Mike Dillon Band, Urn (Royal Potato Family)

Mike Dillion, Urn, Album Cover

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. [iframe class="spotify-right" src="https://embed.spotify.com/?uri=spotify:album:0MAYeSLmG8KhUM2VIRAaMQ" width="300" height="380" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true"]Buy on iTunesBuy on AmazonThe 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. Dillon’s vibraphone melds with Carly Myers’ trombone to create a sense of space that often changes up and gets filled with the distorted guitar and bass of Cliff Hines. Dillon’s lyrics have a satirical bent, and he raps them with a snarl and a sneer whether he’s describing club scenes in the funky “Leather On” or negative repetitive behavior patterns in “Saturn Returns.” The instrumentals keep up the intensity on the 1970s cosmikgroove sound of “Demons” and reggaefied “Ding Dong The Party’s Over.” Even though such comparisons are but to impart a sense of the music, it is unique unto itself. The ensembles that use trombone, guitar, and vibraphone as front line instruments are rare, and those that do don’t process and add to the mix as does this band. Few musicians combine the chops and vision of Mike Dillon, and there are very few records that take these instruments and vocals and make them coalesce in a coherent way. The Mike Dillon Band on Urn has its own sound, and that makes for a recording that doesn’t let up.