By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
The men with the Midas touch
Utilizing its ska-influenced sound to stand out from the rest of the pop-punk pack, Goldfinger has come out of nowhere (Los Angeles, actually) to land its first single, "Here In Your Bedroom," on MTV and radio stations across the country. If there's indeed a ska revival going on--and God knows Denton's Grown-Ups should be getting an NEA grant--then Goldfinger does Selecter and the Specials one better: Goldfinger is commercially successful.
The self-titled debut album sounds like a sonic cocktail of punk and ska, using the best of both scenes--the caffeine-fueled love songs of the Descendents, the tight musicianship of NOFX, the energy of the Specials--combined with a ton of sing-along choruses and a sense of humor that's dumb but never stupid. Guitarist Charlie Paulson has described Goldfinger's music as "hyperactive love songs for people on Ritalin." Singer-guitarist John Feldmann's lyrics tell the tale of a man who has loved and lost, and he's sort of pissed about it: "My girlfriend's shower sucks."
On stage, Goldfinger is utterly kinetic, with an enthusiasm so infectious it's clear these boys are entertainers first, artists a not-so-distant second. The band's flamboyant, high-energy shows have been known to feature drummer "Dangerous" Darrin Pfeiffer's a cappella parodies of such songs as Everclear's "Santa Monica" ("I am still living with your ghost/Hungry and dreaming of some French toast"), and the band's version of "Rio" by Duran Duran, a ska-core spectacular with lyrics about Ronnie James Dio. Goldfinger last performed in Texas at South By Southwest in March, tearing the doors off a small hotel bar crammed with music-industry executives. It says something about a band when a 40-year-old A&R guy can be coaxed into the pit, and he doesn't look so foolish.
Goldfinger performs June 6 at the Galaxy Club.