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Lushlife and CSLSX share new video for “The Waking World”

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Lushlife at Johnny Brenda’s 2/27/16 | Photo by Matthew Shaver | mattshaverphoto.com

After selling out their release show at Johnny Brenda’s, South Philly rapper Lushlife and beat makers CSLSX have now shared a video for “The Waking World” (featuring Swedish dream-rock outfit I Break Horses) from the new Ritualize LP. The clip opens with archival footage of a tape player inside of a jail cell before moving through scenes of young men in class, late night city life and quick shots of the outside world.

The ending is a beautiful explosion of flying galaxy lights paired with the airy vocals of I Break Horses, reaching a transcendental high that Lushlife aptly described as “celestial.” Check it out below and revisit Lushlife’s Unlocked feature here.

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UNLOCKED: Not-so-casual business: Rising beatmakers CSLSX talk history and new record Ritualize with Lushlife

The band, with Lushlife (Photo by Ebru Yildiz)
The band, with Lushlife (Photo by Ebru Yildiz)

In some ways, the business of CSLSX (that’s “casual sex”)—started just as you’d expect it: casually. “We were all living at Broad and Tasker, and we had a room set up with all these instruments,” says producer/guitarist/vocalist Andrew Alburn, from a high-top table at Vincenzo’s Deli in South Philadelphia. “So people would come over and mess around. Originally CSLSX had no defined members; it was meant to represent music curated by the collective.” Continue reading →

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UNLOCKED: The Key’s review of Lushlife + CSLSX’s Ritualize

 

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Lushlife’s Ritualize album cover | photo courtesy of the artist

Ritualize is a record that’s concerned with vibe and feeling—it’s a record that wants to transport you somewhere, then set the mood in broad, sweeping strokes. The collaboration between Philly rapper Lushlife (a.k.a. Raj Haldar) and production trio CSLSX is a dreamy journey through a jungle of smoke and sex, through which Lushlife, our narrator, weaves yarns and offers cinematic snapshots of the people and things he sees.

It’s beautiful, sultry record, with Lushlife’s raps the muscle that keeps it moving ahead. Constructed painstakingly by Haldar and CSLSX over the course of 3 years—in a process that Haldar describes as “Herculean”—Ritualize succeeds because it spares no detail in achieving its after hours vibe. Production is pristine, and listening on headphones, you get the sense that there is a real depth to these songs, even if they were layered together one piece at a time in the studio. Continue reading →

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Here’s a record release party you don’t want to miss: Lushlife with CSLSX at Johnny Brenda’s

Lushlife | Photo by Ebru Yildiz ebruyildiz.net | courtesy of the artist
Lushlife | Photo by Ebru Yildiz ebruyildiz.net | courtesy of the artist

Rapper, DJ, producer and multi-instrumentalist Lushlife is releasing his new album, a collaboration with CSLSX (pronounced ‘Casual Sex’), Ritualize. The record is out on February 19th. To celebrate, he’s throwing a party at Johnny Brenda’s on Saturday, February 27th.

Co-produced and atmosphered with CSLSX, there’s a lot of awesome collaborations on Ritualize, as Lushlife (Raj Halder) worked with indie rocker Ariel Pink, Philly rapper Freeway, singer-songwriter Marissa Nadler, electronic artist RJD2, Nightlands (David Hartley of The War On Drugs), Killer Mike (of Run the Jewels) and others on the album. Additionally some of Philly’s most talented musicians play on the record including Mary Lattimore (harp), Chris Powell of Man Man on drums, and Julie Slick on bass.

Lushlife solo shows always bring the heat, but this one will be special. Haldar told us that the show “will be the first joint / live group performance for Lushlife ever, something that we’ll be taking on the road later this year,” as he and CSLSX bring the sounds of the studio to the stage. Continue reading →

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The Skull Eclipses homecoming at Johnny Brenda’s is a win for cross-continental hip-hop

The Skull Eclipses | photo by Matthew Shaver for WXPN

Philadelphia rap auteur Lushlife (Raj Haldar) continues on a hot streak of album partnerships, this time with beat connoisseur Botany (Spencer Stephenson) to form The Skull Eclipses.  Together, they specialize in a sort of lo-fi, kind of psych infused, and refreshingly nostalgic experimental hip-hop.  Analog synthesis, twisted beats, and rapid fire boom-bap are the name of the game here, and a three-year journey spanning cross country collaborations paid off, and Lushlife brought it home to celebrate. Continue reading →

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16 albums you shouldn’t overlook in 2016

DONTOVERLOOK2016The thing about year-end lists, though. Stuff gets left out. Incredible records are forgotten, or simply don’t make the cut when ranking around consensus. Sure, consensus can be a powerful tool in uncovering the things that your trusted sources can agree upon, framing these things as, definitively, “the best.”

But the idea of hierarchy is in itself exclusionary. “Best” does not equal “only.” We brought you our 15 best albums of the year earlier today, but by no means are these the sole albums that are impressive or important or worthy of your ears in 2016. They’re more of a starting point.

In a lot of ways, I’m more excited about this list: 16 albums that you should not overlook in 2016. These are releases that didn’t appear on more than a single list turned in by The Key’s contributing staff – most of them aren’t ranking on year-end lists elsewhere – but they were obviously striking enough to that person that they made their personal cut. So we asked them why.

These are all excellent records. Many of them are very important records, in the same way that Chance and Solange and Tribe and Beyonce are important. And they’re not getting talked about enough, by any stretch. Start listening, start talking. – John Vettese
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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Bilal at Johnny Brenda’s, Lushlife at Boot and Saddle, Lotus at The Mann Center and more

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Bilal | Photo by Kawai Matthews

Soul / funk / rock artist and Philadelphia native Bilal headlines a show at Johnny Brenda’s in Fishtown tonight. In the past, he has worked with big names like Dr. Dre, Kendrick Lamar, and Kimbra just to name a few. His last solo release was In Another Life, released last year. Opening up for Bilal will be the fellow Philadelphian Ursula Rucker. She is a poet, activist, and recording artist who has been performing for over seventeen years. This show featuring some of Philly’s finest is not to be missed. Tickets and more information about the show can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Check out the video for “Money Over Love” below. Continue reading →