Tindersticks are an alternative band from Nottingham, England. Their sound is characterized by a synthesis of orchestral backing, lounge jazz, and soul; the lush orchestrations of multi-instrumentalist Dickon Hinchliffe and the smoky baritone of lead vocalist Stuart A. Staples are the band's hallmarks. Tindersticks have employed electric guitars, as most rock bands have done, but augment their instrumentation with a wide array of instruments: Rhodes piano, glockenspiel, vibraphone, violin...
The band has a cult following in the United Kingdom and continental Europe, although the eclectic and unique sound Tindersticks possesses never made significant inroads in the mainstream.
* Stuart Ashton Staples, born 14 November 1965 - Lead voice, guitar, melodica
* Dickon James Hinchliffe, born 9 July 1967 - violin, guitar, voice, piano, string and brass arrangements
* Neil Timothy Fraser, - born 22 November 1962 - lead guitar, vibraphone
* David Leonard Boulter, born 27 February 1965 - keyboards, percussion
* Alasdair Robert De Villeneuve Macaulay, born 2 August 1965 - drums, percussion, trumpet
* Mark Andrew Colwill, born 12 May 1960 - bass guitar
The band formed in late 1991, Staples, Boulter, Frazer, Macauley and Hinchcliffe having previously been members of Asphalt Ribbons. The final band line-up for the "old horse" mini-LP (1991) was: Stuart Staples (vocals) Dave Boulter (organ & accordion) Neil Fraser (guitar) Dickon Hinchliffe (Guitar & strings) Al Macauley (percussion & drums) John Thompson (bass). Mark Colwill was recruited when John Thompson left the Asphalt Ribbons, but it is not sure if he played any gigs under the Asphalt Ribbons name. Then they changed their name to Tindersticks after Stuart A. Staples discovered a box of German matches on a Greek beach.
Tindersticks started recording demo tapes in 1992, and were signed by Tippy Toe Records who released their first single, "Patchwork".
Their self-titled first and second albums established their signature sound and received widespread critical acclaim. Their live performances, often augmented by large string sections and even, on occasion, a full orchestra, were rapturously received. (The live album Bloomsbury Theatre 12.3.95 is a recording of one such concert.) By the time of the third album, Curtains, however, it was clear that a change of direction was called for. There was a certain ennui to the songs, and the lengthy "Ballad of Tindersticks" was a weary swipe at the pressures of being a touring band.
The fourth album, Simple Pleasure, lived up to its title with a series of snappy, direct songs influenced by soul music. The female backing vocals on several tracks, and the respectful cover of Odyssey's "If You're Looking For A Way Out", signalled the band's wish to move towards lighter, more soulful material. However, the inner sleeve's documentation of the number of takes each track went through was evidence that the band continued to adopt a painstaking approach to recording.
The fifth album, Can Our Love, continued the band's soulful direction, in particular evidence on the tender "Sweet Release" and in the nod to the Chi-Lites in the title of "Chilitetime".
The sixth and most recent album, Waiting For The Moon, was more stripped down and introspective in nature, particularly on the harrowing "4.48 Psychosis" (based on the play of the same name by the British playwright Sarah Kane) and "Sometimes It Hurts". Only the bouncy "Just A Dog" lightened the otherwise melancholy mood of the album.
In 2005 Staples embarked on a solo career and there was resultant speculation that the band had split. Staples has so far produced two solo albums, Lucky Dog Recordings 03-04 and Leaving Songs. The title of the second album, and Staples' notes on it, indicate that Tindersticks may indeed be at an end: "These are songs written on the verge of leaving the things I loved and stepping into a new unknown life, both musically and personally. I was always aware that these songs were the end of something, a kind of closing a circle of a way of writing that I started so long ago and I knew I had to move on from."
In September 2006, the band played a one-off concert at London's Barbican Centre, performing their second album in full with a nine-member string section and two brass players, including former collaborator Terry Edwards on trumpet. This concert brought the band's members back together. A new recording process in 2007 resulted in a new album, The Hungry saw, which was released on April 28th 2008.
In the meantime, in July 2007, Island Records had released The BBC Sessions, a double CD compilation of the band's sessions for BBC radio programmes. Also in 2007, a stripped-down line-up of three of the original band, Staples, Boulter and Fraser, spent time writing and recording in a newly-equipped studio in Limousin, France. They were joined by Thomas Belhom on drums and Dan McKinna on bass, with Ian Caple engineering. The resulting album, The Hungry Saw, was released on Beggars Banquet in April 2008. Tindersticks played a number of other European dates during the summer festival season and also announced a winter 2008 European tour.
In 2010, the eighth album Falling Down a Mountain was released on 4AD / Constellation Records with a changed band line-up, with Earl Harvin replacing Belhom on drums and David Kitt, a solo artist in his own right, joining the band on guitar and vocals.
The group's ninth album The Something Rain was released in February 2012.
As well as their nine studio albums, the band has produced the soundtracks for four films by the French director Claire Denis: Nenette et Boni,Trouble Every Day, 35 Rhums and White Material
They recorded a cover of the Four Tops song, "What Is A Man", for the theme to the British TV series The Sins.
The Tindersticks song Tiny Tears was featured prominently in the Series 1 episode "Isabella" of HBO's The Sopranos. Additionally, a version of "Running Wild" was played during the ending credits of the penultimate episode of the series, "The Blue Comet". In the Season One Finale of Brotherhood, "El Diablo En El Ojo" is used twice.
* Tindersticks (aka First Album) (This Way Up, 1993)
* Tindersticks (aka Second Album) (This Way Up, 1995)
* Curtains (This Way Up, 1997)
* Simple Pleasure (Island, 1999)
* Can Our Love... (Beggar's Banquet, 2001)
* Waiting for the Moon (Beggar's Banquet, 2003)
* BBC Sessions (2007)
See the band's site at www.tindersticks.co.uk.