Cab Ellis Gets Sentimental on "New York Time"

The Maryland rapper's latest release is a stripped-down affair experimenting with tone and emotion.

Tyler Leon

"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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Zelda Williams

This weekend, Eric Trump gleefully shared a video of the late Robin Williams making fun of presidential candidate Joe Biden that bore the caption, "Robin Williams Savages Joe Biden."

Zelda Williams tweeted in response, "While we're 'reminiscing' (to further your political agenda), you should look up what he said about your Dad. I did. Promise you, it's much more 'savage.' Gentle reminder that the dead can't vote, but the living can."

Robin Williams, who would have turned 69 last month, had certainly poked fun at Joe Biden. In the clip shared by the younger Trump, Williams quips, "We still have great comedy out there, there's always rambling Joe Biden, what the f***... Joe says s*** that even people with Tourette's go, 'No. What is going on?'" He continued, "Joe is like your uncle who is on a new drug and hasn't got the dosage right...I'm proud to work with Barack America — 'He's not a superhero, you idiot — come here!'"

His comments about the current president were far more incisive and far-reaching. For example, in 2012, he referred to Trump as "a scary man" and "the Wizard of Oz" because "he plays monopoly with real f***ing buildings."

Of course, these jokes are based in very real calamities. Many of Trump's real estate projects and business ventures have notoriously fallen through or crash-landed completely, landing him in massive debt. Yet time and time again he was bailed out by his father, Fred Trump, who paid millions to keep his son's delusions of glory alive. He was also bailed out by a variety of banks (and still owes Deutsche Bank an outstanding $350 million). In some ways, it's no surprise that Trump will leave America sick, in debt, and in crisis.

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