Tag Archives: album review

Song of The Year-Slapbox by Conway The Machine produced by Daringer

Song of The Year-Slapbox by Conway The Machine produced by Daringer

by Dan-O

You can’t just call him Conway. He’s The Machine for a reason. When the beat comes on and his mouth starts it feels 100% organic like no pen has been picked up no plans have been made(This isn’t just how he sounds he admits it, “keep in mind these raps I keep in mind, I don’t read a rhyme. I just see them lines in my head I’m lyrically inclined ‘212’.”). It doesn’t actually sound fair, the other guy featured worked really hard on his/her verse and now this guy is just a person made out of rap lyrics and can peel off 16 of them at will?!

Conway The Machine has been grinding for a while now, releasing lots of mixtapes. I’ve never reviewed any of them because I was waiting for his improvement to take the form of project specialization: track sequencing, better beats, songs with structure and his new album nails all of it. His new release is called Everybody is F.O.O.D. it is sold directly through his site ( https://whoisconwaythemachine.myshopify.com/collections/frontpage/products/everybody-is-f-o-o-d-digital-album) and without any question the best thing he’s ever released. The second best is his last project G.O.A.T.

What has made him an important force is that his relentlessness is matched by his collaborator and NY’s secret weapon, Daringer. He produces seven of eleven tracks and has the best beat on it. Slapbox is the kind of thick grungy attack The Machine should always rap over.  Saying this is the best beat is an accomplishment since other producers on this include Pete Rock, Green Lantern, and Statik Selektah. Daringer knows better than any how to take the essential boom bap stomp and twist it, stab it until the agitation level has changed.  Slapbox never lulls you into the hypnotic state a Pete Rock beat can, instead it throws you back into the story on the edge of your seat.

The story is one of my favorites since Biggie’s second album. It starts with slapboxing in the street just knuckleheading around an average day and ends with a leg shot and a police chase. The third to last line is “I’mma go hide out in that abandoned church.” How many times have you heard that in a rap song?  Slapbox is my favorite song because it is clear vivid and impactful. It shows that if The Machine takes his time his concise linguistics paired with his odd mind produce unforgettable music. Both Conway The Machine and Daringer are two very important factors in why NY rap is my favorite thing in 2018(shout out to Roc Marciano, Ka, Action Bronson, Hus The Kingpin, Crimeapple, Westside Gunn, Armand Hammer, Skyzoo, Mach Hommy, and so on and so forth).

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#Bandcampgold-Chalk It Up To Bad Luck by The Caught Flies

#Bandcampgold-Chalk It Up To Bad Luck by The Caught Flies

by Dan-O

I don’t hang out with the right people to have this debate but….I’ll take Motorhead over Metallica at their best. Motorhead at their best?  No. Motorhead really at any phase of existence. Metallica was always trying so hard that I was never convinced, when they tipped over the edge and cut their hair, did alternative and country songs I felt like they were finally being themselves. Motorhead was always confidently and unapologetically Motorhead without posturing or pandering. While The Caught Flies are tucked neatly into the Psychobilly genre they feel  as close as Maine is going to come to Motorhead.

The easiest place to find Motorhead on their latest album Chalk It Up To Bad Luck is the song Burning Idol which has the blisteringly intelligent fire breathing flair of No Voices In The Sky (in my top 5 anti-religion songs) from (know your Motorhead) 1916. While I do know the lead singer (Ryan McLellan) from the spoken word poetry scene that did not engender faith in making The Caught Flies work. Poets live on words and fit them in everywhere; their music usually sucks (with obvious huge exceptions like Gil-Scott Heron). He does a fabulous job on this album of not sacrificing any of his advanced lyrical standards while still moving at the insane pace set by Christopher Coletti on drums and taken to the next level by Jason Greenough on guitar and Landon Loveday(Cannot be a real name, totally an alias) on bass. Too Close To The Sun is another shocker in the form of a blistering diss reaching epic proportions, “You wallow in yourself obsessed, depression, a constant malcontent. All eyes are on you hastens the spiral and descent. Your god’s gift and they fall to their knees unsatisfied and so god damned empty inside.” Worst. Christmas. Card.Ever.

Ryan has the voice of a man whose young love was cigarettes but boy does he feel this in his soul. A song like They Walk would be goofy or downright stupid if you couldn’t sell the zombie apocalypse as a reality and not a cute hypothetical.  As Motorhead as they sometimes feel my wife is quick to remind me that punk is still very present in the repeating vocal assists and jerky tempo. This is not metal but it’s not not metal. You’ll get it. This is music that would sound incredible playing behind a Robert Rodriguez movie. These songs are meaningful and each has a clear conceptual base but they never cease being fun (example:Bipolar Baby).

Are The Caught Flies my favorite band? Am I gonna marry them? No. They have room to grow and definitely sound like they are at the “hey, were pretty good at this?!” phase. If you stream their first album it is fun, if you stream this one…it’s much better and more developed. So my mind is already putting together the next one.  America misses the rock star just a little; we live in a tidy customized musical world of communities who never interact. The Caught Flies have not heard about this at all and I hope no one tells them.

Stream Chalk It Up To Bad Luck and pay for it once you like it:

https://thecaughtflies.bandcamp.com/album/chalk-it-up-to-bad-luck