Band of the Day

2012.09.11

Goldspot

Charming indie pop inspired by the sounds of '60s-era India
I had the world figured out. Words that I wrote for you and for me, they got washed into the sea.
lyrics from Tale of a Fish

Named after India-based carbonated beverage favorite, Goldspot delivers its fizzy pop sound from Los Angeles. Frontman Siddhartha Khosla signed the band to Union Records in 2005, the same year Goldspot shined under the spotlight with their first hits “Rewind” and Modest Mouse cover “Float On” being featured on Fox’s The “OC.” The band also built much of its fame and fandom from DJ Nic Harcourt of KCRW, who regularly played Goldspot on his radio show. The band released their debut Tally of the Yes Men in 2007 and signed to Mercury Records, leading to bigger budget productions. Khosla and Beach Boys producer Jeff Peters took to India to record with Bollywood’s A.R. Rahman, notable for his work stateside on the Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack. This resulted in their debut’s re-release and rise in the top charts. Goldspot launched its sophomore And the Elephant is Dancing in late 2009 and performed on the soundtrack for CBS’s How I Met Your Mother and Apple’s iPad TV spots. Currently recording their third album, Goldspot continues to tease their upcoming material at its shows.

Sometimes our parents, as begrudgingly as we might want to admit, instinctively know what's best for us. When Siddhartha Khosla, singer-songwriter and Goldspot founding member, was just 7 years old, his mother made him transcribe bhajans (a type of Indian devotional song) to sing at their local Hindu temple in New Jersey. While he didn't enjoy performing at the time, it's perhaps this early introduction to music that has the most significant impact on Khosla's career trajectory. In college, at the University of Pennsylvania, he became the first musical director of a Desi (a slang term for people from the Indian subcontinent) a capella singing group called Penn Masala. By 1999, he moved to Los Angeles to start the indie pop act known as Goldspot, which was named for a now-defunct orange-flavored Indian soft drink called Gold Spot. His first release was 2007's Tally of the Yes Men, an album title inspired by Khosla's time working a nine-to-five cubicle job in L.A, where he kept a tally of how many times in one meeting subordinate employees would answer “yes” to their managers (nearly 60 in one hour, for the record). This was followed by 2009's And the Elephant Is Dancing, recorded by Beach Boys' engineer Jeff Peters. It's a record that manages to capture inspiration from the best of both Indian and American music history, from the Indian oldies his parents would play and—most likely from Peters' hand—the classic '60s West Coast pop sound. Take “Call Center Girl,” which could almost be a Bollywood movie plot in the form of a mid-tempo indie pop song (“Who connects like we connect?” and “it's not long distance, just time difference,” sings Khosla). The line “and the elephant is dancing/while we are sleeping,” not only includes the album title, but it was inspired by an excerpt of an article in the Economist about outsourcing and India's economic rise. While there's no denying that Khosla's ethnicity informs his music with Goldspot, it doesn't define it. An amazing melody is still an amazing melody, no matter what the background of the person who created it.