Hitting the Goldspot

For about the past year I have been enjoying the sounds of the L.A. based band Goldspot. In 2005 NPR classified their release as one of “The Best CDs You Didn’t Hear This Year.” Here in Los Angeles they actually get radio play fairly often on KCRW (unrepentant and pretentious music-snob that I am, KCRW and KEXP are the only radio stations in America that I will allow my ears to listen to). As long time SM readers know, I don’t do reviews. I will however, post about music that I dig. Here is what the L.A. Weekly had to say about them:

“The stars aligned for Goldspot recently — after years of tilling the fringes of L.A.’s play-to-your-friends club scene — with the release of their elegantly singable debut album, Tally of the Yes Men…Gorgeously oblivious to fads and fashion, Goldspot have woven their Cure/R.E.M./Smiths patchwork with threads of exotic melody lingering from main-man Siddhartha’s [Khosla] Indian upbringing. Onstage they rightly bask in the strength of their material, and Siddhartha’s a willing focal point, complete with love-it-or-hate-it affected-eccentric demeanor. And note to bands everywhere: Goldspot reign in the instrumental volume, allowing Siddhartha to examine every nuance of his Buckley/Orbison timbre.”

-LA Weekly (Paul Rogers)

From their Myspace page:

Imagine Paul Simon heading to Mumbai to record his next record and listening to the Cure on the flight and you’re getting close.

Siddhartha (founder, lead singer / songwriter of Goldspot) is quick to pay tribute to his early influences: “I grew up listening to whatever my parents had in their cassette decks – Mohd. Rafi, Kishore Kumar, Mukesh – these were great Indian playback singers from the 1940′s and 50′s. The melodies were brilliant. And then one day when I was 14, I figured out that if you flipped the switch on the stereo from ‘tape’ to ‘radio’ you could hear music with English words. That’s when I heard R.E.M.’s Green, and it was my first introduction to Western music…” [Link]

Here is the video for the catchy Time Bomb:

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So why haven’t I written about Goldspot before this? Like so much else I blame it on my dissertation. However, what jogged me into action was when I heard a new version of their song Friday (which you can listen to on their Myspace page along with three other tracks) this morning. The new version was down-right Bollywoody…and I liked it. What gives? I quickly dug up the backstory:

Siddhartha and Goldspot producer Jeff Peters just spent a week in Chennai, India recording with Srinivas Murthy and A.R. Rahman’s orchestra. The “bollywood” orchestra now appears on new, radio versions of “Friday” and “Rewind” that are scheduled to be released in the UK and Europe this Fall under Mercury UK (Universal Music Group). [Link]

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p>I wish I could produce this new version for you all to listen to but I don’t know how to do so legally so you will just have to wait until they release it.

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p>In the meantime you can check out additional live performances by Goldspot here and here. And finally, since I am sure some of you have been wondering:

[The band] takes its name from the Indian soda, Gold Spot. Lead singer Siddhartha Khosla says about the drink, “Gold Spot isn’t my favourite drink. It wasn’t even my first drink; Coke was. But we named ourselves after it because it’s bubbly and refreshing. I wish I could still drink it, but I hear that Gold Spot is no longer made in India…” [Link]

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p> Goldspot is:

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p>* Siddhartha: vocals, guitars, and piano

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p>* Ramy Antoun: drums

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p>* Derek Horst : guitar

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p>* Seth McLain: guitar, keys, and Bollywood

* Sergio Andrade: bass

43 thoughts on “Hitting the Goldspot

  1. Great band Abhi – muchos gracias. Just bought their CD off of amazon after checking out their other tunes (can’t believe the CD was released over a year back).

    I have to say my fav tune is “Friday” – I have that one on an infinite loop.

  2. Here’s what Itunes has to say about the album, “Up until he was 14, the only style of music that Siddhartha heard of was Middle Eastern variety (including such artists as Kishore Kumar and Mukesh)…”

    Middle Eastern?

    Great find. Thanks Abhi.

  3. Thanks for introducing us to their music, Abhi. I’m all about supporting fellow Macacas in the music world.

    Not to mention, their nostalgic name, Goldspot, brings back fond memories of sipping that syrupy-sweet orange Fanta substitute on childhood trips to the Desh Mata. Anyone know if they still make “Goldspot” in India, or has it gone the way of “Thums Up” and “Super Seven”?

  4. Bob (#6),

    It would be my honor to play with you. I’ve listened to your music for decades. However, I don’t I’d be able to fit in to your group because of my jazz, rock, funk, latin, pop, and Indian influences. It would just be a big mess. But the next time you play “One More Cup of Coffee,” “It’s Not Dark Yet,” or “Lay Lady Lay,” think of me.

  5. Gold Spot is no longer made, as indicated in the post. Thums Up is still around and would have been stronger than Coke if Coke didn’t try to bury the Thums Up brand (they couldn’t).

  6. Gold Spot is no longer made, as indicated in the post. Thums Up is still around and would have been stronger than Coke if Coke didn’t try to bury the Thums Up brand (they couldn’t).

    My bad on not catching the Gold Spot explanation in the post. I went straight to the music link. BTW, when I ordered the CD off Amazon, only three were left in stock. Better order soon!

    Glad to know Thums Up is still around. Any word on Campa Cola, another childhood favorite of mine?

  7. Thanks for the tip Abhi.

    Ok, my typical desi question. He was 14 before he heard western music. In America??

    Not that I am complaining.

  8. That’s not too surprising to me. I wasn’t 14 when I first heard western music, but I definitely didn’t hear anything other than Indian music with any regularity until I was about 13 or 14.

  9. So when is the “I want a desi on my record label” trend going to spread to us wanna be jazz drummers?

    I’ve been asking myself the same question (being a wannabe jazz drummer for a few years now) and think that this dude is pretty much filling up that void for the time being. If you haven’t checked him out by now, I’d highly recommend you do so immediately.

    I’ve written a song called ‘Whose line is it anyway?” on the LoC dispute. It’s a free download on my site http://www.shoestringtheband.com

    Not bad Manoj, reminiscent of some Leonard Cohen and Neil Young. Who’s playing the other instruments? Are you going to post any more full lenght tracks soon?

    “Goldspot reign in the instrumental volume, allowing Siddhartha to examine every nuance of his Buckley/Orbison timbre.”

    Sputters loudly This gentleman, talented as he may be, possesses little of the nuance Jeff so deftly displayed, including is ability to belt like the best in Punjabi.

  10. likee music;puts me in a (gold?heheheh…sorry)spot of bother though;for over 5 years now i havent spent any money on any music……shall i make an exception??

    sigh….the guilt trips that come from being cheap…….

  11. For those of you interested in hearing the A.R. Rahman Bollywood version of Friday it played live on KCRW at 10:05a.m. pst today. That means at 12p.m. or shortly thereafter the entire 3-hour Mornings Become Eclectic program (which plays from 9a.m. to 12-p.m.) will be uploaded on-line and you can listen to it there by fast forwarding to it. The program will only be up for one day.

  12. That’s not too surprising to me. I wasn’t 14 when I first heard western music, but I definitely didn’t hear anything other than Indian music with any regularity until I was about 13 or 14.

    Milind, Not to hijack the thread or anything, but did you not talk/discuss music with your friends? American pop music is everywhere. It seems like one has to make an effort to not hear it.

  13. i guess suburban NJ was the breeding ground for a whole heap of 2nd-generation asian/half-asian musicians. Sid(dhartha) and I went to high school together, along with Karen O (from the Yeah yeah yeahs)’s older brother. we had a bunch of classes together.

    Sid was always an amazing, amazing vocalist. Kid would open his mouth and wonderful, wonderful tones would come out of it. I also remember doing a cover of “tempted” with him at one point in our senior year.

    definitely check out goldspot– saw them @ CMJ last year and it was a great time. really fun rock band. They’ve been around for a long time in LA, since the late 90′s i believe. Siddhartha has really been pushing that project for a while. At one early point, it was all dudes who we’d gone to high school with.

    and as far as desi jazz drummers go, i point you in the direction of http://www.jainsounds.com .

    (And even sunny can claim northern NJ in some way/shape/form)

  14. Not to hijack the thread or anything, but did you not talk/discuss music with your friends? American pop music is everywhere. It seems like one has to make an effort to not hear it.

    I also didn’t hear much American pop music till I was 14, that too, the “Jock Jams” my friend played whenever we played ball. Never heard anything but rabindra sangeet, adhonik and bollywood soundtracks in the house. Didn’t spend much time indoors during childhood unless I was doing hw or watching cartoons. First heard American music at a friend’s house during junior high.

  15. Neale: Note that I said “with regularity.” I’m not saying I didn’t hear pop music. I certainly did, whether on TV or at a friend’s house. But we didn’t really talk about it much. I certainly couldn’t identify any Nirvana songs (as in, if I heard “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” I couldn’t identify it as such, and if I was asked what songs Nirvana sang, I couldn’t tell you), for example.

    I think there’s a difference between hearing music and being musically aware. I wasn’t musically aware (of western pop music) until 13 or 14.

  16. Speaking about desis in band everybody should check out this band called ‘Battle’ they are kinda like Bloc Party/The Killers/The Libertines.. London based post-punk

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pi8woBiI7ZM

    ive seen these guys play alot around london they are amazing.. alway snice to see a fellow brown dude rockin out on stage!

  17. May be it’s just me, but I find the music and especially the video, quite cheesy. I hope to find a brown doing something like Nine Inch Nails or Nirvana (minus the drugs etc.) one day.

    All the same, I wish these guys the best.

  18. Did anyone catch Phoenix performance on Conan a few days ago? Their new drummer appears to be of desi origin. Haven’t seen anything else about the new drummer though.

  19. For those that can appreciate death metal, the Singaporean Tamil band Rudra has pioneered a style they call Vedic metal that incorporates ideas from South Asian musical traditions. They have made a video for the song Aham Brahmasmi

  20. I’ve been a huge fan of these guys for years. It’s high time they started getting some recognition.

    Rumor has it that Siddartha Kosla was one of the founding members of Penn Masala. I can’t confirm or deny that one, but he has the voice for it.

    My favorite song of theirs is “Burning Ashes.” I have no idea which CD it’s on; a friend gave me that mp3 back in 2002 and I listen to it whenever I break up with a brown girl :-D

  21. fyi-

    siddhartha was the first music director of penn masala…also the band just got signed a worldwide deal with Mercury/Universal…that version of Friday is incredible…

  22. Hmm I just bought the album and it’s really good! surprising i never knew about them 4 yrs ago..well thanks for that time bomb video…and friady’s hindi version was fantastic…thanks!!

  23. Is it just me or did God just post a comment here? Did Bob Dylan post a comment here? Okay.

    BTW their new album is out and is very very very good. Just like Tally.

  24. BTW their new album is out and is very very very good. Just like Tally.

    Seriously. I’ve been listening to it obsessively since it came out. I just ordered Tally, very excited to hear it.