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Tindersticks at A38, 12 May 2012
Tindersticks at A38, 12 May 2012
Background information
OriginNottingham, England
Years active1992–present
Past members
  • Dickon Hinchliffe
  • Al Macaulay
  • Mark Colwill
  • Thomas Belhom
  • David Kitt

Tindersticks are an English alternative rock band formed in Nottingham in 1991. They released six albums before singer Stuart A. Staples embarked on a solo career. The band reunited briefly in 2006 and more permanently the following year. The band recorded several film soundtracks, and have a long-standing relationship collaborating with French director Claire Denis.


Staples, Boulter, Fraser, Macauley and Hinchliffe, all former members of Asphalt Ribbons, formed the band in 1991.[2] The final line-up for the Old Horse mini-LP (1991) was: Stuart Staples (vocals), Dave Boulter (organ and accordion), Neil Fraser (guitar), Dickon Hinchliffe (guitar and strings), Al Macauley (percussion and drums), and John Thompson (bass).[2] Mark Colwill was recruited when Thompson left the Asphalt Ribbons, but it is not known if he played any gigs under the Asphalt Ribbons name. They then changed their name to Tindersticks after Staples discovered a box of German matches on a Greek beach.[3]

Tindersticks started recording demo tapes in 1992, and formed their own label Tippy Toe Records to release their first single, "Patchwork", in the same year.[4]

Their self-titled first and second albums established their signature sound and received widespread critical acclaim.[2] Their live performances, often augmented by large string sections and even, on occasion, a full orchestra, were well received. The live album The 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.

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 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, indicated that change was in the air: "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."[5]

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.[6]

Staples later acknowledged that this show, while being a happy triumph, was also "tinged with sadness of the knowledge that the six of us had made all the new music we were going to make together."[7] However, it also rekindled his determination to make a new album.

Tindersticks at the Royal Festival Hall, 3 May 2008

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 studio 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 studio album The Something Rain was released in February 2012. The following tours in spring, summer (festival concerts) and autumn, showed the band now touring in their again reduced 5-member core line-up (Stuart Staples, David Boulter, Neil Fraser, Dan McKinna and Earl Harvin), supported at selected gigs by Terry Edwards on horns.

In October 2013, after missing the band's 20th anniversary the years before, the band released their tenth studio album, the retrospective Across Six Leap Years, containing ten re-recorded songs from their back-catalog and from Stuart A. Staples solo album period. In the autumn of 2013 they toured several European capital cities in their Across Six Leap Years anniversary tour, supported by Terry Edwards on saxophone and horns and Gina Foster on backing vocals.

In 2016 they released their eleventh studio album The Waiting Room, followed by an extensive tour in February to May 2016.

Their 12th studio album, No Treasure But Hope, was released in later 2019 to positive reviews,[8] with a tour planned for 2020. Ahead of these tour dates, the band released the four-song See My Girls EP along with a video for the title track.[9]

U.S. and European tour dates were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic,[10] which is why the core band focused on working on a new album during 2020. In January 2021, the band announced their thirteenth regular album Distractions, which was released on February 19 and charted at number 15 in the Offizielle Deutsche Charts' Album Top 100 in Germany.[11][12]

Soundtrack work[edit]

  • As well as their thirteen regular studio albums, the band has composed and recorded the music for seven films by the French director Claire Denis: Nénette et Boni, Trouble Every Day, The Intruder, 35 Shots of Rum, White Material, Les Salauds, High Life and Stars at Noon.
  • Band members Stuart Staples and Dan McKinna composed the accompanying orchestral soundscape to the Belgian In Flanders Fields Museum. The six-part work, played on a continuous loop in varying sections of the museum was released as the Tindersticks album Ypres in 2014.
  • Tindersticks recorded a cover version of the Four Tops song, "What Is a Man", for the theme to the British TV series The Sins. This was released as a non-album single
  • The Tindersticks song "Tiny Tears" was featured prominently in the Season 1 episode "Isabella" of HBO's The Sopranos. Additionally, a version of "Running Wild" was played during ending 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.
  • In 2009, Tindersticks' "The Organist Entertains" was featured in the closing credits of an episode of the HBO series Eastbound & Down. "Hubbards Hill" was used in the closing credits of another episode, "Chapter 9", in 2010.
  • The Tindersticks song "Cherry Blossoms" was featured in the 2009 film Unmade Beds.
  • Dickon Hinchliffe has composed film music since 2002, and has been active as a full-time composer in this field since his departure from Tindersticks. Among his work are the soundtracks to Niall Johnson's Keeping Mum (2005), Joel Hopkins' Last Chance Harvey (2008), Sophie Barthes' Cold Souls (2009), James Marsh's Red Riding: In the Year of Our Lord 1980 (2009), Project Nim (2011), and Shadow Dancer; and Debra Granik's Oscar-nominated film Winter's Bone (2010), Lennon Naked (2010), Passion Play (2011), The Fields (2011), Rampart (2011), and Hit & Miss (2012), and more recently Locke (2013), Out of the Furnace (2013), series 3 of Peaky Blinders (2016), and Leave No Trace (2018).

Musical style[edit]

Their sound is characterised by orchestral backing, lounge jazz, and soul; the orchestrations of multi-instrumentalist Dickon Hinchliffe (who left the band in 2006) and the baritone of lead vocalist Stuart A. Staples are the band's hallmarks.[13] Tindersticks augment their instrumentation with Rhodes piano, glockenspiel, vibraphone, violin, trumpet, trombone, clarinet, bassoon and Hammond organ.


Studio albums[edit]

List of studio albums, with selected chart positions
Title and details Peak chart positions
  • aka First Album
  • Year released: 1993
  • Record label: This Way Up
  • aka Second Album
  • Year released: 1995
  • Record label: This Way Up
  • Year released: 1997
  • Record label: This Way Up
37 26 34 33 41
Simple Pleasure 36 37 71 33 43
Can Our Love... 47 76
Waiting for the Moon
  • Year released: 2003
  • Record label: Beggars Banquet
76 32 77 89 11
The Hungry Saw 81 14 53 24 61 44
Falling Down a Mountain
  • Year released: 2010
  • Record label: 4AD/Constellation Records
90 21 56 40 52 55 77
The Something Rain
  • Year released: 2012
  • Record label: Lucky Dog/City Slang/Constellation
59 21 48 20 37 25 22 70 51 37
Across Six Leap Years
  • Year released: 2013
  • Record label: Lucky Dog/City Slang/Constellation
26 76 87 50 22 96
The Waiting Room
  • Year released: 2016
  • Record label: Lucky Dog/City Slang
71 13 44 49 24 15 30
No Treasure but Hope
  • Year released: 2019[24]
  • Record label: Lucky Dog/City Slang
39 107 64
99 10 66
  • Year released: 2021[12]
  • City Slang
15 80 131 2 11


List of studio albums, with selected chart positions
Title and details Peak chart positions
Trouble Every Day
  • Year released: 2001
  • Record label: Naive Records


  • "Patchwork" (Tippy Toe Records, November 1992)
  • "Marbles" (Tippy Toe/Che Records, March 1993)
  • "A Marriage Made in Heaven" (Rough Trade Singles Club, March 1993)
  • "Unwired EP" (Domino, July 1993)
  • "City Sickness" (This Way Up Records, September 1993)
  • "Marbles" (No.6 Records, September 1993)
  • "We Have All the Time in the World" (Clawfist Singles Club, October 1993)
  • "Live in Berlin" (Tippy Toe/This Way Up, October 1993)
  • "Kathleen" (This Way Up, January 1994) — UK No. 61
  • "No More Affairs" (This Way Up, March 1995) — UK No. 58
  • "Plus De Liaisons" (This Way Up, 1995)
  • "The Smooth Sounds of Tindersticks" (Sub Pop, June 1995)
  • "Travelling Light" (This Way Up, July 1995) — UK No. 51
  • "Bathtime" (This Way Up, May 1997) — UK No. 38
  • "Rented Rooms" (This Way Up, October 1997) — UK No. 56
  • "Can We Start Again?" (Island, August 1999) — UK No. 54
  • "What is a Man?" (Beggars Banquet, 2000) — UK No. 90
  • "Trouble Every Day" (Beggars Banquet, 2001)
  • "Don't Even Go There EP" (Beggars Banquet, 2003)
  • "Trojan Horse" (Tippy Toe, 2003)
  • "Sometimes It Hurts" (Beggars Banquet, 2003) — UK No. 60
  • "My Oblivion" (Beggars Banquet, 2003) — UK No. 82
  • "Friday Night" (Lucky Dog, 2005)
  • "The Hungry Saw" (Beggars Banquet, 2008)
  • "What Are You Fighting For?" (Lucky Dog, 2008 - one sided single)
  • "Boobar Come Back to Me" (Lucky Dog, 2008)
  • "Black Smoke" (Lucky Dog, 2010)
  • "Medicine" (Lucky Dog, 2012)
  • "This Fire of Autumn" (Lucky Dog, 2012)
  • "Slippin' Shoes" (Lucky Dog, 2012)
  • "Medicine / In A Secret Place" (Lucky Dog, 2012)
  • "If You're Looking For A Way Out" (Lucky Dog, 2013)
  • "We Are Dreamers!" (City Slang,2015)
  • "Were We Once Lovers?" (City Slang,2016)
  • "How He Entered " (City Slang,2016)
  • "The Amputees" (Lucky Dog, 2019)
  • "Willow"(Lucky Dog, 2019)
  • "Pinky In The Daylight" (Lucky Dog, 2019)
  • "See My Girls" (Lucky Dog, 2020)
  • "You'll Have To Scream Louder" (City Slang,2020)
  • "Man Alone (Can't Stop the Fadin')" (City Slang,2021)
  • "Both Sides Of The Blade" (City Slang,2022)


Other albums[edit]

Original soundtracks[edit]

Solo albums and side projects[edit]

  • Alasdair Macauley - 3head - 3head (Beat (Japan), 2000)
  • Stuart A. Staples - Lucky Dog Recordings 03-04 (Lucky Dog, 2005)
  • Neil Fraser - The London Dirthole Company - Fool's Errand/Stripshow (7" Vinyl) (Phono Erotic, 2005)
  • Stuart A. Staples - Leaving Songs (Beggars Banquet, 2006)
  • Stuart A. Staples - Souvenir '06 (Tour E.P.) (Lucky Dog, 2006)
  • Dickon Hinchliffe - Keeping Mum O.S.T. (Wrasse Rec, 2006)
  • David Leonard Boulter & Stuart A. Staples - Songs for the Young at Heart (Rough Trade/City Slang, 2007)
  • Dickon Hinchliffe - Married Life O.S.T. (Lakeshore Records, 2008)
  • Dickon Hinchliffe, Al Macauley - Last Chance Harvey O.S.T. (Lakeshore Records, 2008)
  • Stuart A. Staples sang on The Secret Place for Yann Tiersen's "Les Retrouvailles" (2006)
  • Stuart A. Staples also sang on This Light Holds So Many Colours for Rodrigo Leão's "A Mãe" (2009)
  • Stuart A. Staples - Arrhythmia (City Slang, Lucky Dog, 2018)

Videos and DVDs[edit]

  • Bareback - nine films by Martin Wallace (Beggars Banquet, 2004)


  1. ^ "Tindersticks | Biography, Albums, Streaming Links". AllMusic.
  2. ^ a b c Colin Larkin, ed. (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (Concise ed.). Virgin Books. pp. 1181/2. ISBN 1-85227-745-9.
  3. ^ "The official website for independent record label 4AD". 4AD. Retrieved 10 September 2020.
  4. ^ a b Strong, Martin C. (2000). The Great Rock Discography (5th ed.). Edinburgh: Mojo Books. pp. 994–995. ISBN 1-84195-017-3.
  5. ^ "stuart A. staples". 27 April 2007. Archived from the original on 27 April 2007.
  6. ^ "Barbican Centre set list (image)" (JPG). Tindersticks.de. Retrieved 29 September 2019.
  7. ^ "tindersticks :: the hungry saw". 9 June 2010. Archived from the original on 9 June 2010.
  8. ^ Hann, Michael (15 November 2019). "Tindersticks: No Treasure But Hope review – more subdued loveliness". Theguardian.com. Retrieved 22 July 2020.
  9. ^ Roberts, Christopher. "Tindersticks Share "See My Girls" Video (Plus Stream Their New "See My Girls" EP)". undertheradarmag.com. Retrieved 10 September 2020.
  10. ^ "tindersticks – tindersticks". Retrieved 10 September 2020.
  11. ^ "Offizielle Deutsche Charts - Offizielle Deutsche Charts". www.offiziellecharts.de.
  12. ^ a b "Tindersticks Announce New Album, Distractions". Treble. 18 January 2021. Archived from the original on 1 February 2021. Retrieved 5 February 2021.
  13. ^ Roberts, Chris "UNCUT ALBUM REVIEW: TINDERSTICKS - FALLING DOWN A MOUNTAIN", Uncut, retrieved 2011-06-17
  14. ^ "Tindersticks" (select "Albums" tab). Official Charts Company. Retrieved 19 November 2019.
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  16. ^ "Tindersticks". ultratop.be. Hung Medien. Retrieved 27 October 2013.[dead link]
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  18. ^ a b "Discographie Tindersticks". lescharts.com (in French). Hung Medien. Retrieved 27 October 2013.
  19. ^ "Discografie Tindersticks". dutchcharts.nl (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 27 October 2013.
  20. ^ "Tindersticks". norwegiancharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 27 October 2013.
  21. ^ "Discography Tindersticks". portuguesecharts.com. Retrieved 14 March 2021.
  22. ^ "Tindersticks". swedishcharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 27 October 2013.
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  24. ^ "No Treasure But Hope by Tindersticks". Apple Music. Retrieved 19 November 2019.
  25. ^ "Top Albums (Week 47, 2019)" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique. Retrieved 25 November 2019.
  26. ^ "Top 100 Albumes – Semana 47: del 15.11.2019 al 21.11.2019" (in Spanish). Productores de Música de España. Retrieved 27 November 2019.
  27. ^ Strauss, Matthew (17 January 2022). "Tindersticks Announce Past Imperfect - The Best of Tindersticks '92 - '21, Share Video for New Song: Watch". Pitchfork. Retrieved 21 January 2022.

External links[edit]