Iron Fist Magazine

PLAY AND RECORD: THE GOLDEN GRASS MIXTAPE

Providing the hazy, laid-back, psychedelic rock anthems of the summer, Brooklyn’s The Golden Grass have been on the road since the release of April’s ‘Coming Back Again’ (Listenable Records). Desperate to know what was on their stereo when recording their second full-length (they even told us which songs in particular each song inspired!) and what’s been playing in their van on those long road trips between gigs, the band made us the perfect mix-tape for summer nights.

1. The Move – ‘Lookin On’ 1970

“It’s amazing how HEAVY The Move were! They were one of our main influences when we formed the group and are a constant inspiration to us. ‘Lookin On’ is filled with monstrous riffs, killer guitar harmonies and soaring powerful vocals, not to mention the Eastern-tinged psychedelic odyssey in 5/4 that closes out the tune.”
Song of relevance: See It Through

2. Jefferson Airplane – ‘Today’ 1967

“It’s just a love song – which this group was surprisingly adept at – that is both gentle and powerful, with wonderful vocal harmonies and chord passages, particularly on the chorus and at the coda. But the clincher for me is that atmospheric two-note modal flourish that Jorma Kaukonen provides – so simple yet so crucial. I liked it so much that I decided to ‘borrow’ it.”
Song of relevance: Hazy Daybreak

3. The Zombies – ‘Time Of The Season’ 1968

“A hit song but still totally relevant to us and one of by one of our favourite groups for sure. Totally iconic, hip and cool drum beats gave a lot of inspiration.”
Song of relevance: Reflections In The Glass

4. John Coltrane – ‘India’ 1961

“We are huge fans, collectors and students of jazz and of course that includes the masters such as John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Sun Ra, Eric Dolphy, Charles Mingus, etc. Now what makes this particular track so intriguingly relevant to us is that one of our favourite 60’s UK mod bands, The Action, also had a fondness for Coltrane, and actually would perform jazzy rock versions of this song live. Eventually The Action became the mystical psychedelic band Mighty Baby (another one of our favourite groups) who also performed ‘India’, extending it into deep improvisational territory as much as Coltrane ever would! The vibe, swing and Eastern melodies of ‘India’ are a magical landscape that really can take you away!”
Song of relevance: Shadow Traveler

5. The Action – ‘Wasn’t It You?’ 1968

“This iconic British mod band, like so many of their peers, saw their genesis in covering American soul hits and B-sides, with some updated flourishes like 12-string guitar and George Martin production that was typical of the period. However, by later in their career, they started looking to the US West Coast and almost overnight began developing original material of an astonishing calibre – easily on par with what anyone else, including the Beatles, was doing at the time. This tune has all of the Action trademarks in place – ringing 12-string guitar, almost tympani-like drums, a minor chord feel with modal passages – but brings additional elements to the mix: more mature, mournful lyrics, sophisticated chord passages, and first-class vocal harmonies that almost bring to mind the Association.”
Song of relevance: Reflections in the Glass

6. The Fredric – ‘Taggin’ 1968

“Many years ago, Adzo randomly came across this obscure ’68 US garage group on a CD reissue of their album ‘Phases And Faces’, and it’s filled with incredible and memorable cuts all the way through! ‘Taggin’ always stuck out especially with its killer bass/guitar unison riff during the chorus, and sprung to mind when seeking inspiration for a tiny bit part on the album, if you can even hear it!”
Song of relevance: Reflections In The Glass

7. The Fifth Avenue Band – ‘Angel’ 1969

“The Fifth Avenue Band were, as their name implies, a New York band who released one album that I’m a huge fan of. It’s a real mixed bag of styles, with influences clearly ranging from The Band to The Lovin’ Spoonful to The Young Rascals to Brasilian bossa nova, but all executed magnificently. ‘Angel’ is the last track on their LP, a majestic number with really intricate vocal harmonies, again recalling The Association or the like. The three-chord F#m E Dmaj7 progression inspired the chord progressions of our tune, and the bit that builds on C# is what inspired the build-up in our tune over the ‘last in line’ and guitar solo bits.
Song of relevance: Reflections in the Glass

8. Stephen Stills’ Manassas – ‘Down The Road’ 1973

“We’re all such huge Stills fans, and the ‘down the road’ concept was a total inspiration.”
Song of relevance: Down The Line

9. Thee Midniters – ‘Jump Jive And Harmonize’ 1967

“Thee Midniters were a Chicano band from East LA that made a string of recordings of various styles, from raucous garage rock to doo-wop ballads to, later, psychedelicised Latin soul, and did a killer job at all of them. This track in particular is my favourite – a monster slice of garage rock that could easily hold its own against The Sonics. It features raw James Brown-styled vocals and all of the instruments pushing the levels well into the red and distorting in the best possible way. And that drum breakdown…”
Song of relevance: Shadow Traveler

10. Sands – ‘Listen To The Sky’ 1967

“It’s amazing to witness the birth of heavy metal in bands as far back as 1967. At about 2:40 you can hear the song take a dark and twisted turn, and then voila, a menacing riff followed by military style drumming and then before you know it, just pure terror via a classical styled delivery. And most of you are you going to realise that Sands used this melody about 15 years before Diamond Head would on ‘Am I Evil’ (and Metallica would eventually cover as well). This is where/why we decided to borrow it from for the final theme in a huge sequence of energetic buildups!”
Song of relevance: Shadow Traveler

11. Traffic – ‘Glad’ 1972

“Here we have an absolutely mind-blazing psychedelic jazz-rock adventure performed by the absolute top musicians in their game during the most experimental times in music! This piece goes through so many interesting landscapes and territories, it’s quite a fun journey to sit back and enjoy that ride! We were seeking some inspiration for one of the more improvisational moments on the album and it was heavily based on a portion of the music herein.”
Song of relevance: Down The Line

12. Steppenwolf – ‘The Pusher’ 1968

“When this song kicks in at the beginning of the movie ‘Easy Rider’, it’s really one of the most important musical/cinematic moments relevant to our group’s musical culture. The feeling and vibe of the opening moments of the tune are holy; so sparse, so open, haunting, and fucking groovy as all hell, with just the right amount of psychedelic lead guitar to send chills up your spine. We were really trying to re-vision that sonic landscape, although with a different lyrical story.”
Song of relevance: Shadow Traveler

You can listen to The Golden Grass’s album below