Tindersticks Infuse a Playlist With Bittersweet Memories

The English pop band's lead singer, Stuart Staples, selects songs from David Bowie, Nils Frahm and more.

Photo Credit: Richard Dumas

Playing DJ this week is Stuart Staples of the beloved U.K. band Tindersticks. Their literate, atmospheric pop has graced the soundtrack of “The Sopranos,” and of six films by the auteur Claire Denis. The band just celebrated their 25th anniversary by releasing their 11th studio LP “The Waiting Room.” Stuart gives us a playlist with a touch of international flair for sentimental evening.


David Bowie – “Fantastic Voyage”

I have, I suppose, a large-ish kitchen. A stone kitchen. Not very tidy. It’s kind of higgledy-piggledy and it has a record player. And that’s kind of like where people come in and start an evening, I suppose.

My first song will be “Fantastic Voyage,” which is the opening song off “Lodger,” my favorite David Bowie album.

When I was a kid and I listened to Bowie, it was probably my least favorite Bowie album. And, gradually, it’s kind of risen to the surface. It’s so relaxed with its creativity. It has such a delicate touch.

There’s so much of Bowie’s work that has touched me and he is a huge reason that made us want to play music. It’s like, a voice of an old friend.

Nils Frahm – “Says”

By this time, maybe we’d be around the table eating. And I’m picking a song called “Says” from this album called “Spaces” by a German musician called Nils Frahm. He’s a soloist, a solo piano player, experimenting with different loops and machines, synthesizers. But he’s still a one-man show.

It starts off so, so gently and it repeats… for a long time. And it really brings you in to this place before it releases and it changes. And when that release comes, it’s very small, but it means so much.

If I’m sitting around drinking and talking with my friends, I don’t want something to be too aggressive. And I think with the Nils Frahm record, they would go, “What’s this? What’s going on?” And I think that’s part of getting together as well is exchanging ideas. You know, you don’t just want to play the music that everybody knows like all the time. You want to kind of say, “Check this out.”

Les Rita Mitsouko – “Marcia Baila”

I think the best dinner parties we have always end up with quite a lot of dancing and maybe people have drunk a little too much and things start to become a bit more spontaneous. I’ve chosen a song “Marcia Baila” by Les Rita Mitsouko. It’s got a great synth bass line and it kind of mixes that with strange kind of acoustic guitar.

It’s kind of French pop music at its very best, I think. It’s full of attitude. I would hope that there is a moment where this song starts and there is a bunch of people on their feet.

Tindersticks – “Hey Lucinda”

I’m not the kind of person that would play our own songs at a dinner party. But I think, “Hey Lucinda” could be a good song for a dinner party.

I spent weekend in Montreal with my good friend Lhasa de Sela and we went to the studio and we sang this song together, and we had a great time. And unfortunately, not long after this, she became ill and we eventually lost her. Had to put all of her songs away for a while and not listen to them. But four years later, I started to think about this song again and when I listened to it, I heard this shared moment that we had. And realized that, “Oh, it just needed glockenspiel notes.” We needed so little.



…when you subscribe to our weekly newsletter. You’ll find all sorts of good stuff there like bonus audio, musings on culture from our staff, photos of our guests and co-hosts being ridiculous, and new cocktail recipes. Sign up below!