Galloping in the Background
April 1, 2021 9:35 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for (non-country) music with a certain characteristic: the baseline (or whatever's providing the beat) is evocative of a galloping horse/wild west/cowboy soundtrack. The clearest example of this is "Wolf" by First Aid Kit. I have two questions.

(1) Is that "horsey" beat from "Wolf" taken from somewhere? It sounds familiar but I can't tell if it's just a quintessential example or actually taken from a classic western theme.

(2) Do you know any other non-country songs that have this "horsey" element? It doesn't have to be spot-on like "Wolf." It can just be reminiscent of it (I think the time signature might have something do with it). Some examples (links will jump to a spot in the song where you can best hear it):
-- Wild Beasts - "We Still Got The Taste Dancin' On Our Tongues" (I think that's even a horse in the video)
-- American Analog Set - "Hard to Find"
-- Pinback - "Sender"
posted by paperback version to Media & Arts (17 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Mirah's "Cold, Cold Water" feels like it's in the same ballpark to me during the quick bits.
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:39 AM on April 1, 2021 [2 favorites]

Radiohead - There There has a very similar drum part.
posted by dudekiller at 9:58 AM on April 1, 2021

Best answer: To me, some of those beats sound like variations on a train beat, found throughout classic country music. Another more modern example in Wye Oak's Civilian.
posted by otolith at 10:03 AM on April 1, 2021 [2 favorites]

Muse -Knights of Cydonia space country music

Heart - Barracuda

Are either of those close enough?
posted by The_Vegetables at 10:09 AM on April 1, 2021 [1 favorite]

Love Mirah's Cold, Cold Water. That song (and those galloping beats, whistles, etc) is a nod to the Spaghetti Western soundtrack music pioneered by Italian composer Ennio Morricone. I think a lot of this goes back to him.
posted by Text TK at 10:21 AM on April 1, 2021

Response by poster: Thank you for the answers thus far! They all have this element, for sure. "Knights of Cydonia" even has the video to match.

Wye Oak's "Civilian," in particular, is exactly what I'm looking for. (I used to love this song but it'd kind of faded from my mind.)
posted by paperback version at 10:21 AM on April 1, 2021

If I'm understanding what you're looking for, then these might work:

Mule Skinner Blues - The Fendermen
Pretty Polly - The Byrds
White Lightning - George Jones
The Old Master Painter - Peggy Lee
Ghost Riders in the Sky - Sons of the Pioneers
posted by saladin at 11:13 AM on April 1, 2021

Best answer: The galloping/running beat used to be called a coranto, spelled lots of ways. "Used to" starting hundreds of years ago, so not the tonality you’re looking for, but maybe an amuse-oreille.

Also I’m pretty sure there’s a jazz classic in two bars of two triplets each alternating with two bars of three duplets each. Miles Davis?
posted by clew at 12:39 PM on April 1, 2021 [2 favorites]

The Decemberists - The Infanta
posted by synecdoche at 12:54 PM on April 1, 2021

Just start with Link Wray and go anywhere over the last 60 years of music. Or maybe you don't need to go anywhere else. Here's his Deuces Wild, with his brother Doug on the drums.

The Minutemen's Corona (ignore the "Jackass" origin, it's a good tune)

X's Hungry Wolf

You'll also want to look into cumbia from Mexico on south.
posted by Sheydem-tants at 2:00 PM on April 1, 2021

Best answer: I'll add Neko Case Things That Scare Me. The rhythm is there in the drums and the banjo picks it up too, later in the song.
posted by otolith at 2:20 PM on April 1, 2021

Pretty much any of Iron Maiden's faster numbers could fit the bill, there's a reason Steve Harris' basslines are now as galloping bass lines. Do these work?
The Trooper.
Run To The Hills.
Seventh Son.
posted by ewan at 2:43 PM on April 1, 2021

Classic 20th century pop-culture gallop is The Lone Ranger theme from Rossini's William Tell.

In high school music we rocked a rousing brass/percussion arrangement of Dmitry Kabalevsky's 'Cavalry Gallop' (this version not on YT but it's heavy).
posted by ovvl at 5:00 PM on April 1, 2021 [1 favorite]

Check out Wikipedia here and especially here.

Von Suppe's Lost Cavalry Overture has some themes that are somewhat horse like, though this description makes the operetta sound more like a RomCom.

Light Cavalry is a two act operetta written in 1866. The story revolves around a troop of cavalry men who attempt to unite a young couple through many twists and turns.
posted by SemiSalt at 7:01 AM on April 2, 2021

Come Back Jonee - Devo
posted by Thorzdad at 11:14 AM on April 2, 2021

Ooh, I love this beat too! I think Bat for Lashes "Glass" may qualify.
posted by foxhat10 at 5:41 AM on November 29, 2021

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