Featured Artists April 2009: Goodfinger

A few years ago, I received a 5-song EP from New York City band Goodfinger. Its tight rock songs practically burst out of my CD player, screaming “play me on the air!” So I did. These songs promised so much. Here we are in 2009, and Mike, the drummer sent me their full length debut, Killing With Kindness. Well, consider this a promise delivered, and for that, I am happy to announce that Goodfinger are the Twirl Radio Artists of the Month for April, 2009! I interviewed them on Twirl Radio on Saturday April 18th, 2009.

So what does Goodfinger sound like? It’s really hard to say, because they’re fairly original. I spent the better part of the last week trying to work out the analogy, and it’s been tough. If I had to do it, I’d say they sound something like an updated version of Blondie, but with a much harder edge. But they’re not exactly New Wave, and not exactly hard rock. They’re a four piece ensemble–Mike Williams on drums; Seth Skolnick, guitar; Frank Caira, bass; and Scrappy Calloway on vocals. Mike and Scrappy co-write most of the songs, and Scrappy is clearly the centerpiece and focal point of the band. She has a strong vocal and stage presence (click here to view Love Digitale video). I’d call their sound a “throwback”, but to what? They would have sounded good in the 1980s, with their New Wave influenced synthesizers and vocals. But they would have also sounded good in the alternative early 1990s, with those soaring, atmospheric guitars. And they sound great right now in the 2000s.

So let’s dive right into the album. 10 tracks–and they’re all straight-up radio friendly. It’s rare when I can say this about an entire CD–but I will be playing each and every track on my show. The album is that good.

It starts off with the title track, Killing With Kindness, a great rock ballad–but not like your typical s-l-o-w ballad. This one rocks at mid-tempo. Another Night is next, and starts off with Seth’s soaring guitars–both he and Scrappy share center stage on this rocker, giving each other room to work. Said And Done starts off with the rhythm section of Mike and Frank laying some pretty impressive drum and bass groundwork, building up tensions. Then Seth’s sinewy guitar work edges in, and finally Scrappy’s mysterious, sultry vocals take center stage. A few drum crashes later, and this becomes a full blown rocker, complete with some tasty alternative-style keyboard work.

Ghost slows down the speed of the assault, but not the intensity. It’s a song about being lost in a big city of unfriendly, uncaring, superficial people. Scrappy wraps her world-wise vocals around this moody song, singing “I’m a ghost in this town, that’s how they want it to stay.” Radio Perfecto, one of two carryovers from the debut EP (featuring Johnny B. on guitars) picks the pace right back up again. This is sheer rock and roll glory here–an anthem if I ever heard one. Sounds Of The City sounds like something Iggy Pop might have done–an observation of urban decadence. It rocks pretty hard, and would sound especially good prowling around the streets of a big city after midnight, turned up loud on your car stereo. Take Me I’m Yours is a great surprise–they do a New Wave-sounding take on this great Squeeze tune. They make it their own, and you realize that nobody else could have covered this tune–it now belongs to Goodfinger!

Love Digitale, a throbbing, pulsing number, is the other tune from the EP. Untouchable is another straightforward rocker. The album concludes with And So We Are Forever, a nice, mostly acoustic showcase for Scrappy’s voice. Most of the CD’s production, engineering, and arranging is done by Mike, and it sounds top-notch. A phenomenal album, one of the best I’ve heard this year to date.

Tom Verlaine of Television called Goodfinger “the future of New York music”. I would slightly beg to differ–same statement, but take out the words “New York”–these guys belong everywhere–and that includes Twirl Radio. Congratulations to Goodfinger, the Twirl Artists of the Month for April, 2009!

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