The Grateful Dead have an unparalleled gift for creating full-fledged pop culture events out of thin air, and it’s a gift they’ve demonstrated more than once this year. You may recall how the band had fans reaching into their wallets and preordering a live album documenting concerts that hadn’t even taken place yet (we’re referring, of course, to the audio document of the “Fare Thee Well” shows), and that’s certainly impressive enough in and of itself. To really get an idea of the definition of Dead-ication, though, consider that the announcement about the impending release of 30 TRIPS AROUND THE SUN, a limited-edition 80-disc box set of 30 previously-unreleased live shows – that’s one for each year between 1965 and 1995 – with a price tag of $699.98 - resulted in the set selling out before it’s even scheduled to ship.
This week brings a pair of reissues on 180-gram vinyl which can't really said to be cut from the same musical cloth, but they'd still both likely appear on most anyone's lists of albums that best defined the sound of 1990.
Happy Mondays, Pills 'n' Thrills and Bellyaches: In the late '80s and early '90s, if you were an Anglophile whose tastes in music were defined predominantly by what bands were on the cover of New Musical Express, then you could hardly have avoided Happy Mondays, whose grooves were all the rage at the time. Pills 'n' Thrills and Bellyaches was neither their first album nor their last, but it remains the closest thing to a masterwork in the band's back catalog, and while it may be best recalled for its singles - their cover of John Kongos' “Step On” and their original composition “Kinky Afro” - it's a strong album through and through, hence its appearance on Q's list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever.
So many roads, I tell you
New York to San Francisco
So many roads I know