Sunday, April 19, 2015

tindersticks (II)

Tindersticks took their dark romantic melancholy even further down the world weary road with the sad sublime chamber pop of this tragicomic triumph.   The Nottingham group began as Asphalt Ribbons in 1987, changing their name to Tindersticks in 1991 after Stuart Staples found a box on matches on the beach.  They formed their own Tippy Toe Records to release their first single before signing with Andrew Lauder's This Way Up label to record their eponymous debut album.

They recorded their self-titled second album at  Conny's Studio in Cologne; and in London at Abbey Road Studios and Orinoco.  The sessions were produced by  Tindersticks and Ian Caple and featured Stuart Staples on vocals and guitar;   David Boulter on keyboards, organ, and accordion;   Neil Fraser on guitar;   Dickon Hinchliffe on violin, guitar, and strings;  Mark Colwill on bass guitar;   and Alistair Macaulay on drums and percussion;   with  Ben Chappell adding cello on "My Sister";  Terry Edwards on trumpets, saxophones and French horns;   Biff Harrison playing saw on "My Sister" and "Vertrauen III";   Mike Kearsey contributing trombone on "My Sister";  Isabel Monteiro doing the whisper on "My Sister";   Carla Torgerson singing duet vocals on "Travelling Light";  Sendrine providing French translation and narration on "Mistakes";  string quartet on "El Diablo en el Ojo" and "She's Gone", arranged by Tindersticks and Terry Edwards:    Ann Louise Child, Calina de la Mare, Lucy Wilkins and Sarah Wilson;  and the string section on "A Night In", "Tiny Tears", "Talk to Me", "Travelling Light" and "Mistakes", arranged by Tindersticks and Terry Edwards, organised and conducted by Rosie Lindsell:     violins by Heather Broadbent, Vic Evans, Zillah Hawley, Suzanna Horne, Tanja Housten, Becky Leetch, Caroline Luckhurst, Kate MacKenzie, Suzannah Marsden, Jeff Moore, Julie Nicholau, Louise Walters, Amanda Westgarth, and Lucy Wilkins;      violas by Hannah Bliss, Maritza Bulcock, Ann Louise Child, Kate Fraser, and Samie Pullman;     and cellos by Clare Parkholm, Annabelle Simmons, Andrew Skrimshire and Sarah Wilson.     'Tindersticks' went to number thirteen on the UK album chart.  

Staples says;   "Anybody can write songs.  If you've got a vague grasp of the guitar and you speak English, it's the easiest thing in the world.  What matters, I think, is the attitude behind the music.  I'm not too worried what a record sounds like.  It's the feeling I get from it - people will compare us to Lee Hazlewood or someone; but the way I see it, he's no more of an influence than The Velvet Underground or Flaming Lips...people who are, or were, free with music, who weren't scared of music...All the original ideas we have for songs or lyrics are honest ideas.  It is based on self-expression.  But we do appreciate the element of theatre that's necessary when you perform.  And the element of comedy...There are things on the first album we found hilarious, but nobody else seemed to think so.  Not belly laughs, just, I don't know, where we put a certain glockenspiel part or something...Well, maybe it's just our sense of humour...Maybe it's a self-protection thing when you come to write it down.  You can't be totally straight when you write down your feelings, you have to take a step back."

"My Sister"

Do you remember my sister?
How many mistakes did she make with those never blinking eyes?
I couldn't work it out.
I swear she could read your mind,
Your life, the depths of your soul at one glance.
Maybe she was stripping herself
Away, saying

Here I am, this is me
I am yours and everything about me, everything you see,
If only you look hard enough
I never could.

Our life was a pillow-fight.
We'd stand there on the quilt,
Our hands clenched ready.
Her with her milky teeth,
So late for her age,
And a Stanley knife in her hand.
She sliced the tires on my bike and I couldn't forgive her.

She went blind at the age of five.
We'd stand at the bedroom window and she'd
Get me to tell her what I saw.
I'd describe the houses opposite, the little
Patch of grass next to the path,
The gate with its rotten hinges forever wedged
Open that Dad was always going to fix.
She'd stand there quiet for a moment.
I thought she was trying to develop the images in her own head.
Then she'd say

I can see little twinkly stars,
Like Christmas tree lights in faraway windows.
Rings of brightly colored rocks
Floating around orange and mustard planets.
I can see huge tiger striped fishes
Chasing tiny blue and yellow dashes,
All tails and fins and bubbles.
I'd look at the gray house opposite, and close the curtains.
She burned down the house when she was ten.
I was away camping with the scouts.
The fireman said she'd been smoking in bed
The old story, I thought.
The cat and our mum died in the flames,
So Dad took us to stay with our Aunt in the country.
He went back to London to find us a new house.
We never saw him again.

On her thirteenth birthday she fell down the well in our
Aunt's garden and broke her head.
She'd been drinking heavily.
On her recovery her sight
Returned, a fluke of nature everyone said.
That's when she said she'd never blink again.
I would tell her when she started at me,
With her eyes wide and watery,
That they reminded me of the well she fell into.
She liked this, it made her laugh.

She moved in with a gym teacher when she was fifteen,
All muscles he was.
He lost his job when it all came out,
And couldn't get another one.
Not in that kind of small town.
Everybody knew everyone else's business.
My sister would hold her head high, though.
She said she was in love.
They were together for five years until one day he lost his temper.
He hit over the back of the neck with his bullworker.
She lost the use of the right side of her body.
He got three years and was out in fifteen months.
We saw him a while later,
He was coaching a non-league football team in a Cornwall seaside town.
I don't think he recognized her.
My sister had put on a lot of weight from being in a chair all the time.
She'd get me to stick pins
And stub out cigarettes in her right
Hand. She'd laugh like mad
Because it didn't hurt.
Her left hand was pretty
Good though. We'd have arm wrestling matches,
I'd have to use both arms and
She'd still beat me.

We buried her when she was 32.
Me and my Aunt, the vicar, and the man who dug the hole.
She said she didn't want to be cremated
And wanted a cheap coffin so the worms could get to her quickly.
She said she liked the idea of it,
Though I thought it was because of what happened to the cat, and our mum.

"Travelling Light"

There are places I don't remember
There are times and days they mean nothing to me
I've been looking through some of them old pictures
They don't serve to jog my memory

I'm not waking in the morning staring at the walls these days
I'm not getting out the boxes spread all over the floor
I've been looking through some of them old pictures
Those faces they mean nothing to me no more

I travel light
You travel light
Everything I've done
You say you can justify, you travel light
I can't pick them out, I can't put them in this saddle bag
Some things you have to lose along the way
Times are hard, I'll only pick them out, wish I was going back
Times are good you'll be glad you ran away

Do you remember how much you loved me?
You say you have no room in that thick old head
Well it comes with the hurt and the guilt, and the memories
If I had to take them with me I would never get from my bed
There's a crack in the roof where the rain pours through
That's the place you always decided to sit
Yeah I know I'm there for hours, the water running down my /your face
Do you really think you keep it all that well hid?
No but I travel light
You don't travel light
Everything I've done
It's just a lie, you don't travel light
I'm traveling light
No you don't travel light
I travel light
No, no, you don't travel light
I'm traveling light
You don't travel light

full album:

All songs written and arranged by Tindersticks.

side 1
00:00 El Diablo en el Ojo
03:33 A Night In
09:57 My Sister
side 2
18:08 Tiny Tears
23:54 Snowy in F♯ Minor
26:22 Seaweed
31:37 Vertrauen II
side 3
34:56 Talk to Me
39:57 No More Affairs
43:47 Singing
44:45 Travelling Light
side 4
49:36 Cherry Blossoms
53:57 She's Gone
57:26 Mistakes
1:03:10 Vertrauen III
1:05:31 Sleepy Song

live at 'The Bloomsbury Theatre 12.3.95'

0:00 El Diablo en el Ojo
3:38 A Night In
10:20 Talk To Me
15:23 She's Gone
19:15 No More Affairs
23:15 City Sickness
27:15 Vertrauen II
30:20 Sleepy Song
34:45 Jism
41:00 Drunk Tank
45:33 Mistakes
51:07 Tiny Tears
57:02 Raindrops
1:04:00 For Those...

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