EP: Killer Diller – Extended Play 2

Michigan has a long history of great ska bands, with the likes of the Mustard Plug, Suicide Machines (and this J Navarro and the Traitors and other various projects), the Write-Ups, and countless other bands. One thing that almost every one of these bands has in common- outside of geography- is a strong sense of morality and justice, and an urge to use their music to spread these messages. Without a doubt, these trends define Killer Diller- a rocksteady and trad ska band out of Detroit. 

“Extended Play 2” is the aptly named follow up to last year’s debut- “Extended Play”. The album begins with “Every Damn Day”- a nice laid back trad ska track with just a touch of classic rock guitars about being a community and coming together to help everyone overcome the struggles we all face every damn day. The chorus features nice gang vocals that really brings home the message of coming together. 

The second track switches from Chris Martinez as the primary vocalists to Cara Stefanides, and while both songs feature plenty of backing and gang vocals, the switch from masc to femme primary adds a great texture shift. “Pendulum” is a much more danceable song and adds a lot of life to the album. The classic rock guitar is switched out for some added brass and it gets the feet moving a little more. 

Then we jump up into “Accountability Ska”. The horns are bigger and so are the drums. The horns are much more prominent, and it’s time to pick it up. It’s time for some accountability. The messaging is as strong as ever, but the music has kicked it way up. The keys, upstrokes, the vocal duet and solos In this song are top notch. Everything about this track is pure ska gold. 

The album ends with a pair of instrumental tracks that bring the tempo back down a little with “Carry On” and then “Carry On (dub)” – a dub variant of the same track to show off some versatility. These tracks definitely do a good job of showing off the chops over nice trad ska rhythms, great bass guitar, plenty of chances for horns to pop in and carry the load, lots of opportunity for a little guitar soloing and even a bit of noodling. It feels like a nice track to jam to, and sway your hips while doing band introductions or while to bring concert-goers to the stage while they prepare to get you moving with their previous tracks from the album. The dub version of the track features more opportunities for the drummer to shine. It’s just a nice pair of tracks to close out the album.

For the ska purists out there, this could easily be one of the best EPs to come out this year, and should definitely be on everyone’s list of albums to listen to.

Written by Gimpleg