MICHAEL YONKERS & THE BLIND SHAKE - Period
Music freaks world-wide know now know Michael Yonkers as one of the most exciting sounds in psychedelia. However, although Michael Yonkers has been making music since the early 1960s, until the release of Microminiature Love by DeStijl Records in 2002, he was a relatively obscure figure in the Minneapolis music scene. That might have been different if Sire Records would have released his psych classic Microminiature Love in 1968, as planned, but that was not to be. Shelved for decades, the world - or a small handful of the world - got to hear folk offerings like Grimwood.
Things changed when Clint Simonson of Destijl stumbled on one of Michael’s records - Border of My Mind - in the late 90s. Brothers Jim & Mike Blaha also lucked their way into Michael Yonkers world by a chance encounter with a 7” put out by Get Hip Records. All three set off to find this fascinating musician...and they did. While Simonson heard, fell in love with, and finally released Microminiature Love, the Blaha brothers and their band The Blind Shake chanced into a jam session with Yonkers. That jam was to lead to a fantastic collaboration by Michael Yonkers with the Blind Shake entitled Carbohydrates Hydrocarbons.
Carbohydrates Hydrocarbons is not only a great collection of punk-induced psychedelia, as heavy as anything can be without sludging to death; it was also the best thing Yonkers had done since Microminiature Love, and a high point of the Blind Shake. A few years later Yonkers and the Shake got together for a brief split/collaborative album on Learning Curve Records. Good stuff but not quite as powerful as the two aforementioned monsters. Now comes Period, Michael Yonkers and the Blind Shake’s first full album together since Carbohydrates Hydrocarbons and their best yet.
Like Yonkers and the Shake’s previous work, Period is tuneful and heavy and punk and psychedelic, but there is also something more. The album has an energy which is dark but not sinister. Yonkers’ lyrics are intense, even painful, but his voice is strong. The swirl of sound created by his homemade guitar is other worldly, and when woven into the guitar/baritone guitar/drum throb and punch created by the Blind Shake, Period is nothing less than great. Seriously, after six straight months of listening to Period, I think it is a classics of heavy weirdness - a melding of Von Lmo’s Future Language, High Rise II, and Monoshock’s Walk to the Fire. Period is even worthy of a listen next to Blue Cheer’s Vincebus Eruptum. Byron Coley chose it was one of the 50 best rock & roll albums (by someone over 50 yrs old) of all time. Yeah, it is a pretty great record.