Local artist Anna Mraz is celebrating the diverse spirit of the Philly music scene with her Faces of Philadelphia (Musicians) exhibit, opening tonight at Brewerytown Beats. We want to give several hat tips to Philebrity, who spotted the First Friday event and gave us a sneak peak into the watercolor-on-plexiglass portraits that will be lining the walls of the Brewerytown record store.
Local rapper/producer Lushlife premiered the video for his collaboration with Khruangbin, “Totally Mutual Feeling,” directed by duo Lamar + Nik. A part of Lushlife’s Idols and Enemies project, we find him spitting his quick-hitting lines inside a mirror-infested room, following the camera through a minimalistic set of reflection. A trippy beat and heavenly vocals from Khruangbin keeps your ears on high alert, as this almost 2-and-a-half minute track flies by way too fast, landing as another solid tune from Philly’s expansive hip-hop scene. Continue reading →
Rough Trade Publishing, representatives of local acts Hurry and Lushlife, are “fighting against complacency” with a new three-month, song-a-day subscription service on Bandcamp to benefit the Southern Poverty Law Center. Subscribers will receive previously unreleased tracks from catalog artists in their email each day, along with access to all new material published by the company on the Bandcamp app.
For the past decade-plus, rapper / producer / DJ Raj Haldar has built up a catalog of music unlike any in of hip-hop. Working under the stage name Lushlife, Haldar has carved out a very particular sonic space in the pop cultural landscape. On full-length projects like Cassette City, Plateau Vision and 2016’s Ritualize, Lushlife has explored the seemingly improbable fusion of the flossy, stream-of-consciousness approach you hear from rap outsiders like Camp Lo and Wu-Tang’s Ghostface Killah with electronic beats and dense, ornate baroque-pop arrangements reminiscent of Beach Boys’ auteur Brian Wilson.
His latest, No Dead Languages, is a unique detour back into the artist’s musical history. Compiled of recordings made at the turn of the millennium, the EP is a suite of dense, sample-heavy instrumental hip-hop and electronica of the sort that ruled the late 90s / early 2000s.
Speaking from the road in the midst of a tour with underground rap pioneers Blackalicious, we spoke with Haldar about sample / crate-digging culture, his creative process and his formative years spent bent over a drum machine, trying to find a way to fuse the disparate sonic locus points into a whole and natural musical cosmos. We’re also stoked to bring you the premiere of the title track to No Dead Languages, which you can listen to below. Continue reading →
Late last week, Philadelphia rapper Lushlife released the intro track to his forthcoming EP No Dead Languages, which will be made available on October 7 via Bandcamp. The song, “The League of Frightened Men,” spans an impressive and immersive eight minutes. The length sounds intimidating, but Lushlife takes listeners on an ambient journey that doesn’t appear to include any of his own vocals.
The song begins with the introduction of archival audio of a man speaking about the anti-anxiety properties of certain drugs that are never explicitly named. The track is carried by speedy percussion played on loop that gives the track a nineties kickback feel, an energy that isn’t an unusual find in Haldar’s music. Continue reading →
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 →
Fans of awesome, live local music rejoice — the Spruce Street Harbor Park Waterfront Sessions Live Music Series is returning this week with a stacked lineup of artists from throughout the area. Every Thursday evening from June to August, Spruce Street Harbor Park will be showcasing a myriad of talent right on the Waterfront, kicking off on June 9th from 7:30-9:30 p.m. with rock ‘n’ rollers Oldermost and singer-songwriter Joey Sweeney.Continue reading →
Lushlife and collaborator CSLSX recently stopped by the set of The Special without Brett Davis, a strange variety show that airs on public access television. Lushlife performed two tracks from his new release, Ritualize, “Body Double” and “Integration Loop.” Continue reading →
I could sit here and regale you with stories and stats about the Prison-Industrial Complex all day, but is that going to do anything? Even for the most #woke among us, it’s hard to know where to start to deal with something as massively unassailable as a for-profit prison system that funnels young lives straight into jails. But—much like music—it’s best to start with stories. Sunday night at World Cafe Live, Philly organization Beyond the Bars hit home with a massive benefit show incorporating both to strike back.
By going into prisons and teaching music to incarcerated youth, Beyond the Bars staff and volunteers are able to bring hope and respite to members of society that most people have already written off as a loss. “Even though they’re in prison, they’re still people, man. Just people,” said Bars staff member Christopher Thornton. Continue reading →