Matt Ellin’s New Song, “Southern Hole” Premieres Today
The violin winds you into Matt Ellin’s modern day Americana and the drums sound like tom toms, once he begins to sink he sounds more like a young Jake Buggs than a young Nick Cave, though elements of both haunt his arresting new song “Southern Hole”. The words have some of the sun drenched light horror of Dylan circa Empire Burlesque and like the sink hole he sings about it has both sweep and suction.
So who is Matt Ollin? According to his bio “Matt Ellin is an 18 year old musician who has made waves in the underground Baltimore music scene with his uniquely eclectic style of music. His 2013 song “hey shut up” became a soundtrack to Baltimore’s lo fi scene, spawning a Troma sponsored music video and several covers. Now, for the first time Matt has joined forces with super-producer Captain Morris on his first full length album, “All Is Not Lost”. Interesting, but you don’t often hear such wordiness or such a complex arrangement in bedsitland. Perhaps it’s Baltimore, a city famous for race problems and vicious policing. As Prince noted in 2015 “Nobody got in nobody’s way so I guess you could say it was a good day, at least a little better than the day in Baltimore”. That sense of nervous displacement, of something on edge, is at the heart of “Southern Hole”. A sinkhole appears, animals disappear inside them, a linguist tries to save some, but as he takes them away, he is in a car crash, The chorus goes: “He just thought if earth’s critters ascend into ether, will our stray dogs still have good places to drink?
Will the warthogs and worms have adult movie theaters and time to stay home.”
What is the teenager trying to tell me? It is like Chekhov with a question mark, Samuel Beckett by other means. It doesn’t quite make sense: the sinkhole, the animal families put it into plastic bags and then the crash and it ends: “Garden of Eden, of tandem or treason. This world’s not big enough for the both of us.” Who are the us? Better to ignore meaning and settle for atmosphere. The atmosphere is a quiet apocalypse, things are sunk and can’t be saved and the only thing worth leaving it to is the details.
After hearing the lovely but not untypical “hey shut up,” and his fine lo fi compositions on Soundcloud, “Southern Hole” feels even bigger and stranger, it should be on “Twin Peaks”. “Southern Hole” is a quiet epic freak-out, it is like a suburban dream show. Listen here.