Categories
Vinyl

Vinyl love: Happy Mondays “Pills ‘n’ thrills and bellyaches”

(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: Happy Mondays
Album Title: Pills ‘n’ thrills and bellyaches
Year released: 1990
Year reissued: 2015
Details: 25th anniversary, reissue, 180 gram, yellow, RSD exclusive

The skinny: A few weeks ago, I shared photos of my translucent yellow, 20th anniversary copy of Coldplay’s debut album, “Parachutes”. For this edition of ‘Vinyl Love’, I decided to keep with the same colour scheme and another anniversary edition, of yet another classic alternative rock album. Picked up on Record Store Day 2015, this Rhino Vinyl reissue of Happy Mondays’ seminal third album wasn’t even on my radar when I ventured into one of my favourite independent shops that day. Indeed, I didn’t even know it was on the list of releases ahead of time but when I saw it on the shelf, the snap decision was made. And it’s one for which I’ve been thankful I’ve made ever since. Not only is the 180 gram slab of yellow vinyl quite pretty and the original album art as confusing and as arresting as ever, but the sound is amazing. “Pills ‘n’ thrills and bellyaches” is one of the greatest examples of what made Madchester so much fun: a swirling conundrum of punk DIY, druggy psychedelics, and dance floor ready beats. “You’re twistin’ my melon, man!”

Standout track: “Step on”

Categories
Randomness Tunes

“Sit down”

“I’ll sing myself to sleep
A song from the darkest hour”

It’s been a few weeks now since I’ve posted to these pages. And this is not like the last time I took a break from posting back in July, when I decided I needed a break and took a planned vacation. No, this break wasn’t planned at all. It just happened. The words weren’t coming so I didn’t force them.

Much like 2020, the year 2021 has been a hard one for me and I’m sure it’s been the same for many of you. It’s not just the pandemic though, there’s a lot of things, just as there always seem to be, but now they are exacerbated by our collective current situation. Thankfully, music has been a blessing through all of this. That’s the truth. And the blogging about music through all of this has also been a gift, but at the same time, it’s also been a hefty weight. And in stepping back from it for the second time this year, I’ve asked myself a number of times if I should continue on or simply pack it in.

“If I hadn’t seen such riches
I could live with being poor”

The answer came to me while spinning vinyl on the eve of my birthday this past weekend and one of my favourite songs by one of my favourite bands came up. Singing along to these words, as I have so many times, I decided that there’s no way I should pack this in. There’s still so much music to write about, and gush over, and over and over, if necessary. But I also decided that I don’t want to continue on in the same way. I don’t want this to be a weight. I don’t want to be posting words just because I feel obliged to do so.

So instead, I am going to post words when it feels right to do so. The posts may come less on a rigid schedule and less frequently, but hopefully, they will be even more worthy of your time and attention. I have a couple pieces in the pipe that should see the light of day soon but in the meantime, let’s have another listen to this great number that topped my list of tunes for 1991.

Yeah, sing it with me…

“Those who feel the breath of sadness
Sit down next to me
Those who find they’re touched by madness
Sit down next to me
Those who find themselves ridiculous
Sit down next to me”

Categories
Tunes

Best tunes of 2002: #1 Doves “There goes the fear”

<< #2

If you’ve been following along, you would note that Dove’s “There goes the fear” marks the third appearance* on this list of my favourite tunes of 2002, all songs from the band’s sophomore album, “The last broadcast”. So yeah, if I ever get around to counting down my favourite albums from that year, I don’t think anyone will be surprised to see this album atop the list. I haven’t been at all secretive of my love for this band and this album. In fact, I have definitely mentioned that the discovery of this very album pulled me out of a rut that I had somehow fallen into with music and it got me back on the road to discovery and exploration.

On an album full of near perfection for me, “There goes the fear” stands out, loud and clear, and is without a doubt, my favourite track by the band. Indeed, when I counted down my top five favourites by Doves just over a year ago, this near seven minutes of heaven came in at number one there too. The track was released as the album’s first single and was deleted on the very same day, a stunt which might have cost the band plenty of sales, but it doesn’t sound like they regret it any. The trio of Jimi Goodwin and the Williams brothers, Andy and Jez, continue to perform this track live with regularity and with the same passion that you would hope would be there when listening to the studio-recorded version at home. Of course, it riffs on the band’s preferred theme of living life bravely and fully, without regrets and fear.

“Think of me when you’re coming down
But don’t look back when leaving town”

It starts like a wound up music box, topsy and turvy, and slightly off kilter, followed by a slow build in speed and thrust. It’s got a racing bass line, and a thumping heart beat, though easy enough through the first verse. Once it hits its chorus, the song erupts in victory, heart-skipping drum beat flourishes, and guitar explosions. Jimi Goodwin croons his way through, being gentle and soothing and urging, letting the music build with excitement and energy.

And you can feel it all: eyes closed, body humming, everything a blur, light trails and lasers, cars racing into the night, fireworks exploding, a million gleeful souls expounding everything, knowing full well they have to live fully in this moment, pure life, anywhere and everywhere.

Amen.

*”Caught by the river” appeared at number seventeen and “Pounding” more recently appeared at number five.

For the rest of the Best tunes of 2002 list, click here.