Oh Sees’ frontman John Dwyer pays tribute to cult psych artist Michael Yonkers; Hopefully it’ll make you want to seek out the original artifact

Minneapolis’ Michael Yonkers is a cult legend who pushed psych-rock further into the red than many had before on his 1968 album Microminiature Love, which was reissued, some 30 years later, first by Dej Stijl and then Sub Pop Records. On that and other albums, you can hear the seeds of the early ’00s garage rock revival, and Yonkers was a clear influence on groups like Black Lips, Oh Sees and current Minneapolis band The Blind Shake with whom he’s made records.

Oh Sees frontman John Dwyer is an especially big fan and has just released an album of Yonkers covers under his Damaged Bug solo alias, though in this case he’s backed by current Oh See Tom Dolas, and former bandmates Nick Murray and Brigid Dawson. “This record was recorded as a way to reboot and reconnect with some songs that have heavily inspired me over the years,” says Dwyer. “It was hard to pick from his vast catalog, so I just sort of jumped in, and these are the tunes that stuck to the wall.”

I don’t claim to know much about Yonkers, but this record is good. Unlike some of the other Damaged Bug records (which can be on the esoteric side), Bug Out Yonkers is very approachable and could easily pass for an Oh Sees record. You can tell Dwyer is having a blast with this and the production / arrangements are great, with out-there synths and the occasional flute solo alongside wigged out guitar work. Originally a Record Store Day 2020 exclusive, Bug Out Yonkers has been bumped up to a proper release, which is good. If you’re like me, it will send you immediately to the internet to learn more about Yonkers’ wild world.

Damaged Bug – Bug Out Yonkers (Castle Face)

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