The Tindersticks to release The Hungry Saw
Following their reformation and the release of new Constellation album The Hungry Saw in 2008, we are pleased to announce legendary UK band Tindersticks will be bringing their inimitable sound and songcraft to North American stages for the first time in over five years. Led by the voice and lyricism of Stuart Staples, Tindersticks have always expertly conjured complex emotions and double-edged narratives through a sultry, swirling, finely orchestrated music that is gently uplifting, beautifully arranged, and shot through with dark tension.
Tindersticks have been touring extensively in Europe since the fall of 2008 to broad critical acclaim. In a live setting they mesmerize old fans and new with a profoundly literate and deeply moving song cycle that pulls from the group's majestic back catalogue while also featuring brilliant arrangements of the superb new album. The live band is a 7-piece, featuring founding members Stuart Staples (voice, guitar), David Boulter (organ, keyboards) and Neil Fraser (guitar), the new rhythm section of Dan McKinna (bass) and Thomas Belhom (drums), and Terry Edwards (brass) and Andrew Nice (cello). Together they create a kaleidoscope of gently stirring tunes balanced and emboldened by beautiful instrumental moments all topped by Staples’ uniquely poignant voice.
Artist: The Tindersticks
Title: The Hungry Saw
Release date: 09/16/08
Label: Constellation Records
Buy at: Amazon
Tindersticks are a very special band and not to be missed. It is a rare and remarkable opportunity to see Tindersticks perform live. Few groups are better positioned to deliver a thoughtful, multi-layered and enveloping soundtrack suited to this tumultuous age. Tindersticks will lift you up without insulting your intelligence or demanding escapism. Come get real with them for an evening.
Tindersticks tour dates
Wed. Mar. 4 Philadelphia, PA @ World Cafe Live
Thu. Mar. 5 Washington, D.C. @ 9:30 Club
Fri. Mar. 6 Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Masonic Temple
Sat. Mar. 7 Boston, MA @ Somerville Theatre
Mon. Mar. 9 Montreal, QC @ La Sala Rossa
Tue. Mar. 10 Toronto, ON @ Opera House
Wed. Mar. 12 Chicago, IL @ Epiphany Episcopal Church
Tindersticks press quotes
". . . the three remaining members of the band retain every last aspect of what made the band special (the inventive arrangements, the cinematic sweep of the songs, Stuart Staples' distinctive vocals) but also manage to sound rejuvenated and fresh at the same time. . . The Hungry Saw is hungrier, more dramatic, and if not exactly urgent, it feels like the work of a band with something to prove. Staples, in particular, brings something extra to both his vocals (clearer than usual and with more bite) and lyrics ("The Hungry Saw" has some of his most powerfully visceral words to date). It is one of his best performances in a long career full of them. . . Indeed, Tindersticks have never failed to satisfy anyone looking not only for sadness but also those looking for albums that make you feel and songs that will stick with you for a long time. The Hungry Saw is classic Tindersticks."
-- Tim Sendra, All Music
"the lush orchestration and sharp rhythm section give Tindersticks a buoyant quality; this may be music for a dark night of the soul, but it's equally suitable for chasing those Sunday-morning blues."
-- Saul Austerlitz, Boston Globe
"The somber strains of Nottingham, England’s Tindersticks, over the course of 16 years and seven proper releases, have helped many a sad soul navigate a rough night. . . Matched to sweeping string arrangements, [Staples'] voice can make those tragic situations sound nearly beautiful. And in addition to repairing hurt feelings, the Tindersticks also offer an object lesson on how to make do with fewer resources in these recessionary times."
-- David Dunlap, Jr., Washington City Paper
" . . . by turns warmly wistful, pin-drop lush and as dark as the noirest night, [The Hungry Saw] doesn't so much cut a moody rug as set the tarnished-gold standard." -- Kevin Harley, The Independent
"The Hungry Saw is a complex and highly introspective venture, and makes no bones about it: This is an album for Tindersticks, by Tindersticks, and steadfastly refuses to stray from this...for those who feared Waiting For The Moon was the irrevocable swansong, The Hungry Saw will provide a welcome return. Tindersticks know their craft, and can execute it with finesse." -- Al Fox, BBC
"a satisfying mix of richness and sparsity, vibrancy and gloom." -- Sylvie Simmons, Mojo
Tindersticks Hungry Saw information
Tindersticks will be releasing The Hungry Saw, their first album in five years, in North America on September 16, 2008 on Constellation. This wonderful collection of new tunes by founding Tindersticks members Stuart Staples, David Boulter and Neil Fraser, along with a large cast of additional players, has already received a warm welcome and broad critical acclaim on the other side of the pond, as the album was released in Europe this past April via Beggars Banquet.
Since Tindersticks 2003 release, Waiting For The Moon, the Nottingham-formed band have been effectively on a break. Front-man Stuart Staples released three records (two solo albums and a film soundtrack), left his adopted home of South East London to relocate to France with his wife and children, and built his own Le Chien Chanceux recording studio. After reforming to play a Don't Look Back show at the end of 2006 which honored their hugely original and influential early work, the band felt a sense of closure and decided it was time to reassess their position and motivations. That evening, proving a real catalyst for Tindersticks and giving them all a kick, led to the creation of The Hungry Saw.
The Hungry Saw finds original members Staples, Boulter and Fraser augmented by the rhythm section of Thomas Belhom (drums) and Dan McKinna (bass). A long list of guest players was also included in the sessions, including Terry Edwards on horns and brass arrangements, and Lucy Wilkins on lead violin and string arrangements. Recorded at Le Chien Chanceux studio, The Hungry Saw sessions were unlike any the band had previously known. The bulk of the recording came in a breakneck blast of just eight inspired days, with the quality and quantity of songs making for some hard choices when it came to whittle things down to a cohesive album.
There is something instantly masterful, authoritative, world-weary and wise about the Tindersticks sound - elements that are all in full and fine effect on The Hungry Saw. The new album is a true return to form for the band after a five year hiatus. While cloaked in the inimitably beautiful, tempered melancholy and delicate irony that has marked Tindersticks' past oeuvre, The Hungry Saw bristles with renewed energy, focus, experimentation and, yes, even playfulness. It is a welcome return by one of the most interesting and literate English bands of the last two decades. Constellation's North American edition of The Hungry Saw features revised artwork printed on a cardstock CD gatefold jacket, accompanied by a lyric booklet printed on fine artstock recycled paper. The LP release is on 180 gram virgin vinyl with multiple inserts. The album will also be available as a digital download this summer.
Cut to the chase, to the present, to the bone. THE HUNGRY SAW - the first Tindersticks album in five years - finds the newly stripped-down band sounding not only hungry, but lean and thrilled again. The grand melancholy and gentle humour are still abundantly present, but there’s a renewed energy, an appetite for spontaneity. Stuart Staples, buzzing, is looking forward, not back. “You’ve just got to be true to the things that move you, that drive you to make things.”
The old begat the new. After playing a Don’t Look Back show at the end of 2006 which honoured their hugely original and influential early work, Tindersticks felt a sense of closure. They reassessed their position, their motivations. “I felt the best way the band could have a future was to release the nostalgia, to let it go,” muses Stuart, now a resident of France, as he enjoys an old-fashioned pint on a visit to London. “We had to shake things up and move into the new place where we are now. That evening proved a real catalyst, gave us all a kick. It made us go: what are we doing and why are we doing it? For me, one of the things the new record’s got that I haven’t felt for a while is a freshness, with everyone involved pushing for something, wanting something, allowing new possibilities and mutations. There‘s something beating in the middle of it. It doesn‘t feel smaller to me - it feels bigger, richer.”
Since 2003’s Waiting For The Moon, the Nottingham-formed Tindersticks have been effectively on a hiatus. Stuart released two intriguing solo albums, and left his adopted manor of South East London to relocate to France with his wife and children. There, they set up Le Chien Chanceux studio in his new home, and in this informal, conducive atmosphere the revamped Tindersticks recorded what became The Hungry Saw. The sessions were unlike any the band had previously known. There were hard choices; then there was easy inspiration. The bulk of recording came in a breakneck “blast“ of just eight days (with strings and brass added later).
Tindersticks, having by necessity swelled and expanded over more than a decade - this, remember, is an entity that from humble, soft-spoken origins rose to achieving everything from playing the Royal Albert Hall to duet-ing with Isabella Rossellini - now consist of the three original members: vocalist Stuart, guitarist Neil Fraser and keyboard player David Boulter. Perhaps Tindersticks had become too big a beast. “It always had to be fed - with ideas, with money. But the biggest thing was it became difficult not to fall into specific roles within the six people. It’s hard to break out of them. It’s as if I felt I was writing songs to fit a specific shape. Now, making changes has meant keeping the feeling but looking at it from new angles. We got down to the true essence of why we made music in the first place. With this record, I know we’ve done some great stuff, we’ve really pushed it.”
THE TURNS WE TOOK TO GET HERE
Tindersticks never anticipated that their eponymous 1993 debut album would gather such attention. Album of the year in several publications, it introduced us to their dark, whirling, genre-mixing world of urban angst and wry candid smiles. “A web of wishes and wounds, a wonderful whispering gallery,” wrote this reviewer. Others eulogised “a feel of rain-wet cobblestones and French cigarettes”, and amid the cinematic and claustrophobic found something “sprawling, ambitious, romantic and spooky”. Songs like “City Sickness”, “Jism”, “Marbles” and “The Not Knowing” brimmed with honesty and passion that offered a grown-up alternative to the chirpy parochial indie-pop prevalent at the time. Hearing Stuart’s bluesy baritone and straining for comparisons, people came up with Leonard Cohen, Nick Cave and Scott Walker: the poster-boys for not grinning all the time, or, as it might be called, “common sense.” John Barry and Lee Hazelwood were also name-checked.
The second album - also, perversely, eponymous - built on those solid, flamenco-hearted foundations in ‘95, with songs like “Tiny Tears” and “No More Affairs” standing out. One colourful description hailed it as “a ghost train approaching the embers of an emerald city.”
1997’s Curtains got sexy in “Don’t Look Down,” and “The Ballad Of Tindersticks” found Stuart muttering (and we quote): “When do you lose the ability to step back and get a sense of your own ridiculousness? They're only songs...we are artists, we are sensitive and important...we nod our heads." It was an indication of how uncomfortable Tindersticks were with all the acclaim and press fever. “It was all so crazy around it, it took me by surprise,” Stuart reflects benignly now. “I never got to appreciate the early albums. They transcended themselves before we’d stepped up a level into this new unknown place. I still don’t know if people 'got' it, or whether they just got what they wanted from it. I was happy with the music, but less happy to be in front of people, and I think that added to the 'miserable' tag. We never saw ourselves as that. We felt under siege.”
1999’s Simple Pleasure proved to be arguably their most honed, heartbreaking work yet, with “I Know That Loving” bringing in shades of gospel and a smart sensitive cover of Odyssey’s “If You’re Looking For A Way Out” revealing a commanding grasp of the soul idiom. “That album was about breaking things down and starting from year zero…soul music was something we all felt inside us”. The subsequent Can Our Love... (2001) continued to fuse the more emotive of genres, always both pouring on the pain (“Tricklin’) and giving you a compensatory, knowing hug (“Chilitetime”).
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD
After Waiting For The Moon came the sea change. First, Stuart moved to France. “The thing I really needed was space. I never had a “dream” to live in rural France, but my wife and I had a feeling of being hemmed-in in London...in our studios, even in the streets. Of course you gain one thing, you lose another. But the sense of space has changed a viewpoint within me. When I wrote “Say Goodbye To The City” for Waiting For The Moon, it was almost as if it said to me: OK, it’s time to move on. And I feel now that change is a positive thing. Rather than being stuck in a certain way of working, in certain relationships in the band, in familiar spaces, it’s now: all those things don’t exist any more. We’re not trapped. Everything feels much more fragile. But when it hits and comes together, it’s really strong.”
The Hungry Saw’s title track is a devilishly addictive, sweetly sinister rumble, laced with unnerving imagery. Stuart emphasises that “There’s a kind of writing that you have little control over. But as far as I can understand that song, it’s to do with the relationship between wanting to make things and wanting to destroy things. It’s about the urge to break beautiful things into pieces.” He adds that the central section of the album - from “The Hungry Saw” through to “All The Love” - is full of songs where: “I can’t look at those and say I totally understand why I wrote them. They’re intangible...like in dreams, hard to grasp. At the same time, I find them the most fascinating.”
“I‘d say ‘Boobar’ is about a loss of innocence, and ‘Mother Dear’ is about somebody making you feel better after a nightmare. At least those are the initial settings: for me it’s more about seeing where it takes me, not over-thinking it. Then Neil and David, Thomas and Dan then Lucy and Terry, respond to those feelings, and what they do makes another sense of it...”
The intensely moving “The Other Side Of The World” aims for a “sea-scape” effect, while “Flicker Of A Little Girl” is “perhaps about my wife or perhaps about my daughter. It‘s about trust, about being able to look after something precious. But if there‘s a running theme, it‘s about here, it‘s about now.”
Praise is heaped on drummer Thomas Belhom (a soloist who’d never played with a band before) and bassist Dan McKinna, as well as the glorious contributions from strings arranger Lucy Wilkins and brass man Terry Edwards. Stuart feels his solo albums gave him a chance to crystallise what he desired from making a band record. “It’s to do with everybody in the room, and what makes that special. Everybody‘s ideas and opinions are important, it‘s not pre-determined. We all change totally when it‘s a Tindersticks record! Everybody steps up and puts their mark on it.”
“Releasing this album, after we’ve been alone with it for so long, feels great and worrying and frightening and exciting,” muses Stuart. “Tindersticks now feels not like the conclusion of something; it feels like the start of something.” They’re beginning again. See the light.
Chris Roberts, 2008
The Hungry Saw Tracklisting
2. Yesterdays Tomorrows
3. The Flicker Of A Little Girl
4. Come Feel The Sun
6. The Other Side Of The World
7. The Organist Entertains
8. The Hungry Saw
9. Mother Dear
10. Boobar Come Back To Me
11. All The Love
12. The Turns We Took
"The Hungry Saw" by The Tindersticks - release date: 09/16/08..