The Maryland rapper's latest release is a stripped-down affair experimenting with tone and emotion.
"The midnight ferry crashed into the fire escape…"
That's the line that opens the lovelorn "New York Time," a stripped-back acoustic track from Maryland artist Cab Ellis. The song, featuring only a guitar, a harmonica, and Ellis' twisting voice, moves back and forth between surreal images like this and memories of a tumultuous relationship, playing with absurdity and heartache with a performatively casual air.
Born Connor Abeles, Ellis came up as a rapper while studying at Emerson College in Boston. Most recently, he released his mixtape Gorgeous Nonsense, a multi-year effort primarily focused on Ellis' version of hip-hop. "New York Time" is a far cry from that world, leaving behind his complex bars for a more contemplative folk sound, closer to city-bound folk-rockers like L.A. Salami. Ellis sings with a slight ironic edge lurking under his voice, especially on lines like "I don't wanna look at you too hard / I'm afraid I might see a future." His bitterness masks a classic ballad heartbreak, lending a theatrical authenticity to Ellis' coarse drawl-singing. "New York Time" seems to be Ellis experimenting not only with genre, but with emotional registers, what styles and sounds can bear the weight of the stories he wants to tell.
It's unclear whether this experiment will turn into a full-blown pivot, but either way, this experimental artist is worth paying attention to.
Matthew Apadula is a writer and music critic from New York. His work has previously appeared on GIGsoup Music and in Drunk in a Midnight Choir. Find him on Twitter @imdoingmybest.
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WATCH: Billie Eilish Declares Your Opinion Of Her "Not My Responsibility" In Powerful New Short Film
The young star bears all in "NOT MY RESPONSIBILITY."
Break out pop star and five time Grammy-award-winner Billie Eilish is sick of your body shaming.
The 18-year-old just dropped a powerful new short film in which she slowly removes her clothes as we hear her voice hypnotically decry the media's obsession with her body. She says, "Some people hate what I wear. Some people praise it. Some people use it to shame others. Some people use it to shame me. But I feel you watching, always, and nothing I do goes unseen. So, whether I feel your stares, your disapproval, or your sigh of relief—if I lived by them, I'd never be able to move. Would you like me to be smaller? Weaker? Softer? Taller? Would you like me to be quiet? Do my shoulders provoke you? Does my chest? Am I my stomach, my hips?" Meanwhile, she strips to a black bikini in slow motion, eventually sinking into a pool of black viscous liquid and declaring your opinion "not my responsibility."
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Let's revisit some of the great summer mixtapes to help ease the pangs of summertime nostalgia
Bonfires with our friends, balmy summer days spent by the lake passing a spliff and sipping on a Corona, summertime love affairs—it all may feel like a past life now.
The rollout for summer 2020 is unlike anything before it. While Americans everywhere try to retain a sense of normalcy, it will be impossible to enjoy summer the way we want to. Bitter nostalgia for the summers of yore is rampant. Luckily, music has remained the one constant. To help unwind in these times of heightened anxiety, it helps to revisit some of the mixtapes that brought us childhood bliss, that pumped us up when school dismissed for summer, that blasted through our car speakers as we cruised with the windows down with our friends in tow. Here are a few of the greatest mixtapes of summers past, in the hopes it will bring back the fond memories that, right now, may feel distant.