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D.C. skinny-jeans rapper Tabi Bonney released a mixtape yesterday—-Postcard From Abroad, a collab with producer Smiles Davis. Lots of its samples seem to have been culled from Pitchfork’s Best New Music selections, which isn’t so bad since the beats are mostly well-executed and in good taste. Something with the chirpy obviousness of Phoenix‘s “Lisztomania” shouldn’t work here, but in Bonney’s “Sunset Blvd,” Davis gives it a backward-feeling, almost Balearic treatment. Cool.

One lowlight: A 50-second throwaway called “Freaky Cupcake.” Bad associations all around.

However I am digging: “Outside,” which samples Cults’ “Go Outside,” a song as ubiquitous on blogs last year as “Lisztomania” was among film and TV music directors. Sample-wise, there’s not much contortion going on, but since Bonney’s somehow at his best on an aspirational/inspirational tack, the shimmery toy-piano sounds totally work.

Tabi Bonney – “Outside”

[audio:http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/artsdesk/files/2011/01/13-Outside-ft-Cults-prod-by-Smiles.mp3]

Also great: “Now’s the Time,” produced by Devo Springsteen. This thing just moves, doesn’t it? Pace Andrew Noz, I’m not totally bothered that Bonney seems to rap a lot about fame and being on the cusp of it when he’s not, in fact, famous. Besides, a passage about Beverly Hills is followed by “and I still got a house on Capitol Hiilllll.”  Eventually, Bonney’s marquee-gazing will get old. It hasn’t yet.

Tabi Bonney – “Now’s the Time”

[audio:http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/blogs/artsdesk/files/2011/01/08-Nows-The-Time-prod-by-Devo-Spri.mp3]