Friday, 7 January 2011

Review from Sharon O' Connell at Uncut

Below is a review of 'Heathcliffian Surly' by Sharon O’ Connell at Uncut:

He describes himself as “a crooner of morose ballads and drunken frisky jigs”, but the eccentric Dando has his sights set on multiple broader horizons. Marrying his mannered and melodramatic baritone – equal parts Noel Coward, Baby Dee and Bryan Ferry – to this quintet’s accomplished orchestrations, he dips into klezmer/gypsy jazz, upbeat indie country, honky –tonk and Associates-style art pop. Dando’s florid delivery and self-conscious romanticism won’t be to everyone’s taste, but there’s humanity and a tender heart here, along with the hubris and professed horror of modern life, as “Odessa!” and “No Tomorrow” attest.

Monday, 3 January 2011

Summary of 2010

Usually around this time of year, I like to rain terror down upon the hell hole venues that I’ve played in, or the wicked promoters that do nothing to earn their title. However, the gripes of previous years don’t seem to have been as prevalent in 2010 now that I recall. Could this be progress, or luck? Pft, who cares. It was nice, let’s leave at that. So to cement some of the memories, I’d like to round up my year with the below YouTube playlist, which is a collection of videos from artists that I've enjoyed immensely in the past 12 months. Here's to another splendid year in 2011.

If you click play above, it should play video after video of the playlist. Tracklisting below:

Timber Timbre - Magic Arrow
Beach House - Norway
Where Is My Mind - Chancery Blame and the Gadjo Club
Black Doe - Mary Epworth and the Jubilee Band
Ultrasound - Sovereign
Kenji Mizoguchi - Geisha Dance from Ugetsu Monagatari
This Is Laura - The Ghosts of Lovers and Hounds
Ellie Goulding - The Writer
Joni Mitchell - Both Sides Now (2000)
Dakota Jim - medley of his songs including, We Will Meet Again
Beach House - Better Times
Timber Timbre - Demon Host
Bethia Beadman - Homerton Station
Ultrasound - Everything Picture (live at The Lexington, reformation gig)
Canteloube - "Bailero" - Sung by Netania Davrath
Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band - I'm Glad
Kenji Mizoguchi - Sansh├┤ day├╗

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Review from Martin Skivington at The Skinny

Below is a review of 'Heathcliffian Surly' by Martin Skivington at The Skinny:

Marmaduke Dando has been described as an author channelling the 'horrors and beauties of the modern world', but hyperbole aside, his music sounds something like a cross between Antony Hegarty's weeping recitals and Baby Dee's warped balladry. His debut album, Heathcliffian Surly, is a drink-soaked, literary and almost Victorian collection of morose pop, led by his own piano playing and supported by a five-piece band.

Dando assumes theatrical roles exquisitely throughout, from dejected drunk (Dead To The World) to embracing romantic (All Of Me), while giving a lesson in early 20th Century song in the process. Although it's easy to find his voice overbearing – a notion magnified by a song like Life Can't Get Any Better – the skill and subtle wit of songs such as Give Me Detumescence still indicates an artist who's well aware of his own idiosyncrasies, and capable of using them to his advantage. A curious introduction.

Review from Shane O’ Leary at Unpeeled

Below is a review of 'Heathcliffian Surly' by Shane O’ Leary at Unpeeled:

Obviously that headline should read 'genius with beard plays piano', but that's no fun and would undermine any claim to dyslexia. However, we have found a genius and he does, for the moment at least, have a beard.

Said genius also has a name. We're presuming that Marmaduke Dando is a nom de warble as opposed to something his poor, gin-soaked old mum scrawled on his birth certificate before expiring with a fit of the giggles. Said genius also has an album to purvey, convey, sell, flog and place before the bemused and largely non-bearded masses. Said album is called "Heathcliffian Surly" and the big money is on it being a reference to a certain character that sent the muse, licketty-split, to both Kate Bush and Cliff Richard, a threesome I don't wish to visualise again, but an album we should all hear again and again and... you get the idea. There is a proper review on the 'Everything Else' page, but skip that and skip directly to

Heathcliffian', but we'll have a go... Alas, the artiste known as Marmaduke Dando is a
beautiful breeze of fetid air as Bela Lugosi amuses himself, Miss Havisham style in a basement once inhabited by some kind of Bryan Ferry/Brian Eno mutation.

Knockers and the insensitively souless will point out that this is an album with more arch than Archway, more affectation than an incoming princess and far too clever to be good for itself. We call those people 'Conservatives' and point out that "Heathcliffian Surly" is the fine dining version of 'Rocky Horror' and that Marmaduke Dando may well be camper than Baden Powell, but he slips through genres more slickly than a Mozart made of eels. Take something like "The Last Drink", a honky tonk, slow-mo piano stamp around a bordello bar, something that both Leon Russell and Hinge & Bracket would be comfortable with and perfect for. This is such a lovely record that I'm liable to come over all sensible and suggest that you buy it, a
lot and now.

IS IT ANY GOOD? We don't get a lot of genius down our way, but we know it when we hear it.

Review from Dominic Vavlona at God is in the TV

Below is a review of 'Heathcliffian Surly' by Dominic Valvona at God is in the TV:

Marmaduke Dando is a tortured soul: his atavistic disposition, seeming ill at ease with the modern world. A self-appointed despairing and melancholic romantic, Dando is unceremoniously catapulted from rubbing shoulders with the likes of Byron, Keats and Dostoevsky in the garret and study room’s of a hazy bygone age, to the harsh realities of a cold dystopian envisioned Metropolis. If further prove of his separation from our technological fetishist society was even needed, a sardonic passage bemoaning about de-humanisation in the face of modernity and progress by the revered and controversial novelist D.H Lawrence, is included as a footnote inside the albums cover.

Musically, our troubled troubadour wistfully croons over a bare and deftly layered accompaniment of mournful piano, searing melodic violins, shuffling drums, and pronounced pining guitars, all swaying between a soundtrack of sorrowful ballads, Weimar epoch cabaret, and Balkan gypsy woe.

Dando’s saddened and stirring swooning vocals share all the more restrained traits of Scott Walker, Jacques Brel, Lloyd Cole and Billy Mckenzie, on this disconsolate and doleful journey. Walker-esque allusions begin with Heathcliffian Surly's opening rue, and tribute of a kind, to the Ukrainian Black Sea port of Odessa, on the track of the same name: picked I assume for its revolutionary bent and historical romanticism – the city was famous for the tragic 1905 workers uprisings, which were depicted in Sergi Eisenstein's ‘Battleship Potemkin’. Our new-age Shelly pens an ode to a place he’s only ever read about and imagined; using its exoticism and mysterious aura to express sentiments to his intended muse.

The reclusive Walker returns, with his own ‘30th Century Man’, which is used as the bedrock for the jangley Apache toms beat and lust-for-life celebration, ‘Life Can’t Get Any Better’; whilst his morose tones echo large on the sadly lovelorn prose of ‘This Is I Ask Of You’.

With his elaborate 18th Century cravats and tailored gentlemen’s attire, the poetic protagonist often drifts into surprising waters: mooning like a carousing mid-70s Bowie and melodramatic Simon Le Bon - of all people - on the French sophisto-noir of ‘If This Is Civilisation’, or revisiting the wry wit and eloquently worded lyrics of Neil Hannon’s Divine Comedy, on the Kierkegaard melancholy of ‘Dead To The World’ – possibly his best outing.

It may seem that with all these influences - worn on our tormented singers sleeves for the entire world to see - that Dando merely apes or pays homage to his inspirational hosts. Yet, in some ways this collection of acutely penned modern stirring songs, carries on the grand tradition of lugubrious and laid bare hymns by his influences with a subtle degree of wit and invention. On paper this album sounds daunting, but somehow at the same time heart-warming, as it chimes with relevance to our own times and attempts to put malady on the map.

Heathcliffian Surly shows that Dando’s cup isn’t just half-empty, but is smeared, cracked and slowly leaking the little content it still has left. To borrow a slightly changed, well-worn line from that Californian sage Brian Wilson, “Dando just wasn’t made for these times”.