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Wednesday, Jul 17, 2013
Some 25 years ago, Q Lazzarus' sole hit, the hypnotic dance-thump that is "Goodbye Horses", soundtracked a fairly popular Jonathan Demme movie. Amazingly, it wasn't Silence With the Lambs. With an anniversary vinyl release upon us, we dig up even more facts about this glorious pop anomaly ...

It’s hard to believe that over some 25 years ago, Q Lazzarus’ sole hit, the strangely entrancing thump of “Goodbye Horses”, was featured quite prominently in a well-received movie. That movie, of course, was Married to the Mob.


Wait, is that right?


Actually it is. Years before “Goodbye Horses” soundtracked one of the most unique scenes in cinema history during Silence of the Lambs, the song found quite a home in the Michelle Pfeiffer vehicle Married to the Mob. Even these decades down the line, still not much is known about the mysterious chanteuse Q Lazzarus aside from the fact that she worked as a taxi driver prior to being discovered as a singer (she later went on to have minor singing parts in films like Something Wild and Philadelphia, but almost entirely disappeared after that). To celebrate the anniversary of the release, “Goodbye Horses” is being put out on limited-edition vinyl via Mon Amie records, the a-side featuring Q Lazzarus’ original rendition, the b-side being a remarkably astute, considered cover of the song by Wild Beasts’ Hayden Thrope and Jon Hopkins.


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Tuesday, May 14, 2013
On Boogie Down Productions' "My Philosophy", rapper KRS-One was as lyrically poignant as he's ever been, delivering rhymes that are just as relevant today as they back in 1988.

The scene opens up, focusing on a picture frame containing a photo of a young man holding his infant son. Children are joyfully chattering in the background. The camera pans out to reveal those children playing with instruments and curiously manipulating a record, rotating it back and forth. A voice is heard, asking “So, you’re a philosopher?” A question to which the reply, mixed in with a series of scratches, is “Yes.” A VHS cassette is popped into a VCR and the program starts to play. After a brief on-screen countdown, a teacher emerges from a diagonally-parked Jeep and begins to speak.


The man in the picture frame is Scott La Rock, the program is “My Philosophy”, and the teacher is rapper KRS-One.


“My Philosophy” was a Stanley Turrentine-sampling single released from Boogie Down Productions’ sophomore album, By All Means Necessary. It was their first album following the violent death of Scott La Rock, who was shot in the neck and behind the ear during the summer of 1987 in the aftermath of trying to diffuse a volatile situation that involved D-Nice. Determined to keep moving forward, KRS-One soldiered on his own and eventually secured a deal with Jive/RCA Records after a first deal with Warner was revoked when Scott was killed.


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Tuesday, Jan 15, 2013
The Zombies had arrived at Abbey Road Studios in June of 1967. Fortunately, the Beatles had left some things behind.

When British pop act the Zombies arrived at Abbey Road Studios in June of 1967, the Beatles had just finished wrapping up the sessions for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. By April 21st, the Beatles had logged hundreds of hours for their ambitious eighth studio record, although the sessions for Sgt. Pepper’s included dates that yielded non-LP tracks like “Only a Northern Song” and more. When those reportedly agonizing sessions of tape splicing and manual scissor edits adjourned, the Beatles left a number of instruments behind. Among them was a Mellotron, an early 1960s era keyboard that offered sample playback via magnetic audio tape. That summer, the Zombies were eager to incorporate Mellotron sounds in the recording of their sophomore album Odessey & Oracle, a polished, classically-influenced cornerstone of English psychedelic pop. The band split before Odessey saw release, much less before its single “Time of the Season” garnered number-one chart status in 1969.


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Tuesday, Jan 8, 2013
Permanent Waves is, on multiple levels, an unblinking stride toward the future, while it effectively shuts the door on the ‘70s.

How unbelievably appropriate is it that Rush’s Permanent Waves was released on January 1, 1980? In virtually every regard, this album ended the ‘70s (literally) and foreshadowed the fertile grounds (reggae, pop elements, concise arrangements) the Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, and Neil Peart would spend the next decade expanding upon.


Even though it will forever be overshadowed by the masterpiece that followed, Permanent Waves is, in many regards, the most important album Rush made. Looking back on its career, Rush was not unlike Pink Floyd: each album built upon the last one and, in hindsight, one can easily see where certain ideas and obsessions—executed with varying degrees of success—came to full fruition on the eventual, inexorable tour de force (Dark Side of the Moon and Moving Pictures, respectively). We can hear how “By-Tor and the Snow Dog” was a test run of sorts for the longer pieces from Caress of Steel, which of course set the stage for “2112”.


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Thursday, Sep 20, 2012
Celebrating the great lost (and never found) Love single from the Summer of 1967.

Today, with summer not quite over, I have some thoughts about the great lost single from 1967.


Lost in that it was never found. It was, in fact, left off Love’s masterpiece, Forever Changes, for a perfectly understandable reason: Arthur Lee felt it was too upbeat and would have marred the fragile balance between solemn and stirring that the eleven song cycle achieved.


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