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

 

lushlife
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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Philly rapper Lushlife gets abstract on “The Waking World”

Lushlife | Photo by Ebru Yildiz | via thelineofbestfit.com
Lushlife | Photo by Ebru Yildiz | via thelineofbestfit.com

Hat-tip to our buds at The Deli for spotting the latest teaser track from Philly rapper Lushlife‘s eagerly-anticipated new record Ritualize. The record, due out in February on Western Vinyl, is a collaboration between Lush and the suave production outfit CSLSX – and the vibes were intense on “Body Double,” the first single from the album. On this new one, the Swedish outfit I Break Horses joins the party, and the backdrop is murky and mysterious, with bursts of intensity – it’s like the punk rock quiet-loud-quiet approach taken to a hip-hop extreme. Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: The Lone Bellow at Union Transfer, Howlish at MilkBoy, and the 215 Festival

The Lone Bellow | michellemontgomeryphotography.com
The Lone Bellow | michellemontgomeryphotography.com

The Lone Bellow have played both XPN’s Free at Noon and the 2015 XPoNential Music Festival, so to say that we here at XPN are fans may be an understatement. Their blend of folk, indie rock and gospel all with a focus on beautiful and intricate harmonization is as likeable as it is powerful and their growing popularity is not surprising in the least. Tonight they will be at Union Transfer with singer-songwriters Anderson East and Hugh Masterson beginning at 8 p.m. Head over to the XPN Concert Calendar for more details on tonight’s show. Continue reading →

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Lushlife enlists eclectic collaborators for Ritualize, incl. Killer Mike, Ariel Pink and RJD2

Lushlife
Lushlife | Photo by Phil Bradshaw

We at The Key have been excited at the prospect of a new album by the talented Lushlife for a couple years now. But as even more details surface about his upcoming Ritualize, the word excited but not be enough to describe our collective enthusiasm.

Raj Haldar, the man behind the moniker, recently released the tracklist for his album due out in February ,and let’s just say that it was not without it’s share of enticing details. Rap albums track lists are more exciting than that of a typical album because of one thing above all else: features. In the case of Ritualize, the dizzying variety and overall quality of its nine different featured artists is what sets apart. Continue reading →