February 23, 2021

Mike Dillon: Quarantine Trilogy 'Shoot The Moon,' 'Suitcase Man' and '1918'

When the pandemic hit vibraphonist and percussionist Mike Dillon found himself hung out to dry. Performing live is his bread and butter - playing 100+ shows in a year, wowing his audiences with his blend of punk, jazz and funk. He had to find a way to redirect his energy and recorded three full albums, releasing them via Bandcamp as digital downloads. Now Shoot The Moon, Suitcase Man and 1918 will come to vinyl via Royal Potato Family.

Mike Dillon & Punkadelick: Shoot The Moon

The first album of the trilogy is the loudest and most political of the trilogy. Mike Dillon is absolutely livid, taking aim at the QAnon idiots and other right-wing nutjobs (Qool Aid Man). ZZ Top meets jazz in Psilocybin Donut, a nightmare served up as a good time rcoker (somewhere Hunter S. Thompson is giving this one a big thumbs up). Even when he slows down for the lounge, ambient instrumental Apocalyptic Daydreams it is crystal clear that something is very wrong and it might get worse.

With long-time collaborators Matt Chamberlain, Steven Bernstein, Nicholas Payton, Robbie Seahag Mangano, Jean-Paul Gaster and Nick Bockrath having his back Shoot The Moon is turned into dark and foreboding sonic trip. Avant-garde mets funky post-psych funk and rock. Dancing is allowed as well, but good luck trying to keep up with the album's closer, the Captain Beefheart-alike Open Up.

Pre-order the vinyl (100 copies) here.

  1. Drivin' Down The Road
  2. Camus Sound Asleep
  3. Apocalyptic Daydreams
  4. Qool Aid Man
  5. Shoot The Moon
  6. Psilocybin Donut
  7. What Tony Says
  8. Try To Remember
  9. Further Adventures in Misadventures
  10. Open Up

Mike Dillon & The Bad Decisions: Suitcase Man

Mike Dillon & The Bad Decisions: Suitcase Man

Don't let the name of the band fool you. This is basically a solo album, with fellow percussionist and singer Tiffany Lamson of indie pop group Givers pitching in with some backing vocals. Dillon is a subdued mood on this album, fighting off his fears and trying to cope with being lonely and down. He is brutally honest, sharing his doubts about being on the road all the time before the shit the fan. The title track is as close as he is going to get trying to pull off a Tom Waits: "Dropped my bags on the floor // instruments by the door // My home is a chevy van // guess that why she calls me // Suitcase Man".

Was it all worth it? Should he try to turn his life around and settle down? Being unfaithful always ends badly (On The Lamb). In hindsight running wild as a kid had its dark side (Tiny Pink Asses) as well. And getting fiercely drunk did not turn him into James Brown (Empty Bones), even when the devil tried to convince him otherwise.

Pre-order the blue vinyl (40 copies) here.

  1. Suitcase Man
  2. Turkish Rose
  3. Empty Bones
  4. On The Lamb
  5. Show Me Your Hands
  6. 989 Miles
  7. Roly Poly
  8. Tiny Pink Asses
  9. Matthew

Mike Dillon: 1918

Mike Dillon: 1918

In the closing chapter of the trilogy Dillon delivers an album that include a handful of choice instrumentals, sittting alongside the anger and despair that are the main inspiration for his lyrics. Pinocchio is the gentle opener, inviting the listener to pay attention to the details, Pelagic is more upbeat and cheerful, while March Of The Coviditios is relentless and dark (it could be used as a soundtrack for the storming of the United States Capitol). The title track is a Zappa-esque excursion, paying tribute to Ruth Underwood's gift for melody. According to Dillon there a lot parallels about the current state of the world and 1918, the year where the Spanish flu began to take hold.

The quirky rhythms in Quarantine Booty Call play catch with Dillon's raspy vocals, a funky call to arms. The Tubes were never a political band, but if they were they would have killed with left-field cabaret glam rocker A Word To The Virus and the slow, but intense Covid Kumbia.

Mike Dillon: vibraphone, percussion, vocals
Nathan Lambertson: bass and synths on "March of The Covidiots," "Covid Cumbia" & "A Word To the Virus"
Brooks Hubbert: guitar on "Grandfather Clock" and "Mad Hatter"
Cliff Hines: guitar on "Covid Cumbia"
Shane Theriot: guitar on "Pelagic"
JJ Jungle; bass and vocals on "Quarantine Bootie Call" and vocals the on "Mad Hatter"
Earl Harvin: drums on "Mad Hatter," "Quarantine Bootie Call" and "Grandfather Clock"

Pre-order the vinyl (100 copies) here.

  1. Pinocchio
  2. Mad Hatter
  3. Pelagic
  4. A Word To The Virus
  5. March Of The Coviditios
  6. Quarantine Booty Call
  7. Dubious
  8. Super Spreader
  9. Covid Kumbia
  10. 1918
  11. Grandfather Clock

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