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Philly’s Lushlife brings the heat to Johnny Brenda’s in celebration of his new LP, Ritualize

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

Lushlife, a.k.a. Raj Haldar (the focus of this past weeks UNLOCKED series), and CSLSX (pronounced casual sex, if you’ve only ever seen it in print), have put together something really special with Ritualize.  CSLSX’s production is bursting at the seams with elements of classic hip-hop, indie rock, and shoegaze.  Let’s call it dream-hop.  Raj’s lyrics are planted firmly in Philadelphia, but peppered with so much more that widens the appeal, and with a flow that recalls the golden era of rap.  Marrying these two together solidifies what will hopefully be a word wide hit, if only on the level that underground albums become world wide hits.  It’s a wholly unique experience that I’ve not heard anything like since DFA produced Automato’s album a decade ago (and that quickly got buried in the underground). Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Fight Amp at Kung Fu Necktie, Lushlife at Johnny Brenda’s, Jonathan Monument at Connie’s Ric Rac and more…

Fight Amp | Photo by Freddie Ross | courtesy of the artist
Fight Amp | Photo by Freddie Ross | courtesy of the artist

Self-proclaimed “sludge punk” trio Fight Amp are set to play Kung Fu Necktie tonight for what will be, according to the band’s Facebook page, one of their only Philly dates of the year. Last year, the group released Constantly Off, a new collection of angsty, energetic punk-rock, that was their first new material in over three years. That is all to say that you better catch Fight Amp in person while you have the chance — tickets to the 21+ show are available at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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UNLOCKED: An afternoon in South Philly with Lushlife

Lushlife | Credit: Megan Matuzak
Lushlife standing in the entrance of Jinxed on Passyunk Ave. in South Philly | Credit: Megan Matuzak

All week long we’ve been putting the UNLOCKED spotlight on the new release by Lushlife and CSLSX, Ritualize. Tomorrow night’s record release party at Johnny Brenda’s is expected to be epic. Lushlife will be performing with CSLSX, and he promises some special guests.

Fresh off a 72 hour media marathon in NYC, Lushlife, aka Raj Haldar, is a little hazy. Slouched deep in his blue upholstered couch with his Harmony electric across his lap, it’s the first weekend he’s had in awhile. Before New York he was in Austin at his label’s, Western Vinyl, HQ and the next weekend he would be flying out to the midwest to film with Nik+Lamar, who filmed the award winning “Magnolia” for Plateau Vision. Continue reading →

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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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UNLOCKED: Dive into Lushlife’s Ritualized with “Body Double”

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

“It’s weird. I’ve been Lushlife my whole adult life. The genesis of the name is incidental now to me, but it’s just cute high school shit. Ultimately, I was just a marching band, jazz dork. Today, what Lushlife does is only tangentially related to that stuff, but a name becomes I name, I guess. When I was in the airport this weekend, someone recognized me and yelled out that name as I was walking by, and my head turned in the same intrinsic way that my given name would,” Raj Haldar says.

Philadelphia’s Lushlife began challenging the way hip-hop is defined long before his first official release, Cassette City, in 2009. Since his first show in 2005 at The Jazz Cafe in Camden Town, London, Raj Haldar’s ability to blur the lines between what the genre is and what it could be is the gospel he lives by. Ritualize, which premiered on Billboard on February 17th and was officially released February 19th, is the next notch in Haldar’s career, and it’s a coming of age story. And the story behind “Body Double”, his first single, is a harrowing one. Continue reading →

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Listen to Lushlife team up with Ariel Pink for “Hong Kong (Lady of Love)”

Lushlife | photo by Erbu Ylidiz | courtesy of the artist
Lushlife | photo by Erbu Ylidiz | courtesy of the artist

Philly rapper Lushlife found himself an unexpected collaborator for his new track, “Hong Kong (Lady of Love):” Ariel Pink.

On the surface, the duo are an unlikely couple. Mixing hip-hop with Pink’s brand of weirdo psychedelic rock seems anything but intuitive. But upon listening to the track, the collaboration instantly makes sense. 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 new Lushlife song featuring Killer Mike is totally sick

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

Things are shaping up very nicely for Lushlife‘s eagerly-anticipated Ritualize, out February 19th on Western Vinyl. First we heard the trancey “Body Double,” followed by the mysterious loud-quiet-loud of “This Waking World.”

Today, Lushlife dropped “This Ecstatic Cult” via The Fader, and it’s fierce and funky – featuring an incredible vocal turn from Killer Mike. Continue reading →

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Lushlife’s new playlist will have you ready for Eagles’ stretch run

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

Just when you were ready to hang up that green jersey and start making Sunday afternoon plans for the rest of the season season, the ever-mystifying Philadelphia Eagles get their biggest win of the year Sunday afternoon by beating the New England Patriots. Who better to help you celebrate the surprising victory than Philly son Lushlife?
Continue reading →