The Michael Yonkers saga is one of the weirdest off-radar trips to come out of the counter-culture. His recording career has been so far off the map that many collectors I know have gone so far as to dispute the whole tale, arguing that it’s an invention propagated by a cabal of underground heads. His 1968 debut, Microminiature Love, remains one of the cranking-est slabs of avant/garage mayhem to come out of the Midwest and his even more mysterious run of folk records through the 1970s are consistently weird. Michael And The Mumbles muddies the water even further, with an album that predates even the Microminiature Love set, recorded in 1966 by a garage band that Yonkers was fronting. It’s obviously cut from the same paisley cloth as its daddy, but with a more desperate teenage vibe. The organ work is in the classic pud-pumping style of countless Music Machine-obsessed frat boys but the atmosphere is a shade darker and more, uh, needy, than your average wiped-out suburban, thanks to Yonkers’ desperate vocal style. Plus the fidelity is so odd that it’s not really era-specific and it has a similar non-historically locatable vibe as The Bachs LP, simultaneously of time and still defiantly of it, thanks to the crude way it was recorded. So, yeah, Michael And The Mumbles is Microminiature Love played in the garage as opposed to the basement, which almost makes it even weirder. Either way, it’s another installment in one of the most perplexing and unlikely stories to come out of the first wave of DIY junk. — Volcanic Tongue
Michael Yonkers hung out in the Radio Rumpus Room garage throughout tonight’s show, and had some great stories to tell too.