New album WILD GOOSECHASE EXPEDITION out now!
See Spottiswoode & His Enemies on tour in October in the Northeast. www.spottiswoode.com
"Captivating… A magical experience!" The New York Post
"The Englishman has no trouble getting the audience's full attention with his stunningly well-phrased lyrics and seasoned, expressive voice. He sings like Richard Butler of the Psychedelic Furs, with the confessional romanticism of Leonard Cohen and Billy Bragg-like wit.” Boston Herald
"A troubadour with a primitive yawp and a jones for performance art, Spottiswoode delivers libidinal punk rants and weirdo narratives like a horny, drug-addled Nick Cave. His Enemies, meanwhile, bang on found instruments and blow horns and suggest an oompah band on crack.." Village Voice
Spottiswoode, described as a “genius” and a “downtown ringleader” by The New Yorker, is an Englishman who has been on the New York scene for just over a decade. His songs have been covered and recorded by numerous East Village and Williamsburg musicians, and featured in a variety of mainstream and independent films. This list includes THE GENTLEMAN, a semi-autobiographical short film that he wrote and directed, and which played for several years on The Independent Film Channel.
Spottiswoode’s early solo record, UGLY LOVE (Groovetown 1999), earned rave reviews, comparisons to Leonard Cohen, and an invitation from ASCAP to play at the Sundance Film Festival. His more recent duo collaboration with Riley McMahon entitled S&M; (New Warsaw 2006), was included in Performing Songwriter’s list of top 12 DIY releases – “delightfully wacky vignettes!” - and nominated for an Independent Music Award.
However, Mr. Spottiswoode’s proudest accomplishment is the now decade-long personality cult known as Spottiswoode & His Enemies. Since their November 1997 debut at the Black Cat in Washington DC, Spottiswoode has somehow been able to hold together seven of New York’s finest musicians, put out a string of acclaimed records, perform residencies at New York’s best clubs, play Lincoln Center, tour the country, cross the ocean… all without paying his collaborators much more than a few dimes each.
Who are these poor fools? They are John Young (bass), Tim Vaill (drums), Candace DeBartolo (sax/flute/vocals), Kevin Cordt (trumpet/violin/vocals), Riley McMahon (guitar/mandolin/glockenspiel), and Tony Lauria (accordion/piano/organ).
It isn’t easy to describe the music they play. Spottiswoode composes songs of all genres, and his band of multi-instrumentalists is ready and willing to switch instruments and gears in the blink of an eye. A single show may include a delicate folk ballad, a balls-out rocker, a hilarious cabaret ditty, and a neo-gospel lament. But Spottiswoode cringes at the word “eclectic.” “We are expressionists!” he pleads.
Dan Reed of WXPN Radio put it this way: "Spottiswoode and his Enemies do something that few bands can do: evoke real emotions, sometimes several different ones in a single song. Spottiswoode himself is both funny and scary at the same time, and there is undeniably a major talent lurking behind the songs and the live show. Lotsa unexpected twists and turns, and lotsa soul."
SPOTTISWOODE AND HIS ENEMIES (Kumpelstiltskin 2001), the band’s eponymous first release, is a 21st century White Album, a seamless celebration of songwriting careening from show tune to aggressive rock’n’roll to soul ballad to bossa nova to psychedelia and back again. The record garnered hyperbolic reviews. Performing Songwriter included it on its Top 12 List of DIY releases: "Music to champion…Brilliantly unreviewable!"
After that, the band decided to work backwards and to record a series of distinct and more obviously unified song collections…
BUILDING A ROAD (Grantham Dispatch 2003 / Highwire 2005), the first of these, is a diabolical gospel record. CMJ Magazine picked it as one of the best releases of the season: “Spottiswoode’s call-and-response with a smoldering gospel choir is among the disc’s greatest charms.” Paste Magazine profiled the band: “Touched with a sort of holy fire, filled with drunk-on-the spirit horn solos, pew-rattling guitar sound, and heavenward-climbing background vocals!”
The full rock “gospel” show played to sell-out crowds in New York before being flown to France for a performance at the Lille/Europe Festival. The band played SXSW in Austin, clubs and radio-sponsored festivals all around the country, and a nationally syndicated set on NPR’s “World Café with David Dye.” Then, at the end of 2006, they performed at a sold-out tribute concert in honor of Bob Dylan at Lincoln Center.
THAT’S WHAT I LIKE & SALVATION
A tradition that began as a series of residencies at Fez in New York City continued in 2007 with a string of sold-out shows at Joe’s Pub. The band performed entirely different sets of original songs on each night, all with the Enemies stamp: a unique combination of raw power, turn-on-a-dime dynamics, haunting arrangements, and emotional theatre.
And now, in celebration of their tenth anniversary, the Enemies have drawn from these shows to release two brand new and very different studio song collections:
THAT’S WHAT I LIKE: a rock cabaret romp; the story of a playboy on a failed cruise through the Mediterranean. “Imagine Ian Dury meeting Manu Chao and Serge Gainsbourg for tea,” says Spott…
and SALVATION: a folksy collection of secular redemption songs.
Produced by Riley McMahon (Enemy #5), the two CDs capture - at least in part - the range of Spottiswoode’s songwriting and the remarkable musicianship of his exceptional band.