Spottiswoode & His Enemies
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Spottiswoode & His Enemies

New York City, New York, United States | Established. Jan 01, 1995 | INDIE

New York City, New York, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 1995
Band Rock Pop


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



""Oompah Band On Crack""

"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 instuments and blow horns and suggest an oompah band on crack.." - Village Voice

""The Audience's Full Attention""

"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 and clever narrative details.

The songs are about painful relationships, getting older and still struggling as a musician ('they say you're looking well, but there's a stain on your lapel'), women he's attracted to - 'Farmers' daughters, engineers' wives, girls who throw parties, girls who throw knives, spinsters who've made the most of their lives.' The whole lot, basically.

- Robin Vaughan - Boston Herald

""Expect Drama From Spottiswoode""

"Expect drama from Spottiswoode, a local boulevardier who writes jazzy little numbers in the manner of a less dyspeptic Tindersticks, or NickCave without the heavy religious or homicidal impulses...Spottiswoode possesses a lovely crooning baritone...a cool, croaky voice that sounds as if he's leaning in close and singing especially to you.." - Time Out NY

""British Lad Making Good in the New World""

"Best example of British lad making good in the New World: Well, the "lad" part may not stick for long, but Jonathan Spottiswoode, the sometime film-maker, oft-time rocker, and frontman for the astonishing, brilliant Spottiswoode and His Enemies, shows what happens when you import six feet of British wit, then decorate it with American cool."

- Denis Broyles - National Review

""Eccentricity and Madness""

"There is a fine line between eccentricity and madness, a point where artistry becomes lunacy. Spottiswoode and His Enemies are at that point. Surely, they're on the edge of something: whether that's impending stardom or prescription drugs has yet to be determined. In any case, the band has a sound that you can't help but like, if only for its sheer entertainment value. The lyrics are filled with enigmatic vulgarity that escapes bad taste solely through Spottiswoode's own hypnotic voice. The man rarely rises above a whisper, lingering always just above a melodic, scratchy breath. He could be spewing poetic verse or inaffable madness -- it'd sound the same either way. He brags of schizophrenia, touts his insanity, and sings of depression. He is, in its rawest form, an artist, working his music like clay, molding and twisting words and sounds into something new. Different. There are pauses where you'd never expect them, voices used as sharp, shrieking instruments, and (did he mean to do that?) intermittent interactions with audience members. Not to say the music is haphazard; It isn't. Rather, it is both graceful and strange, beautiful and coarse, maniacal and brilliant. He has been compared to Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave, and David Bowie. His response: "Tom Waits would never do anything in bad taste; Leonard Cohen couldn't be upbeat if he tried; Nick Cave is a prisoner of his own tortured hipness; David Bowie hasn't uttered an honest word in his life." In New York City, where Spottiswoode collects his biggest fan base, frequent music guests bring added ingredients of harmonica, cello and saxophone and vocals to the rhythmic brew of the Enemies. Bottom line: if it's something different you want, you got it."

""Building A Road - Album Review""

“From the title track’s Muscle Shoals R&B to the mariachi flavorings of Youngest Child…Building A Road weaves a narrative of sybaritic living, a botched relationship and ultimately redemption, with Spottiswoode imparting his tales of hedonism and spirituality in a conversational baritone that recalls Leonard Cohen. Spottiswoode can be hilarious in the role of cad. His backhanded mea culpa in I Didn’t Hurt You Intentionally offers ‘She’s not your equal I’ve heard it said/But at least she forgives me when I mess with her head,’ and the slinky come-on Play Me In Your Bedroom asks that final favor of his estranged lover if she won’t take him back. Spottiswoode’s call-and-response with a smoldering gospel choir is among the disc’s greatest charms. More focused than his self-titled debut, Building A Road finds Spottiswoode still aiming for the grand gesture and increasingly hitting his mark.” - CMJ

""Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick!""

“When The Big Fella was handing out musical talent, tonight's headliners (a
wonderfully masterful and exhilarating offering from New York),
Spottiswoode & His Enemies looked his holy omnipotence in his
non-intervening eyes and cried out, "Hit me with your rhythm stick!"
Henceforth he struck them down upon this earth, whereupon they also sought
a deal with a musically-inclined lord of a different kind and a pained
subterranean mind. The lava coursing and pulsing through his veins burned
out their eyes, and in their tears a heavenly and satanic intermingled
music was made. This seven-piece featuring the (much in need of a hair cut)
English frontman Jonathan Spottiswoode, is a delicious range of
contradictions including: zydeco-backed Cohen-esque swamp rock; blooming
and brassy '70's-feeling Elvis Costello pop; Cash- and Cave-style anthems
with layers and layers of Hammond-style keyboard, pedal steel and mariachi
horns over rolling drums; laid-back jazz; swelling demonic Parisian cabaret
and even the unique and charismatic country rock of Neil Diamond.” - Athens Flagpole

""Destined For Success""

"A musical artist like Spottiswoode comes along far too rarely. This is pure ambrosia, destined for success in the cultish underground that spawns the thinking person's love affair with the likes of Divine Comedy, Tiger Lillies, Nick Cave, and The Fatima Mansions. The 17 tracks here shimmer in a haze of pulsing rhythms, baritone horns, sweet harmonies and confessional (sometimes unsettling) lyrical expression. Though it isn't a concept album, Spottiswoode & His Enemies essentially explores 17 ways to deconstruct heartache. Anchoring every song are the provocative and husky vocals of Jonathan Spottiswoode, a transplanted Londoner with several axes to grind. Stylish in both idea and execution, Spottiswoode is part storyteller, part social commentator, part lovesick Lothario. The songs veer seamlessly from the sonic primal scream ("Rattle the Bars") to the twisted fable ("Enfant Terrible") to delightfully surprising dance-hall romp ("What's The Point?"), and every track is brilliant in every way.

Even more compelling than the gorgeous orchestration --- take note particularly of the guitars and horns--- is the lyrical grace and drama. Masterful use of language yields delicious gems like 'She likes English accents and chocolate desserts/She takes pills for her diet and cheap cigarettes/And she is who she is but much more and much less/A tiara on speed who knows how to dress.' Androgynous insouciance, and as poetic as a glass of absinthe. Spottiswoode is, in a word, astonishing." Lexi Kahn

""Brilliantly Unreviewable!""

"Jonathan Spottiswoode is downright weird. And that's meant as the sincerest of compliments. The howling, broken, Bone Machine-esque intro to "Rattle the Bars" sets the tone for this distinctly skewed record that could best be described as Peter Murphy and Jello Biafra leading the Velvet Underground through a panorama of Franz Kafka's worst nightmares. With the ghost of John Philip Sousa conducting.

Spottiswoode and his band, as well as this record, are nigh on impossible to categorize. They're brilliantly unreviewable, thick, disturbed and haunted. There are horn sections, off-kilter bass, roiling guitars, a man in a wedding dress …

Simultaneously inspiring and repellent, reveling in its pretentiousness, this record never takes itself too seriously but demands seriousness of its listener. This CD ranges from dark existentialist chaos to focused, almost-pretty balladry without betraying its singularly smart, tormented vision.

This is music to champion. Even if you're not quite sure why." - Performing Songwriter - DIY Top 12 Reviews

"Live Review Washington Post"

Washington Post, Mike Joyce

"Alternately moody and loopy...Spottiswoode has a vicsous, 40-watt baritone voice, pleanty of theatrical flair, and a stylistic reach broad enough to trigger a wave of flattering Breacht-to-Bowie comparisons."

  - Washington Post


Still working on that hot first release.



SPOTTISWOODE & HIS ENEMIES is fronted by the prolific English songwriter Jonathan Spottiswoode, who was recently dubbed a "genius" and "downtown ringleader" by the New Yorker.

This merry band of seven amazingly talented misfits wows critics and audiences alike with their off-beat sophisticated style and wildly entertaining genre bending shows.

Spottiswoode has consistently indulged in an eclectic mayhem of styles. ( Don't say "eclectic" to Spottiswoode."We are Expressionists!" he insists.)

During an ongoing series of three sold out Enemies residencies at Joe's Pub in New York City, audiences came to a Rock show one night, a Mediterranean romp the next, and returned for a Gospel show.

Spottiswoode is the son of an American singer and an English clergyman. WNYCs John Schaefer describes him as, "One of New Yorks more colorful band leaders for more than a decade." For the past fifteen years, Spottiswoode & His Enemies have become a New York institution. Drawing comparisons to everyone from Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits and The National to Ray Davies and Nick Cave, the band has been profiled on NPRs Weekend Edition, World Cafe and Soundcheck and toured worldwide from SXSW to Lille, France to Lincoln Center. Paste Magazine describes the live show as, "Nothing short of transportive!"

English Dream (2014), Spottiswoode & His Enemies sixth studio recording, is a haunting new departure for the New York septet. "It's an English record, written and sung by an Englishman, but recorded in Brooklyn by a New York band. Salvation, our fourth record - was Americana says Spottiswoode, the band's songwriter and front man. This time we've gone "Anglicana" and made a pastoral collection of songs about nature, love, childhood and the other side of the pond. Sometimes its idyllic and sometimes its a bit scary."

Spottiswoodes songs have been covered by numerous artists and have been featured in a variety of television shows and films (Shes Out Of My League, The Ledge, Tart, Bridget), as well as in his own short film, The Gentleman, which screened at Sundance and played for several years on IFC. His gothic rock opera, Above Hells Kitchen, was presented to sold-out crowds at the prestigious New York Musical Theatre Festival in 2010.

Spottiswoode & His Enemies features John Young (bass), Tim Vaill (drums), Candace DeBartolo (saxophone), Kevin Cordt (trumpet), Riley McMahon (guitar, mandolin, glockenspiel), and Tony Lauria (piano, accordion, keyboards).


  • Winner! Independent Music Award 2011 "Best Adult Contemporary Song" for "Chariot"
  • Winner! Independent Music Award Vox Populi 2011 "Best Eclectic Album"  Wild Goosechase Expedition
  • Nominated Annual Independent Music Award 2010 Piano 45
  • Nominated Independent Music Award 2007 S&M
  • "Best DIY Album" Performing Songwriter for S&M
  • Above Hell's Kitchen - New York Musical Theater Festival 2010 - Written & Performed by Spottiswoode
  • Featured Showcase at Triple A Radio Non Comm-vention
  • NPR World Cafe with David Dye
  • WNYC Soundcheck
  • Lincoln Center Tribute to Bob Dylan
  • Harlem Festival National Black Theater
  • Lille Festival France
  • CMJ Artist Showcases
  • Critic's Pick & Best Bet SXSW
  • Featured on the nationally syndicated TV program SpotlightON Performing Songwriters
  • NPR Weekend Edition
  • Sundance Festival ASCAP Presents
  • Live from The Loft XM concert broadcast
  • TED Talk Boulder, CO
  • WTMD (Baltimore) First Thursday Concert in the Park
  • WXPN (Philadelphia) Live at Lunch Concert
  • WFPK (Louisville) Waterfront Wednesday Concert
  • Airplay on stations nationwide including WFUV, WXPN, WTMD,WKZE, WFPK, KUT, KFOG, KMTT and many more...