Television and music. Unless you’re watching news reports all day long, both serve a purpose of helping you escape from reality. That seems to happen to many, freezing them up in a cocoon away from the real world. I’ll admit, I binge on music, television, and books, but it’s not the end-all-be-all. It’s just what I tend to do on occasion. Sometimes it’s worth it and at others, I’m left feeling empty. But this week has been different, leading up to this Friday Roll Out.
This year’s about hella breakouts but it’s also about returns. Amp Fiddler is the one staple of modern day Soul you wish you’d never lose touch with. After his 2004 sophomore release, Waltz Of A Ghetto Fly, which was without a doubt, one dope album that followed-up his 1990 debut, With Respect, he’s dropped a number of releases like Afro Strut, Inspiration Information, and Motor City Booty. Which were just as delectable. I wasn’t able to avoid his new album once I received it. Amp Dog Knights (Mahogani Music) follows the same path he’s been on for decades now. For years now, whenever Amp Fiddler’s name would arise, all I could think was “he’s ghetto fly,” which is my reference to his song and album. Now it seems it’s the return, and there’s an edginess in one of his songs that will forever reverberate in the heads of his fans. Amp Dog Knights opens with “Grandma’s Radio feat. Sound Boy,” which sets the tone for the album, combining R&B, Soul, and Funk, with a little bit of old school scatting. The brief track is followed by “Return Of The Ghetto Fly feat. J Dilla, T3 and Neco Redd,” a banger which one can equate as the sequel, the omega to the alpha, so to speak. The Fiddler’s laid-back vocals are on display, Neco sings the hook and T3 (Slum Village) with J Dilla do their thing here too. It’s beat mastery here and you feel that Dilla on the track. The magic continues from track to track, like on the soulful “Keep Coming.” The song is repetitive without being repetitious with Fiddler’s smooth vocals rolling throughout it. The tempo on “Good Vibes feat. Only Child” moves at a quicker pace and you can feel the dance floor groove on it. But it’s when Amp Fiddler slows things down with “Through Your Soul feat Bubz Fiddler & J Dilla.” This where the music and words actually take you on a journey, of love and sensuality. Amp Fiddler moves at a different pace now and again but always keeps his music firmly planted, keeping that continuity. “Put Me In Your Pocket” brings that funk so many wish they could capture and he tears it all up with that falsetto! “No Politics” is a bit misleading, teetering on the brink of falling out of tune but it’s obviously done this way with purpose, much like The Shaggs. There’s a plethora of music compiled here and Amp Fiddler is the Detroit mad scientist that’s created a beast of an album.
Ever come across an album and just think to yourself, “Dafuq is this?” That is, in fact, my initial reaction to the release that dropped by Tym Wojcik who records under the Cup moniker. And it comes with an even more egregiously title album, Hiccup (Aagoo Records). Why on earth would Wojcik try to confuse listeners, writers, street vendors, bodega owners and the ilk by doing that? Possibly because once again we have an artist where no fucks are given, and his intention is to shake things up. Apparently, this is Cup’s seventh album but it’s my introduction to his music. Most songs never pass the 2-minute mark but that’s fine. It works in favor of not only the songs but the project in its entirety. Cup kicks things off with “Little Hiccup,” where few chords are repeated but the song doesn’t remain static, as Cup circumvents the mundane with his singing and sparse lead guitar work here. Comparisons are pretty cheap but there’s truth in his own press release where you may hear nods to early Pixies, Dinosaur Jr., and Pavement. There’s not a lot of guitar fuckery here, as Cup keeps things simple and direct. “The Dream” encapsulates this idea right here with the straightforward verse-chorus-verse delivery but it’s apparent he’s blowing things out of the water. Simplicity at its best. Cup has that punk sensibility we’d all wish most musicians would hold onto but toss to the side. “Realization” has those dissonant notes dropping like bombs over Bagdad. I like this kid from Queens, NY by way of Texas. I’m glad he does what he does, and it makes me want to hear more of what Wojcik’s Cup has in store.