JULY 2020 - review of new album "Rosewood"
“Dillon has crafted a hypnotic album that pulls you deep inside a percussive, sylvan-toned dreamscape.”
ALL ABOUT JAZZ
JULY 2020 - review of new album "Rosewood"
"A tour de force of melody and rhythm, right from its alternately fun and foreboding opener....."
"It is his evolved sound, moving from free form punk-inspired jazz to more melodic and focused pieces that make Rosewood a clear success and a step forward in his career."
"The breadth and sheer number of different voices Mike Dillon has at his command is impressive in just about any setting. On his new solo recording, inspired largely by the music of Elliott Smith, it’s downright staggering"
ALL ABOUT JAZZ
"As idiosyncratic as Mike Dillon's work has been with Critters Buggin' and Garage a Trois, it's well-nigh impossible not to fall under the spell of the music he creates all by himself on Functioning Broke."
"Leave it to an unpredictable percussion wizard to pay tribute to a swinging mid-century tiki lounge musician and one of the saddest of the sad and sensitive singer-songwriters at the same time"
ALL ABOUT JAZZ
"Dillon is the rare musician who can take tropes from any number of disparate musical worlds-metal and brazillian samba school for example-mash them together and create something truly fresh and new."
"The music of Mike Dillon combines many sources, yet comes out sounding unto itself. This latest report from the mind of Mike moves all over the map. Overall, it is punk rock as played by great instrumentalists, with the lead voices being Dillon’s mallet instruments and Carly Myers’ trombone. It is most reminiscent of the Minutemen with its commitment to all styles and ability to play them and of the Dead Kennedys in its attitude and phrasing."
"With this disc, multi-instrumentalist Mike Dillon (Garage A Trois, Les Claypool, Critters Buggin) may have given birth to a new musical genre: Afro-Brazilian-punk-jazz-art-rock.
SPLINTERS & CANDY
"When jazz hits you in the face with a stack of bricks, Mike Dillon is there twisting chaos into order before turning it back on itself again."
"Mike Dillon delivers a sublime elixir of stealthy jazz vibes, street poetry raps and post-punk sonic carnage."
PITTSBURGH CITY PAPER
"A body in motion tends to stay in motion, at least when Mike Dillon is supplying the dance music. The psychedelic rock group shakes and gyrates with heavy, vibraphone driven grooves, delivering a steady stream of infectious rhythms and hypnotic percussion."
“Mike Dillon’s music is not your granddaddy’s bebopping, finger-snapping, shades and beret, too-cool-for-school jazz. It has an intensity and attitude taken from punk rock and a slightly dirty, loud sound that is found more on rock ‘n’ roll and electronica records. The songs have a deceptive complexity — they sound simple in that you can sing and dance to them, but they change textures and parts on a dime. Few musicians combine the chops and vision of Mike Dillon.”
Review from Bear Creek Music Festival 2013
• 2018 Big Easy Award (Gambit) - WINNER Best Rock
• 2016 Big Easy Award (Gambit) - WINNER Best Male Performer
• 2015 Drummies Artist Awards - WINNER - Rock/Pop/Hip-Hop Percussionist
• 2015 Drummies Artist Awards - Runner up - Percussionist of The Year
• 2014 Downbeat Critics Choice -- Vibraphone
• 2014 Downbeat Readers Poll Winner - Vibraphone
• 2012, 2013 and 2014 Downbeat Rising Star
Mike Dillon & Punkadelick makes its recorded debut with Inflorescence, an album of heady, instrumental rock highlighting a band deep in the throes of creative freedom, road tested and wild. Consisting of 10 tracks in 42-minutes, it’s an expansive, focused, and fearless collection, representing a world where Duke Ellington and Augustus Pablo rub shoulders with crate-digger exotica, the freak-funk of Parliament and the ‘anything fits’ outsider ethos of acid-fried punks like The Meat Puppets.
A trio featuring Mike Dillon (Ricki Lee Jones, Ani DiFranco, Les Claypool) on vibraphone, marimba, Prophet 6, congas, and bongos, Brian Haas (Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey) on Fender Rhodes, piano, bass Moog and melodica and Nikki Glaspie (Beyonce, Nth Power) on drums, cymbals and vocals, Punkadelick is the unified vision of six hands creating a world that often sounds like the work of an ensemble three times the size.
During 2020 and 2021, while many music venues were still shuttered, the group began touring, sweating their way through cuts Dillon and Haas had composed during quarantine writing sessions. Locking in on stage, it quickly became clear the band was functioning at a level that made the hair on their arms stand at attention—even for three live music veterans accustomed to life on the road.
“It became obvious to let this become a collaboration,” Dillon says. “This is really something all three of us are doing because we have so much love for one another and a love for the music that we started creating.”
“There’s only three of us, but we move together like a big, nasty school of fish,” Haas adds, laughing.
During the tail end of a 2021 tour, the band booked time to record with engineer—and functioning fourth band member—Chad Meise, and Inflorescence sprouted. Opener “Desert Monsoon,” sets the stage with a spiritual-jazz intro of organ, vibraphone, percussion, and wordless vocal coos before crackling to life as a swaggering funk strut. The title track, and “Pandas,” dig into thick dub textures built around Glaspie’s drumming and Haas’s subwoofer-straining bass synths.
“Apocalypse Daydream,” which appeared as an exotic head-nodder on 2020’s Shoot the Moon (titled “Apocalyptic Daydreams”) is reborn as a meatier jazz-rock slab where Dillon and Haas circle each other like Television performing as a lounge act on a cruise ship sailing seas of psilocybin.
Bending ears and surprising audiences has long been part of Dillon’s MO and Glaspie and Haas act as perfect foils for forays into the weird. While Dillon bristles at the “punk jazz” tag, punk rock and jazz remain core influences to the band, in sound and spirit.
“We’re students of the titans of music. We grew up listening to punk and rock ’n’ roll but we also love instrumental music—particularly the forefathers of Black American Music. In our minds, Led Zeppelin and Milt Jackson, Parliament-Funkadelic and The Minutemen, The Bad Brains and Frank Zappa are interconnected influences,” explains Dillon. “All that comes together in how we approach instrumental creative music. Both punk rock and jazz are not prefab things, they’re about the freedom. We have no genre restriction in this band, and people who get it really respect that.”
Maybe the greatest example of the band’s punk-steeped sonic free-for-all is “Slowly But Surely,” a track Dillon told Haas to compose as if he were “writing for Queens of the Stone Age.” The song plays like QOTSA translated to piano runs, vibes and deeply swinging drums—big-riff stoner rock upended and played with huge smiles by America’s premier proponents of the unclassifiable.
“We try to challenge our listeners,” Dillon says. “We’re touching a nerve with people who maybe don’t want to see the same songs done in the same variations all night long,” continues Dillon. “Part of my mission is taking these instruments that are primarily designed for the orchestral or jazz world and taking them to the rock world, the club world, running them through pedals and effects. We’re not afraid to be soft, or to surprise. That’s what we all do in this band — get beyond our own conceptions of what music is supposed to be.”
“We are so blessed and lucky to do what we do for a living — it’s apparent in the music,” Glaspie chimes in. “It doesn’t matter how the day is going, but we get to the club, set up and crush the gig, all the other stuff doesn’t matter. We’re likeminded individuals who love life, love people and want to spread happiness.”
Mike Dillon & Punkadelick’s Inflorescence was released on January, 2023 via independent record label, Royal Potato Family.