Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Each and every Friday we offer songs by local artists. Today’s selection, featured on the Morning Show with John Richards, is “Teenage Dream” by Lushlife from the 2011 self-released mixtape No More Golden Days.
It shouldn’t be surprising that more and more emcees and producers are tapping the indie market for samples and source material. Hijack any hipster’s iPod and you’ll find as much rap and hip-hop in their playlists as chillwave and indie folk. Philadelphia MC/producer Rajesh Haldar, a.k.a. Lushlife, no doubt has similarly eclectic tastes, as reflected in his recent bedroom-produced mixtape No More Golden Days with samples ranging from Fleet Foxes to Flying Lotus, Slowdive to J Dilla, Gang Gang Dance to Frank Ocean. While he’s hardly the first to collide rap and indie rock (check out, among others, Emancipator’s excellent mashup of Sigur Ros and Mobb Depp) or to rap over ambient or glo-fi washes (the music blog Space Age Hustle went so far as to identify the emerging trend as “cloud rap“), Lushlife is a skilled composer himself and a deft articulator, whose hard hitting delivery is often compared to one of Haldar’s own heroes, Nas. Also adding variety to the mix, guests include Heems from Das Racist, former Titus Andronicus guitarist Andrew Cedermark, Brown Recluse’s Tim Meskers, young Memphis rapper Cities Aviv and a slew of fellow Philly MCs. Today’s featured song harks back to Lushlife’s earlier take on Washed Out’s “Feel It All Around” from 2010. “Teenage Dream” is less of a mashup and uses its samples for more of a sound palette to accentuate Lushlife’s quick-spinning lyrics, which are pretty much all about expanding his own music interests (even name drop Jesus & Mary Chain) as he sets himself up as a preeminent hook peddler.
You’ll be able to hear more Lushlife hooks this Spring when his official new album, Plateau Vision, arrives on April 17 via Western Vinyl. This Wednesday, he’ll be at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn and then at Philadelphia’s Union Transfer on February 15. Check out more music on Lushlife’s website and Facebook page. For another taste of the mixtape, check out “She’s a Buddhist, I’m a Cubist” featuring Memphis-based rapper Cities Aviv: