Song: Say What You Want
Artist: Texas, Scotland
Album: White on Blonde, 1997
Notes: Big hit around Europe but flew under the radar in the US. Originally from Glasgow, the group was formed by Johnny McElhone and lead singer, Sharleen Spiteri. Still going strong, currently touring, new album due next year.
Song: Far From Here
Artist: Alissa Moreno, Los Angeles
Album: In Your Wake, 2008
Notes: Solid singer-songwriter fare, got a few spins back in 2008. Alissa was raised on a Navajo Indian Reservation in NM where started playing the violin at the age of 2. She's written with Colbie Caillat, Vertical Horizon and Fastball - and also penned a #1 country hit for Rascal Flatts.
Song: Beatles and the Stones
Artist: House of Love, England
Album: The Butterfly Album, 1990
Notes: They had a few Modern Rock successes in the late '80s and early '90s including 'I Don't Know Why I Love You' - but this one got away. Highly inventive track from group which originally lasted for about seven years, fronted by Guy Chadwick and Terry Bickers, and reunited in 2005.
Song: Back To One
Artist: O.A.R., Rockville, MD
Album: King, 2011
Notes: Anthemic, straight-ahead rock, no fuss, no mess. Brand new from O.A.R.'s just released seventh set - which is otherwise somewhat of a disappointment (nothing as good as 'Shattered').
Song: I Always Knew
Artist: Jem, Wales
Album: Down To Earth, 2008
Notes: Too good for prime time, features a great lyric Jem wrote about her love for music and how hard it is to make it to the top in the music business: 'Don't make me a monster baby, you'd be crazy that's for sure, Becoming a bitch is not what I got into music for'. Brassy and spot-on.
Artist: Elected, San Diego
Album: Bury Me In My Rings, 2011
Notes: The Elected is the project name used by Blake Sennett - who's also a member of Rilo Kiley . Recorded most of this DIY album at his house. Simple, effective, melodic strummer, one of half-a-dozen top tunes on the long-player.
Song: I Choose Life
Artist: Keisha White, England
Album: Out of My Hands, 2008
Notes: Lovely string arrangement in the chorus on this soul-pop belter. R&B songstress White was snapped by Warner Bros. in London when she was just 14. Superb singer, good friend of Alicia Keys. (Beyonce should cut a cover version.)
Artist: Fray, Denver
Album: How To Save A Life, 2005
Notes: 'We're somewhere between unsure and a hundred', neat, sad lyric written about a relationship on the verge of dissolution. Featuring the piano playing and distinctive lead vocal skills of Isaac Slade - who wrote this very personal track on his own.
Artist: Icicle Works, England
Album: Icicle Works, 1983
Notes: Forgotten British indie rockers, part of the class of neo-psychedelica New Wave bands which burst out of Liverpool in the early 80s which included the Teardrop Explodes and Echo & The Bunnymen. Led by exuberant frontman, Ian McNabb who went on to have interesting solo career.
Artist: Brooke Fraser, New Zealand
Notes: Brooke's been recording top-notch, largely overlooked fare for nearly ten years. Album title was chosen by the singer after the name of a young girl she met in Rwanda who was orphaned by that country's appalling genocide in 1994. (Rwanda now one of the loveliest and most peaceful countries to visit.)
Song: Never Be Afraid Again
Artist: Christian Walz, Sweden
Album: Paint By Numbers, 2004
Notes: A sweet, delicious pop confection from Swedish singer-songwriter. Album won a Grammi (Swedish spelling of Grammy). Records most of his work in English and has a superb sense of hook-filled melodies.
Song: John Wayne
Artist: Billy Idol, England
Album: Idolize Yourself, 2008
Notes: Sturdy, muscular rock from gritty British punkster, with shades of big hit 'Eyes Without a Face'. Horribly out of vogue these days, but still a legend in his own bath time.
Artist: Sundays, England
Notes: Delightful, sparkling college radio song hallmarked by the wispy vocals of Harriet Wheeler and her subsequent husband, lead guitarist, David Gavurin. Band was around for about a decade from 1988 but strangely never hit in their home country.
Song: Where You Are
Artist: Lonesome Animals, Mid West
Album: Lonesome Animals EP, 2011
Notes: Quiet, graceful, austere, superb number by an obscure new independent musical collective. They claim to be 'Inspired by solitude, good coffee, and John Steinbeck." Also: "Having not yet found a suitable plant water-er in their absence, the group has yet to tour or perform live.'
Song: Double Barrel
Artist: Dave & Ansel Collins, Jamaica
Album: Double Barrel, 1972
Notes: Pioneering reggae duo with one of the earliest global reggae hits. Kingston, Jamaica duo worked for legendary reggae producer Lee Scratch Perry (who went on to work with the Clash) - signed to Trojan Records label in Britain which did so much to export the rock-steady sound of ska and reggae around the globe in the 1970s.
Song: Love And Pain
Artist: Sandrine, Australia
Notes: Overlooked Aussie singer-songwriter Sandrine Daniels with yet another splendid lost gem. Album recorded in Woodstock in upstate NY. More about the artiste at www.sandrinesongs.com.
Song: All I Know
Artist: Art Garfunkel, Forest Hills, NY
Album: Up 'til Now, 1993
Notes: His trademark treble sounds like it's been perfectly filtered through a Brita water purifier. This is an updated version of a gorgeous Jimmy Webb composition Art originally recorded in the '70s for his lovely 'Angel Clare' album.
Song: My Heart
Artist: Perishers, Sweden
Album: Let There Be Morning, 2003
Notes: Lost nugget from the Swedish band's sophomore album which was once used in a Saturn car tv commercial. Talented lead singer, Ola Kluft, has just released a strong solo EP under the fab-named moniker, 'A Lanky Swede'.
Artist: Vusi Mahlasela, South Africa
Album: Miyele Africa, 2000
Notes: Singing in his native Zulu ('Amdokwe' is Zulu for 'corn') a beautiful World Music outing from one of the genre's top veteran performers. Now signed to Dave Matthews' ATO Records, he's been quietly recording superb African folk music for more than 20 years.
Song: Dead Hearts
Artist: Stars, Canada
Album: The Five Ghosts, 2010
Notes: First class dreamy, ethereal indie-pop from Toronto combo founded by Torquil Campbell (who's also a bit of an actor) and Chris Seligman - and featuring female singer, Amy Millan.
Song: Do You Know
Artist: Fleetwood Mac, Los Angeles
Album: Behind The Mask, 1990
Notes: Dripping with the musical class of singer and co-writer, Christine McVie, simple, deeply harmonious, track from the group's 15th studio album (their first CD recorded without Lindsey Buckingham). McVie quietly left the group nearly 10 years go, retreating to be with her family back in England.
Artist: Aqualung, England
Album: Memory Man, 2007
Notes: Another lost pearl from the always clever and endlessly creative snyth-pop/rock tunesmith, Matt Hales who likes to be known as Aqualung. He wrote an entire symphony at the tender age of 17.
Song: Homely Girl
Artist: Chi-Lites, Chicago
Album: Chi-Lites, 1973
Notes: The soul majesty of Eugene Record (who died too soon at the age of 64 in 2005) and his brilliant R&B group with an exceptional pop-soul belter. If you don't like that song, you're probably listening to the wrong show.
Song: Lord Franklin
Artist: Sinead O'Connor, Ireland
Album: Sean-Nos Nua, 2002
Notes: Definitive version of a traditional English folk ballad which documents the loss of Royal Navy officer Sir John Franklin's daring but doomed Arctic expedition in 1845. Unmistakable vocal honey of Sinead from what may be her best album in recent years (now deleted, of course).
Artist: Fureys, Ireland
Album: The Essential Fureys, 2010
Notes: Kissed with delicious slow-picked banjo by unfashionable but splendid Irish oldies combo. If this had been recorded by the Avett Brothers, the Pogues or Mumford & Sons it would be a worldwide smash.
Artist: Bluebells, Scotland
Album: Sisters, 1984
Notes: Rousing folk rocker from group which was part of the brace of smart, literate jangly guitar bands that emerged from Scotland in the early '80s. Only released one complete album - which is a complete winner.
Song: Fade Into You
Artist: Mazzy Star, Santa Monica, CA
Notes: Haunting, ethereal and evergreen modern rock classic - which curiously stalled at number 44 on the Billboard Hot 100 back in 1994. Way-cool duo of Hope Sandoval (who replaced original singer and Hope's friend, Kendra Smith) and David Roback, based out of way-cool Santa Monica.
Song: Simple Twist Of Fate
Artist: Bob Dylan, Duluth, MN
Album: Blood On The Tracks, 1975
Notes: Top-drawer lost nugget by Robert Zimmerman from perhaps his finest album' One of several songs on the LP reportedly written about his separation from his then wife, Sara (though Dylan typically denies that). Song's been covered by the likes his former girlfriend, Joan Baez, Wilco's Jeff Tweedy and even Bryan Ferry.
Song: Please Don’t Go
Artist: Barcelona, Seattle
Album: Absolutes, 2009
Notes: 'Get those left-handed lovers out of your way. Oh please don't go. I want you so. I can't let go. For I lose control.' The Saddest Song of All Time, an exceptional ballad, haunting, uncluttered, A+.
Artist: Chairlift, New York
Album: Does You Inspire You, 2008
Notes: Curious ditty featured for a short while in an Apple iPod Nano tv commercial three years ago. Brooklyn-based electronica outfit is the duo of Caroline Polachek and Patrick Wimberly. Currently wrapping their third album.
Song: Ten Million Slaves
Artist: Otis Taylor, Chicago
Album: Recapturing The Banjo
Notes: Harrowing and self-explanatory, banjo-inflected contemporary blues gem by Taylor, who, along with the likes of Keb' Mo' and Alvin Youngblood Hart has led the banjo-based blues movement which has steadily grown over the past 20 years.
Song: Count Me In
Artist: Early Winters, UK/Canada/US
Album: Not available (demo, 2011)
Notes: Unpretentious, melodic, intimate pearl by a four-piece musical collaboration comprising UK singer, Carina Round, Canadian tunesmith, Justin Rutlege and a couple of LA-based musicians, Zac Rae and Dan Burn - who wrote and completed several songs on their first EP using Skype, video chat and email.
Artist: Berni Flint, England
Notes: Lovely rolling folk pop number (a la Jim Croce) from way back when (with a rather dated strings arrangement) but there's a sweet melody and sentiment oozing out of this entirely unknown lost sapphire. Flint was a former British Royal Navy sailor.
Song: Keep Me In Your Thoughts
Artist: Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers, Shelburne, MA
Notes: Kellogg and band are a favorite on the college circuit and just finished its fifth long-player, 'Gift Horse' set to drop in the autumn. Group performs annually to raise money for the St. Jude's Children's Hospital.
Song: The Sweetest Gift
Artist: Sade, England
Album: Lovers Rock, 2000
Notes: So pure, so right, so good - two minutes of acoustic magic from this summer's hottest live ticket. Written by Adu for the Rainbow Trust Children's Charity which she supports in the UK.
Song: Love Remains The Same
Artist: Gavin Rossdale, England
Album: Wanderlust, 2008
Notes: Big rock hit from the Bush frontman from his freshman solo set. Mr. Stefani Gavin is a big tennis fan, often spotted sitting in tennis god, Roger Federer's family and friends box at the big tournament. New Bush album called 'The Sea of Memories' from a reunited Bush is due any day.,36,2011-W28,2011-W28,songs
Song: Everything You Love
Artist: Bob Schneider, Austin, TX
Album: A Perfect Day, 2011
Notes: Why isn't he bigger? An L&F preferred vendor with the lyrically menacing but appealing cut from his recent album. Top tunesmith, he makes nearly of his concerts available for sale immediately after each gig - and is well worth seeing live.
Song: Tell Me
Artist: Jill Barber, Canada
Album: Mischievous Moon, 2011
Notes: Unique-sounding singer-songwriter from Toronto with her the distinctive soul-inflected voice. Still an acquired taste south of the border, she's cut several songs with the hugely underrated Ron Sexsmith. More on Jill at www.jillbarber.com.
Song: Vintage Red
Artist: Jay Jay Pistolet, England
Album: Not available, 2011
Notes: A delightfully wacky song from inventive singer-songwriter who released a lovely little EP called 'Happy Birthday You' in 2008. Recently re-emerged on Mumford & Sons' Communion label in London.
Song: Don’t Leave Now
Artist: Jesse Labelle, Canada
Notes: Yet another promising young new musician from Toronto. Jesse started out doing covers of Eddie Vedder and Scott Weiland songs in local clubs. Newly-released freshman album is unfortunately only currently available in Canada - which is rather unhelpful.