Ryan Leslie announces “Ups & Downs” as the second single off of his top-notch rap album Les Is More, released via NextSelection Lifestyle Group distributed by BDG (BDG is distributed by RED, a division of SONY Music Entertainment). Described by the Associated Press to “surely send you up,” the feel-good record is being serviced to radio this week.

In conjunction with the launch of Les is More, Leslie was selected as a brand ambassador for the Sony X Headphones (#SonyX) and their “Love To Give” (#SonyLove) campaign this holiday season. “Ups & Downs” is featured in a video vignette for the Sony X’s where Leslie discusses the importance of having headphones that don’t dilute the honesty of the recording. The “Love To Give” theme is a sentiment that celebrates the spirit of giving through the eyes of Ryan Leslie, and various other artists including country pop singer Taylor Swift and renowned photographer Nigel Barker.

The first rap album from Ryan Leslie, Les Is More debuted at #1 on the iTunes Hip Hop Charts simultaneously in 8 countries including the U.S., Germany, Belgium, Denmark, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, and Switzerland. Leslie, “a marvel of multitasking” according to the NY Times wrote, arranged, produced and performed on Les Is More, along with directing and editing a series of music videos to accompany each record.

Leslie recently wrapped his first domestic headlining tour to rave reviews including one from XXLMag.com, “last night (October 4) the musical dynamo Ryan Leslie tore down a sold out Gramercy Theatre in NYC like a rock star.” He is currently on tour in Switzerland, Germany, France, Netherlands, UK, and Austria for the European leg of the Les Is More Tour.


Soulful Brooklyn folk-rock outfit THE LONE BELLOW has released its first album track “You Never Need Nobody” to the public along with their first music video. “You Never Need Nobody” is taken from the band’s forthcoming self-titled album out on January 22nd via Descendant Records. Amongst several CMJ performances, The Lone Bellow graced the Last.fm showcase performing several songs at The Living Room. Watch the band belt it out in New York City:

iTunes | http://tinyurl.com/TheLoneBellowTrack

Stream | http://tinyurl.com/TLBstream

Hailing from Brooklyn via south of the Mason-Dixon, The Lone Bellow (formerly known as Zach Williams & The Bellow) has established an exuberant following via live shows in New York and across the country during their stint opening for Grammy Winners The Civil Wars

. Featuring lead singer and principal songwriter Zach Williams, singer and mandolin player Kanene Pipkin and singer-guitarist Brian Elmquist, The Lone Bellow isn’t just a group of musicians; they are an “urban tribe,” a family away from family.

At the heart of it, Zach Williams is an intentional songwriter focused on growing a community, rather than merely finding a following. Georgia-born Williams began songwriting in 2005, during a prolonged stay at Atlanta’s Shepherd Center after his wife was thrown from a horse and paralyzed from the neck down. With a dire diagnosis of quadriplegia, there was nothing to do but sit vigil with his group of friends – also artists. While they waited for healing, Zach picked up a guitar and taught himself to play, putting melody to a journal entry that would become his first song, “Hospital.” His wife eventually recovered (her spinal cord, initially thought severed, was terribly bruised) and the couple and their group of friends moved to Brooklyn shortly thereafter.

Williams and the band’s music evolved to reflect his Southern roots, incorporating elements of rock, gospel, country and blues that result in a unique and soul-searing blend of can’t-get-them-out-of-your-head lyrics that spring from a deep emotional reservoir. The upcoming record is a complete work, a “collection of stories embodying tragedy, hope, betrayal and redemption.”

IT BOYS! Releases New Music Video for “Start The Party”

Internationally-rising pop stars IT BOYS! have released a music video for their track “Start The Party”. Produced by Isaac Hasson, the track features guest vocals from David Schmitt of BREATHE CAROLINA.

The energetic video was directed by Chris Crary of Crary Films and features some familiar faces, including David Schmitt from Breathe Carolina, Jack Barakat from All Time Low and none-other than internet sensation, The Sexy Sax Man. “Start The Party” is featured on IT BOYS!’ debut album, INTRODUCTION, which is currently out in the UK and is highly-anticipated throughout North America.

Popular entertainment outlet The Insider has hailed IT BOYS! as a group ‘You Should Know’, saying, “They follow in the footsteps of UK pop groups like One Direction and The Wanted, but with a pop-punk live show.” Alternative Press Magazine also named IT BOYS! one of their ‘100 Bands to Watch in 2012’, describing their first single “Guys Don’t Like Me,” as “an electro-based party starter that would sound great being blasted at either Warped Tour or a swanky dance club.”

St. Lucia Announces December Headlining Tour

Fresh off the heels of a west coast tour supporting Two Door Cinema Club, St. Lucia is heading east on a headlining tour this December.

Tour Dates

12/6 – The Barbary – Philadelphia, PA
12/7 – Middle East – Boston, MA
12/8 – Music Hall of Williamsburg – Brooklyn, NY
12/10 – Divan – Montreal, QC
12/11 – Drake – Toronto, ON
12/13 – U Hall – Washington, DC


Even in the urban wilds of Brooklyn, there may be no one else like Jean-Philip Grobler, otherwise known as St. Lucia.

Originally from Johannesberg, South Africa, Jean grew up performing with the Drakensberg Boys Choir School. When the choir wasn’t traveling—St. Lucia toured Japan, Australia, Europe, the US and more—they stayed in an enclave tucked in the South African mountains, learning everything from Bach and minimalist opera to African War Songs and Celine Dion.

A young musician could hardly find better training, but as a young teenager, he started to feel that he’d had his fill of classical music, and it felt like an epiphany when he discovered the music of Radiohead. “In South Africa, we used to be quite limited in what we were exposed to in terms of experimental music, and so hearing OK Computer for the first time was like experiencing a completely new Universe. I think it was also my own little form of rebellion against the rigidity of choir life’, he laughs. Eventually, he left the creative “small pond” of South Africa for England, where he spent three years studying music in Liverpool.

St. Lucia’s journey thus far ended—as many do—in New York City, where he started working on the tracks that would turn into his debut EP, to be released in the spring. The St. Lucia EP will mark the first full-length release on Neon Gold Records, the formerly singles-only label that first released Passion Pit, Ellie Goulding and The Naked & Famous.

The atmospheric quality of St. Lucia’s electronic pop is powerful, with the musician’s global travels and history of exotic hideaways effortlessly passed onto the audience through his dreamy, shimmering synths, and multi-layered arrangements. The listener is transfixed and transported into some collective memory of childhood summer.

St. Lucia was born out of a moment in early 2010 when Jean-Philip looked to the past for inspiration. Growing frustrated with a rock project that was starting to feel forced, he delved back into the music that had first inspired him: early Madonna, Fleetwood Mac, Peter Gabriel and other songs from his youth. ‘I became obsessed with a certain wave of nostalgic pop music, mainly from the 80’s, that to me represents some of the best pop music ever made. The music from that era has this unabashed, completely over-the-top quality to it, and that seemed fresh to me.’ He also rediscovered African music. ‘Growing up in South Africa, African music was always there, and so it was easy to ignore. But after being away from home for a few years, I began to discover just how amazing it actually is.’

Setting up shop in a small Williamsburg studio, Jean began to record and experiment, and eventually these new influences began to surface in his music. After a year of hibernation, Jean began to open the lid on his new project.“I’d show some stuff to my friends and I could see that they didn’t quite get it,” he says. He soon began to getin contact with people, with the idea of setting up a live band. Teaming up with his friend Nick and girlfriend Patricia—now St. Lucia’s drummer and keyboard players respectively—, the three of them “decided to play the demo’s for people in a context where we wouldn’t say anything about it. We’d just play it.”

It was then that the music got the attention of the Knocks, and St. Lucia was soon signed to HeavyRoc Music. His first single, “The Old House is Gone,” was released in spring 2011, fueling online intrigue. After two explosive shows at CMJ, the hype escalated to match. Neon Gold described St. Lucia as a “well-traveled mysterioso… physically incapable of producing anything less than extraordinary.” Bloggers posted St. Lucia’s second single, “All Eyes On You,” accompanied by proclamations: “This is an anthem,” or, “Beware, your hand will get tired from having to push replay over and over.”

“All Eyes On You,” like the rest of the St. Lucia EP, distills the best qualities of eighties pop—drawing out melodic bravado and euphoric energy and discarding any trace of the saccharine or heavy—and adds arresting, fresh elements of contrast. The EP is luminous and hazy, a tropical electronic dream. It has a notable, singular effect on the audience. “In a way that’s been my ambition, to give people a feeling similar to what the music from my youth gives me.” says St. Lucia.

He certainly delivers. “All Eyes On You” conjures up unlikely juxtapositions: an ecstatic nostalgia, a melancholy radiance, a mix of personal immediacy and the wanton urge to get lost in a crowd.

As an artist, St. Lucia has played into this element of anonymity. He has remained mysterious until this point, allowing a few facts about his unusual background to guide the response to his music. He’s starting to lift the veil: “As an artist, you always have lingering doubts. Are people going to get this? Are they going to think it’s cheesy?”

Ultimately, he sets these concerns aside. “What’s of real value to me is just sitting in the studio, working,” he says. “Or that moment when I’m walking along the street and hear something in my head, and let that idea work itself into an arrangement and then see that come to fruition.’

“Of course, it makes you feel good when your stuff starts taking off,” he adds. “It’s nice that people are writing about it, and that bigger things are coming in terms of remixes and record companies. But really, all I ever want to be doing is making music.”


One of UK’s most beloved rock bands, THE ENEMY UK have signed a North American deal with eOne Music and will release a brand new digital only EP titled, “Streets in the Sky” here in the states this fall.

The “Streets In The Sky” full length has already been released in the UK debuting at #9 on the UK album chart with full critical acclaim from NME, Q, & The Sun. eOne will release an EP in Fall 2012 featuring the lead single “Gimme The Sign”, followed by the full album release in Spring 2013.

With The Bronx’s Joby J. Ford in the producer’s chair, this is the band’s most hard hitting material to date. They will be announcing U.S. dates in 2013 to coincide with the full album’s release.

The Enemy formed in hometown Coventry in 2006 by three friends; Andy Hopkins (25, bass), Liam Watts (24, drums) and Tom Clarke (24, vocals/guitar). Their first single, “40 days, 40 nights,” sold out all 1000 copies of its limited edition 7” in less than one day. Their debut 2007 album, “We’ll Live and Die in These Towns,” charted at #1, selling over 600,000 copies with big singles “Away From Here” (Top 10) and “Had Enough” (Top 5), gaining the band an army of diehard fans. Their second album, “Music For The People,” was released in 2009 and charted very strongly at #2 with the hit, “Be Somebody,” continuing to be used on ITV’s FA Cup coverage.

To date, the band has sold over half a million tickets for their live gigs.

Sharon Van Etten Shares “Magic Chords” Video & Plays Later…With Jools Holland

Since we last announced any Sharon Van Etten news, Ms. SVE has been a busy lady touring the U.S. and Europe, shooting her second music video for Tramp, performing on the acclaimed Later…With Jools Holland, laying down vocals for a range of exciting projects, including collaborating with J Mascis on a John Denver tribute and Rufus Wainwright for a holiday compilation (news on this and more will revealed in the coming weeks), ramping up for her final North American tour of 2012 (including arranging a slew of special guests for the Town Hall show in NYC on Nov. 15) and planning her debut in Australia.

If you’ve seen Sharon in concert over the last seven months, you’ll have noticed the live performance of one of Tramp’s standout tracks, “Magic Chords,” as particularly captivating. Rick Alverson (director of the controversial and provocative “The Comedy” which was accepted In Competition at the Sundance Film Festival this year) presents this song in an entirely different light with his video for this song. Shot on location just outside of Bloomington, IN last month and featuring Sharon as a disturbingly stoic puritan figure with visions of naked bodies in piles, the “Magic Chords” video is surprisingly meditative for its eye-catching stills. It premiered this morning via Pitchfork and you can watch it below.

Fresh off yesterday’s Later…With Jools Holland performance and a European tour, Sharon will head out on her final US tour of 2012 in support of Tramp.


Wed. Oct. 10 – Sheffield, UK @ Queens Social Club
Fri. Oct. 12 – Istanbul, TR @ Escape the Music Series
Thu. Oct. 25 – Washington, DC @ 930 Club %
Fri. Oct. 26 – Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle %
Sat. Oct. 27 – Atlanta, GA @ Terminal West ^
Sun. Oct. 28 – Orlando, FL @ The Social %
Tue. Oct. 30 – Tallahassee, FL @ Club Downunder at FSU %
Thu. Nov. 1 – Houston, TX @ Fitzgeralds %
Fri. Nov. 2 – Austin, TX @ Fun Fun Fun Festival
Sat. Nov. 3 – Dallas, TX @ Trees %
Sun. Nov. 4 – Memphis, TN @ Hi Tone %
Mon. Nov. 5 – St. Louis, MO @ Firebird %
Wed. Nov. 7 – Chicago, IL @ Metro %
Thu. Nov. 8 – Cincinnati, OH @ Taft Ballroom %
Fri. Nov. 9 – Buffalo, NY @ Town Ballroom %
Sat. Nov. 10 – South Burlington, VT @ Higher Ground %
Sun. Nov. 11 – Boston, MA @ Paradise %
Thu. Nov. 15 – New York, NY @ Town Hall
Mon. Dec. 3 – London, UK @ Shepherds Bush Empire
Sun. Dec. 9 – Cardiff, UK @ Gle Club
Sat. Dec. 29 – Lorne, AU @ Falls Festival
Sun. Dec. 30 – Melbourne, AI @ The Corner
Mon. Dec. 31 – Marion Bay, AU @ Falls Festival
Wed. Jan. 2 – Brisbane, AU @ The Zoo
Fri. Jan. 4 – Busselton, AU @ Southbound Festival

% with Damien Jurado
^ with Damien Jurado, Crooked Fingers, John Vanderslice