It has been a bit of a nightmare week for me. Nothing going my way and my personal computer stopped working. I have most of Cloudberry stuff saved on external hard drives so that’s not much too worry, but still there are some important files, like the Excel with my record collection (!) and a bunch of rare music that I wish not to lose. Hopefully it will be fixed but then I already bought a new computer. Being honest, this computer was already a bit old but seemed to work just fine until one day decided it didn’t want to boot anymore.
So with that annoyance the week couldn’t be any worst. On top of that small details like crazy rain getting into the house thanks of an open window, losing a subway card, a fuse that blew, etc, just kept getting everything worse. How could one not get frustrated? I’ve tried not to. It is hard. Feels like it is a terrible moment. An astrologer probably would say Mercury is retrograde for me, or something like that. I spent a lot of money too on that new computer. New computers don’t seem to come with an optical drive, how would I play my music? Well, also have to buy an external CD/Blu Ray/DVD player. More expenses, all of a sudden.
Why don’t they include these drives anymore? I think Apple started with this trend. I’m so sure it is to kill the physical form of music, this way they just can get richer and richer with MP3 and streaming sales. Ah! That must be it. I’m not being cynical now.
So without a computer, now I’m on work’s computer, I haven’t been able to be on top of indiepop news. Has there been any?
I will start posting The Seashells 7″s starting tomorrow. So if you placed a pre-order you’ll get the record before its release day on November 10th. Very excited with this release. Now it is time to get the Pale Spectres 7″ pressed and the Some Other Day CD too. And then we’ll see how things are.
I did buy some records now that I remember. I placed a very expensive order from Saint Etienne online shop. I ordered the 12″ Foxbase Alpha vinyl boxed set that includes so many goodies, aside from the original album it comes with “Remains of the Day” an exclusive album that gathers ten rare “Foxbase Alpha” era recordings, a 7″ featuring the unreleased version of “Kiss and Make Up” featuring singer Moira Lambert, a 28 page book, three black and white portraits, trading cards, digital downloads and more. 50 pounds, plus crazy more pounds for shipping to the US. Oh well, I think it will be worth it. And also a black Foxbase Alpha t-shirt. Of course. When I ordered I didnt know I had to buy a new computer, so it felt like I was just treating myself. Now I feel a like a spender!
What about you? Have you made any good indiepop discoveries lately? Or bought anything worth recommending? Hopefully next week it is better, it will be the last week post before I go on vacations to Thailand (yay!).
Les Tender Whiskers. I had never heard them. It was the end of the first decade of this century. 2008. I met one of my best and favourite friend, Nana. She would introduce me Les Tender Whiskers.
I’ve written many times before about her, about our friendship, roadtrips in Germany, festivals in England and more. It has been a while now since I saw her. 2014 in Berlin for the Throw That Beat in the Garbagecan! reunion. Time flies, but it feels like yesterday since we hanged out.
When I arrived in Essen she had some records waiting for me. One of them was a 7″ by Les Tender Whiskers. The 7″ included a song that for me it means my friend Nana, I can only picture her when I hear that song: “Marmalade Monster”. She would also include this song on a some CDR compilations she made for me. I suspect she always included this song on all of her compilations. It must have been one of her favourite songs ever.
Then on the same 7″ I would find out that there was a German version of this song. I wonder which one she heard first? I also learned that they had more releases and I would track them down, only now missing their last 7″ which I’m sure I’ll find it sooner than later.
There was never much online about this obscure band. They did release a bunch of records, but they were on smaller labels, not that familiar to the casual indiepop fan. But let’s start with Discogs perhaps?
Tender Whiskers was a performance act/simulated indie pop band from Germany that consisted of mainly non musicians & record shop employees with a 70s art rock background.
They pretended to be French and became infamous for abusing French bread onstage while playing tape loops of DeGaulle speeches at ear-splitting volume.
We know Peter Schlump from bands like Horror Vacui and Sandy & Boris was the one behind the Eustache Muscardin name. Elke Neugebauer was the one behind Sardella Catwhisker. Who were the rest? Maybe we’ll find out.
I actually at first thought they were French. As I said, I didn’t know much and I didn’t investigate. Les Tender Whiskers just meant my friend and not much else. It is very interesting how a song can create such vivid memories, how you can associate them to someone. I’m sure it happens to you, no? There are songs that remind me of different friends. Songs that I saw them singing like crazy at gigs, or even songs from their own bands. Say when I hear The Garlands I don’t really think of my friend Christin even if she sings all songs. It is only when the song “Open Arms” starts playing that a bunch of memories come to mind. It’s odd.
Les Tender Whiskers’ “Marmalade Monster” came out in 1993 on Mermaid Records (FRIGID 009). This same label had already released records by 14 Iced Bears or Yukio Yung. Some indiepop stuff. The single included three songs, on the A side just “Marmalade Monster” on the B side, “Who Loves You” and “Marmaladen Monster”. The producer for the record was Jean-Luc LeWhirl, real name Johannes Wöhrl. Olibier Dubois appears on the first two songs only. While Eustache and Sardella on all three. We can track down Olibier and find out his real name was Marc Frank (who seems to have his own Compost Records).
On the back of the sleeve we see a small story for each of the songs, definitely worth the read, very entertaining.
“Tell Me Faster” was going to be released in 1994 on the Teenage Kicks label (KICK 005). This label was based in Augsburg, in Germany, and had released some interesting indiepop like Mondfähre or Buddy Love visits Klaus Cornfield. This 7″ came out in different versions, on black vinyl, on blue vinyl and also on red vinyl. The songs included were “Tell Me faster (Whiskers of Mu Mu Mix)”, “Iss Die Marmelade” and “Hey Hey We’re The Whiskers”. The last one a cover of The Pooh Sticks “Hey Hey We’re The Pooh Sticks”.
The next year, in 1995 they release their last 7″, limited to 150 copies. It came out in Teenage Kicks (KICK 007) and it was a single sided clear vinyl. The songs included on that one side were “The Flower Song” and “Ice-Blue Pole”. On the credits we find Hubert d’Aussisse, his real name being Nic Cramer. Also T. Zilly who seems to have been Tico Zamora, an American guitarist from Washington D.C.
There’s a compilation appearance, from 1993. It is a tape, a promo tape from Mermaid Records. It is just called “A Mermaid Records Promotional Device” and it includes 6 songs by Les Tender Whiskers, 6 by Mondfähre and 12 by The Bartlebees. The songs by Les Tender Whiskers are different to the ones on the 7″ mostly, “Es Liegt Nur An Dir”, “Marmalade Monster”, “Who Loves You”, “Road Works in Communist Town”, “No Tape” and “Fara-Dodger’s Guide Thru’ the Galaxy”.
Their last release as far as I know is the one I finally got two weeks ago, the album “Mosterpussy” on Mermaid Records (BUM 16). It includes 10 songs: “Tell Me Faster”, “Marmaladen Monster”, “On Tape”, “The Flower Song”, “Who Loves You”, “Brecht Communiste”, “Iss Die Marmelade”, “Ice Blue Pole”, “Sag Es Mir”, “Im Wagen Vor Mir”. The first song being a Daniel Johnston cover and songs 3 and 5 being Pooh Sticks covers.
More credits here that we can figure out their real names. Florella was Marion Wöhrl, perhaps Johannes sister? Marigold is Tanja Mayr and Serge Manzaresque is Marian Tögel (from bands like Creeping Candies). And lastly Ambrose Libre being Ambros Brux who has worked on a project titled Nejet Nok.
The tape I mentioned earlier, the Mermaid Records promo seems to have been uploaded to Youtube! That is good news. The songs are actually not recorded in studio by they are from a live session. Please enjoy it here! So cool to hear “Mermeladen Monster” live!
Now onto compilation appearances. On Discogs we find four. The first one from 1992 on Mermaid Records’ “Mermaid Employee of the Month: Gustav Sackmüller”. On it they appear with “Hey Hey We’re The Pooh Sticks”. The catalog number for this CD compilation combo with 7″ vinyl and cassette was MIRABELL 665. Who was Gustav Sackmüller by the way?
Second appearance is in 1992 on “He Didn’t Even Draw a Fish on My Shower Curtain” CD compilation on Mermaind (MIRABELL 001). They contribute the same song as before.
In 1994 they will contribute “Tell Me Now Is It Really Love? (Light Mix)”, a cover of Daniel Johnston, to the compilation “The Onion Most Dangerous Game”, a box set that included a bunch of 7″s on the French label Aliénor Records (Alien Lambda).
Their last appearance dates of 1995, on the Candybars 7″ compilation on Little Teddy Recordings. The song included was “Ice Blue Pole”.
And that’s all I could dig about this mysterious German band. Which makes me ask the question, where in Germany were they from? I know so very little about their story. Their discography we know, but are we missing anything? Is there more unreleased material? Who knows. Would be great to find out more about them. Do you happen to remember Les Tender Whiskers?