Tally Hall
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Tally Hall

Band Rock


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Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum (Atlantic Records, 2008)



We'll be glowing in the dark, lighting up the park
Revealing that the Hall is the place that aims to please
With unpredictable games and antiquities
They’re collectibles so delectable
The unreliable style's undetectable
—"Welcome to Tally Hall"

Rob Cantor (Yellow Tie – Vocals/Guitar)
Ross Federman (Silver Tie – Percussion)
Joe Hawley (Red Tie – Vocals/Guitar)
Andrew Horowitz (Green Tie – Vocals/Keyboards)
Zubin Sedghi (Blue Tie – Vocals/Bass)

In a Detroit suburb, tucked between a pizzeria and a Walgreen’s, lies an arcade jam-packed with one-of-a-kind oddities. Rife with dark nooks and impossible angles, the space is plastered with vintage circus banners, hanging model airplanes, and handcrafted coin-op machines. A 19th-century electric chair rests beside a life-size Cardiff Giant, which is around the corner from an antique nickelodeon whose hand-painted sign promises glimpses of the forbidden. It is from this bizarre wonderland that Tally Hall draws the inspiration for their debut album, “MARVIN’S MARVELOUS MECHANICAL MUSEUM.”
Named after the long-closed strip mall that once housed this museum, Tally Hall formed in 2002 at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. During college, the band "felt like a hobby or side project,” says guitarist Rob Cantor. “We figured it was a lark that would be fun for a while, before we had to get serious about the real world.”
But their “lark” bore unexpected traction. With their own brand of grass-roots promotion, Tally Hall developed a fan base, first around Ann Arbor, then throughout the Midwest. Demos began to circulate. Keyboardist Andrew Horowitz’s “Good Day” won the 2004 John Lennon Scholarship Competition. One of guitarist Joe Hawley’s film class projects, a music video for “Banana Man,” became a viral success and served as an early indication that attention was collecting outside of their hometown. As concerts began to sell out, music industry professionals took interest.
Upon graduation, the band decided to continue what they’d started. In spite of hard-earned academic opportunities, their “futures” were postponed indefinitely – Cantor, for one, deferred a full-ride scholarship to the prestigious University of Michigan Medical School.
Soon thereafter, Tally Hall forged a partnership with Quack!Media, a small company in Ann Arbor that produced off-beat Spanish educational videos (Rob and Joe acted in a few). The result was “MARVIN'S MARVELOUS MECHANICAL MUSEUM,” a collection of songs that transcends stylistic parameters and genre conventions. In the same way Marvin’s motley machines form an unexpectedly cohesive collection, riffy rock like "Greener" sits comfortably alongside the spare electro-hip-hop of "Welcome to Tally Hall." The Caribbean flavors of "Banana Man" complement the rootsy Americana feel of "Be Born." "The Bidding" and "The Whole World and You" sound like they're playing hooky from the Great White Way; "Two Wuv" voices a sly – and slightly creepy – attraction to the Olsen twins.
"All five of us have different yet overlapping tastes in music," says drummer Ross Federman. "Having three distinct songwriters allows us to explore a wide variety of musical terrain. Over time, it became apparent that our sound didn’t fit squarely into a single genre. We just let the music speak for itself."
The music is speaking even louder now via Tally Hall's new deal with Atlantic Records. Upon signing, the group settled into New York's Stratosphere Sound Recording Studios with co-producer Chris Shaw for a re-touching of “MARVIN’S MARVELOUS MECHANICAL MUSEUM.” The process was "simultaneously satisfying and mind-numbing," according to bassist Zubin Sedghi. "We've been playing some of these songs since the band started, so it was strange to go back and work on them. But I'm glad we did. We were able to achieve the sonic texture we originally envisioned."
While the wide-ranging songs on “MARVIN’S MARVELOUS MECHANICAL MUSEUM” certainly sell themselves – especially in their newly re-recorded form – Tally Hall saw the album's re-release as an opportunity to expand their creativity further. The result: “TALLY HALL’S INTERNET SHOW.” The show – written, directed, and edited by the band – is described by Hawley as "a vaudevillian variety show with Attention Deficit Disorder." It consists of ten episodes that range from tightly scripted narratives to music videos to surrealistic experimentation. “It’s a show about everything,” says Hawley.
A newly revised album and an Internet show – not to mention live concert tours -- would be enough for most bands. But Tally Hall is less a band than an idea. The quintet considers all this just a first salvo in what it plans to be a long and inventive career. Tally Hall’s secret ultimate goal, apparently, is to open an amusement park whose attractions will run the gamut from a traditional carousel to an actual moon voyage.
"The word 'no' isn't in our vocabular