This band from New Orleans came to me through a mutual friend when they needed a spot to crash on tour. With seven dudes and a dog in tow, Mad Conductor graciously showed up on my doorstep after a show in Seattle and handed me their album as thanks. What popped into my stereo is the most interesting self-produced hip hop I’ve heard in a long time. MC Devlin (of ska/crust band No Cash) fronts this project with a full backing band supplying the beats and hooks. Elements of flamenco guitar, piano, ska, and rock permeate this record with random sound effects sprinkled in. Devlin’s voice, velvety and full, reminds me a lot of Q-Tip from A Tribe Called Quest and—besides a few background vocals (sometimes in Spanish)—he’s flowing solo. Each track is lyrically exciting; packed with imagery and unconventional metaphors. One of my favorite lines is on “One Solid Connection” where he spits: “I’ll burn your bridge so you can’t finish your song.” With a mic in one hand and your full attention in the palm of his other, be prepared for anything because this record runs the gamut on things you didn’t even know were possible.
–Kayla Greet (Self-released, themadconductor.com)