sample)
    I don’t know what to make of this. I’ve heard tell of the band wanting to cover this song, perhaps even rehearsing it, but I don’t know what this little ditty is all about.
  5. Banana Man (Lounge Version)
    I can’t tell if this is simply an early demo of the song or them simply rehearsing an alternate version of the song for live performance. [EDIT: Robin Brown reminds us that this was used very briefly in the Banana Man Sketch within Episode 3 of Tally Hall’s Internet Show and indeed it does sound very much like it could be the same recording!]
  6. Blind Pig Introduction (January 2008)
    Ryan Scott being introduced as the host of a show? Hmm. Ya got me!
  7. Spring and a Storm (Original Demo feat. Ryan Scott)
    There’s a number of things to take away here.  First, the intro to The Bidding came from this.  Secondly, Ryan was partly responsible for the writing/creation of the song! This sounds like Ryan and Joe just riffing around on an idea.
  8. Two Wuv (Alternate Bridges)
    This is great.  So you’ve got this song and you’ve got these movie clips of Mary-Kate Olsen talking and you need to put them together. Which clips do you use?  I woulda gone with the last one on this track.
  9. The Whole World and You (Punk Rehearsal)
    How can you not love this?!  I mean, sound quality aside, this REALLY livens up the song, makes it very different, and it works!  Longtime fan Dwight tells me they played this live at a show, too.  We think it was around Spring or Summer of 2009. 
  10. Just a Friend
    The studio recorded version of the song which was given away as a bonus download to people who bought the Atlantic Records version of Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum in person at a show… or by the HITS Twitter followers who would answer trivia questions.
  11. “Songy Song”
    Sometimes referred to as “Hardly Working” since that’s the video it appeared in. This was written by Rob for some other project which, I guess, was never used.
  12. “Keep Up the Good Work!” Theme
    You know this one.  It’s a play off of the Doogie Howser, MD theme, heard in the Tally Hall video series “Keep Up The Good Work!
  13. Sea Cucumber (Demo)
    Presumably a Zubin demo cut from Good & Evil?
  14. Tally Hall’s Internet Show Theme
    ‘Nuff said.
  15. Spiced Rum Commercial (Demo)
    Ummm, what?!  Yes!  Tally Hall submitted a demo for a Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum theme.  I don’t know what happened after that, but this was their submission. Related fun fact:  Tally Hall was approached to write music for Demetri Martin’s short-lived TV show on Comedy Central called “Important Things with Demetri Martin” but turned it down.
  16. You & Me (Zubin Lead Vocal Rehearsal)
    I make no bones about it.  I prefer Zubin singing this song.  It would have been the first Rob song not sung by Rob, which is perhaps what the producers didn’t like about the idea. If you’ve done enough browsing on YouTube, you’ve already heard him singing it.
  17. Cannibal (Demo)
    Sounds arguably less dark.
  18. Who You Are (Demo)
    Not much changed from this demo to the final version. Pretty solid demo.
  19. Sacred Beast (Demo)
    Another pretty solid demo that’s relatively the same as the final product.
  20. A Lady (Demo)
    See above.
  21. The Trap (Demo)
    Boy, did this song ever evolve!  You probably knew it used to be called The Gap, but I had no idea how much changed before they started even playing it out live. Good thing, too. It blossomed into one of my personal favorite Tally Hall songs.
  22. Turn the Lights Off (Alternate Bridge)
    ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  23. Out in the Twilight (Demo)
    You can hear the magic of this song so clearly.  The brushlight, huh?
  24. Fate of the Stars (Demo)
    It’s like a pencil sketch of a masterpiece.
  25. Light & Night (Demo)
    Tally Hall’s first collaboration with another singer, Nellie McKay, was Light & Night.  It’s an amazing song, but listening to this demo I’m shocked at just how much it bloomed when Nellie got involved.  The melodic and lyrical tweaks are sorely missed on this demo but of course, I’m very happy to have heard this.
  26. “Love Track” (Rehearsal)
    Dude… I have no idea. Pretty groovy, though!
  27. Go (Demo)
    This, along with the following two tracks are presumably more songs cut from the Good & Evil sessions. Very Cantor-esque.
  28. Color Be Gone (Demo)
    Another Zubin song cut from G&E? I’m only saying it’s Zubin’s because he’s singing it.  This might be the most Beatle-y song I’ve heard from any of them!  And that’s saying something!  I hear a strong resemblance to “Here, There, and Everywhere” combined with the harmonies used and even the Jon Brion-esque Chamberlain organ.  In summary: I love it.
  29. The Minstrel Boy
    Here we are. *sigh* So, OK.  First of all, this is not an original song.  This is very old and… um, well, here are some things Wikipedia has to say about it:

    1. “‘The Minstrel Boy’ is an Irish patriotic song written by Thomas Moore (1779–1852) who set it to the melody of The Moreen, an old Irish air. It is widely believed that Moore composed the song in remembrance of a number of his friends, whom he met while studying at Trinity College, Dublin and who had participated in (and were killed during) the Irish Rebellion of 1798.”
    2. The melody is frequently played at funerals of members and/or officers of such organisations who have died or been killed in service, typically on bagpipes”
    3. “It was used as background music in the Ken Burns documentaries Lewis and Clark, The Civil War and Baseball.”

So, I guess you can take from that last song what you will.  Thanks for reading. If I obtain any more information about these songs, I’ll be sure to update the post.  In the meantime, the Tally Hallmanac is open and needs your participating in helping it stay current!

Coz

Webmaster of HITS.
Also known as “Webmaster Jerk”.

8 thoughts on “Tally Hall’s Admittedly Incomplete Demos and What They Mean

  • December 16, 2015 at 2:34 am
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    Granted, I haven’t listened to a single track yet (I’m going to listen to one per day until Christmas!), but you know, Joe’s probably feeling a little angsty. You should probably think of his use of The Minstrel Boy more like ending an album with “Auld Lang Syne”, or the use of “Pomp and Circumstance” at a graduation. If anything, Joe probably just recorded it to signify a death of the old era of Tally Hall, and that’s perfectly reasonable. I think Joe was probably just humbled by the fan-album and wanted to bring this out for us as a little memory box.

    Also, I think you are kind of angsty, too. 😉

    Reply
    • December 16, 2015 at 3:37 am
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      I think that’s a perfectly reasonable theory as well. It certainly feels like the end of something – something more than just this compilation album.

      Reply
  • December 16, 2015 at 4:56 pm
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    A litte something you forgot to mention: the lounge version of Banana Man was used for a very short skit on THIS which has Joe in the original video’s makeup again at a grocery store.

    Reply
    • December 16, 2015 at 5:11 pm
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      Oooh, yes! I remember that now, thanks, I’ve updated the post! Good memory! 🙂

      Reply
  • December 19, 2015 at 4:28 am
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    Day 4– Just listened to the Bohemian Rhapsody sample! I’m pretty sure the name gives it away– my guess is that this was meant to play in the back of one of the MMMM tracks, just like all of Marvin’s little dialogue bits, and I’m guessing it was recorded on some automated music machine IN Marvin’s. Just a guess, though, since I’ve never been to Marvin’s. But it sounds like something that’d be in there. : ) And then at the end, I’m also going to assume they were playing some hammer-related game.

    Reply
  • December 26, 2015 at 1:43 am
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    Just finished listening to everything for Christmas! I’m almost entirely certain “Love Track” was part of the jam session in which they wrote the backing track that goes behind The Pretty One. All the girls in the back sound like they’re the actresses that were part of that scene. Also, maybe this is some vague proof it was part of a larger sketch!

    Reply
  • March 27, 2016 at 1:52 am
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    What happened to the rest of the tracks? It’s only showing 10 on the bandcamp site? Where can I get all of them?

    Reply
    • March 27, 2016 at 1:57 am
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      As stated in the post, 29 tracks are included in the download.

      Reply

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