Artist: Nice Little Penguins, Denmark
Album: Digital single, 2011
Notes: Cheerful, ukulele-driven indie folk-pop from Danish trio of brothers Michael and Carsten Kolster and Bo Feierskov. Together since 1983. Their stated mission is to 'spread joy and good vibrations like their musical idols, the Beatles, the Police and Crowded House.'
Artist: Nadia Fay, Los Angeles
Album: Honeycomb, 2009
Notes: Obscure but promising female singer songwriter, regularly performs around La La Land. Her only album to date was produced by her guitarist husband, Jay Condiotti, who's also a solo performer in his own right.
Song: Breaking My Heart Again
Artist: Aqualung, England
Album: Still Life, 2003
Notes: Another lost corker from inventive electronic whiz tunesmith Matt Hales, who just likes to be called Aqualung. From his second (and best) album.
Song: Somewhere In Between
Artist: Elenowen, Nashville
Album: Pulling Back The Veil, 2010
Notes: Smooth harmonies, strong melodies, a full joyous sound, excellent folk-tinged pop rock. Nashville-based pairing of husband and wife team, Josh and Nicole Johnson who worked together in a local coffee shop before deciding they had to make music together.
Song: Beggar In The Morning
Artist: Barr Brothers, Canada
Album: The Barr Brothers, 2011
Notes: Canadian quartet unsurprisingly based around siblings, Brad and Andrew Barr, augmented by harpist, Sarah Page and multi-instrumentalist Andres Vial with an intriguing new cut. Free download at www.barrbrothers.com.
Song: Swan Song
Artist: Bruce Hornsby, Williamsburg, VA
Album: Spirit Trail, 1998
Notes: Bruce may be the most accomplished pianist in contemporary music, and is wonderfully improvisational when performing live - though he hasn't toured for a couple of years citing being a bit burned out.
Artist: Graffiti 6, England
Album: Colours, 2011
Notes: Yet another lost gem by clever combo who were first heard on US radio on 'Lost& Found'. They're the London-based electronica pop-rock duo of singer Jamie Scott and producer Tommy D. Signed to Capitol/EMI Records, currently owned by Citi bank - so ask for it at your local branch.
Song: Hole In You
Artist: Jennie Abrahamson, Sweden
Notes: Too good for prime time from intriguing Stockholm-based songstress who exhibits shades of Kate Bush in her vocal delivery (and nothing wrong with that). Jennie has been a baker and a teacher but now committed full-time to music; claims to be inspired by 'fine music, good books - and bad people.'
Artist: Simple Plan, Canada
Album: Still Not Getting Any, 2004
Notes: Power emo ballad from Canadian alternative rock band. Seemingly the most self-piteous song ever, actually written about the tragic results of drinking and driving and subsequently used to great effect for a successful anti-drunk driving campaign. Underneath all the power ballad histrionics lurks a lovely melodic ballad, and a first-rate orchestral arrangement.
Song: Break Your Heart
Artist: Natalie Merchant, Jamestown, NY
Album: Ophelia, 1998
Notes: Lovely use of restrained use of horns on a lost pearl from former 10,000 Maniacs lead singer, ably helped on co-vocals from the underrated performer, N'dea Davenport. Natalie worked in a health food store as a teenager - why do so many people who work in health food stores look so ill?
Song: Hard Road
Artist: Shore, Silverlake, CA
Album: The Shore, 2004
Notes: From one of the most overlooked rock solid albums in recent memory, another fine number from CA-based combo fronted by excellent Ben Ashley (Verve/Oasis sounding).
Song: Little Italy
Artist: Stephen Bishop, San Diego
Album: Careless, 1976
Notes: Highly-melodic old school tunesmith with a ditty on Little Italy - featuring a spot-on cameo vocal from R&B great, Chaka Khan. Bishop was the 'sensitive' guy singing to his sweetheart on the stairs in the frat house party in 'Animal House' movie - whose acoustic guitar was rightly smashed by John Belushi.
Artist: Rebecca Pidgeon, Cambridge, MA
Album: Slingshot, 2011
Notes: Understated, easy-flowing song produced by the great Larry Klein, another worthwhile effort on her new album. Rebecca's been recording one fine, mostly undiscovered album after another for nearly 20 years.
Artist: Faultline feat. Chris Martin, England
Notes: Extremely obscure and slow but highly rewarding lost nugget from an enigmatic electronica producer based in London, David Kosten. Featuring top-notch quiet vocal throughout by Coldplay's frontman.
Artist: Charlie Grant, Chris Madin & Pete Woodroffe, England
Album: Pop You Don't Stop, 2011
Notes: Cheerful pop from a new trio of songwriters who got together in England last year. They don't have their own website, but you can find out more at www.chrismadin.com.
Song: Where I Stood
Artist: Missy Higgins, Australia
Album: On A Clear Night, 2007
Notes: A+ music yet again from Missy Higgins from down under with a bittersweet ballad. It was the only track to get any decent airplay from her outstanding sophomore album - come on Missy, we need a new record.
Artist: Roxy Music, England
Album: Avalon, 1982
Notes: Stirred but never shaken, a smooth synth-pop musical cocktail from Mr. Style himself, Bryan Ferry with his Roxy cohorts. 'Avalon' remains the band's last studio recording - amazingly it came out in 1982.
Song: Willy’s Song
Artist: Rayland Baxter, Nashville
Album: Not available, 2011
Notes: Fabulous retro vintage bridge, another promising cut from his yet-to-be-released new album. Five demo versions of new songs from his new long-player currently available for free streaming at www.raylandbaxter.com.
Song: New Sensations
Artist: Lou Reed, Brooklyn, NY
Album: New Sensations, 1984
Notes: Sensational rock nugget from Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and Velvet Underground alumnus who is now 69. Perhaps the only song to feature the word "tuinols" in the lyrics (a barbiturate - Dr. Luke).
Artist: Kate Walsh, England
Album: Tim's House, 2007
Notes: Plaintive mellow craft of under-appreciated English songstress, a lovely autumnal number, such an engaging acoustic lost gem. Graduate of the Brighton School of Music.
Artist: Simon & Garfunkel, New York
Notes: Short and bloody brilliant - which describes both the song and Paul Simon who wrote it. The exquisite album closer on one of the best-selling albums of all time. 1:48 of vintage aural magic, recorded live on November 1, 1969.
Song: Breathe In
Artist: Lucie Silvas, England
Album: Breathe In, 2004
Notes: Another hook-filled lost treasure from Lucie Silvas who is becoming another L&F preferred vendor since no-one else will play her fabulous catalog. New album due any day called 'Letters To Ghosts'.
Artist: Bon Iver, Eau Claire, WI
Album: Bon Iver
Notes: Top cut on latest album from ever-indecipherable but winning Justin Vernon and his chums. Band is a bit over-hyped by music critics, but several strong cuts on recent release.
Artist: Teardrop Explodes, England
Album: Kilimanjaro, 1980
Notes: Manic stuff, but so rewarding, the bright New Wave old wave sound of Julian Cope before he went solo. Debut album is now regarded as a classic of the era - and features wonderful horn work by a gentleman named Hurricane Smith:
Song: Don’t Let It Die
Artist: Hurricane Smith, England
Album: Don't Let It Die, 1972
Notes: No rules on L&F: unique gruff vocal sound, but a wonderful sense of piano-led melody on this vintage acorn. Smith was the engineer on every recording ever made by the Beatles at EMI. Real name was Norman Smith: he wrote a terrific memoir called 'John Lennon Called Me Normal'. Died after a long and full life at the age of 85 in 2008.
Song: Reason Why
Artist: Rachael Yamagata, Arlington, VA
Album: Happenstance, 2005
Notes: Sensitive ballad, nuanced skill from reliably strong singer-songwriter recorded at legendary Compass Point Studios in the Bahamas. Daughter an Italian-German mother and Japanese-American father.
Song: Wait For Me
Artist: Motopony, Seattle
Album: Motopony, 2011
Notes: Brand new, lovely alchemy of different musical styles mixing glitch-folk and nu-soul. Band was formed a couple of years ago by former clothes designer and now lead singer-songwriter, Daniel Blue.
Song: Song For Guy
Artist: Elton John, England
Album: A Single Man, 1978
Notes: Never released as a 45 in the States, but a big, mostly instrumental hit in the UK. Themed on death, and dedicated by Elton to Guy Burchett, his record label's 17-year old messenger boy, who was tragically killed on his motorcycle the day Reg wrote the song.
Song: Lucky Now
Artist: Ryan Adams, Jacksonville, NC
Album: Ashes & Fire, 2011
Notes: Such a prolific and reliable singer-songwriter, tasty number from his new long-player. CEO of his own label which is called PAX-AM - he's recorded 13 albums over the past 10 years or so.
Song: Make You Feel My Love
Artist: Adele, England
Album: 19, 2008
Notes: Whole world has gone Adele crazy this year for her sophomore set, but this stunning cover version of an old Bob Dylan chestnut is buried on her equally stunning debut album.
Song: Every Time It Rains
Artist: Randy Newman, Los Angeles
Album: Bad Love, 1999
Notes: Clearly the saddest song of all time, another first-rate morose melody and simple but anguished lyrics from the master.
Song: The Best Thing
Artist: Ivy, New York
Album: Apartment Life, 1997
Notes: Underrated Big Apple-based trio with an early modern rock number recorded before they went electronic. Lovely winsome lead vocal from Paris-born, Dominique Durand.
Song: I Can See You Shine
Artist: Gabe Dixon feat. James Walsh, Nashville
Album: One Spark, 2011
Notes: L&F has been championing this sorely overlooked pianist/singer-songwriter since day one. Another winner from his new album, Gabe writes and performs in an old school style, recalling McCartney and Billy Joel - no nonsense, effortless melodies and lyrics.
Song: Total Control
Artist: Motels, Berkeley, CA
Album: The Motels, 1979
Notes: Smashing sax solo slap bang in the middle of an engaging track which uses repetitive monotony as a hook. First single from New Wave which subsequently hit with 'Only The Lonely' and 'Suddenly Last Summer'. Fab.
Artist: Ed Sheeran, England
Album: Plus, 2011
Notes: First stateside single from promising new British talent, though 'Lost & Found' has been playing the equally worthwhile 'The A Team' for months. Helped early in his career by actor, Jamie Foxx.
Song: Forbidden City
Artist: Electronic, England
Album: Raise The Pressure, 1996
Notes: Biting breakup lyrics on an A+ modern rock lost nugget from one of the coolest ad-hoc bands ever formed, based around New Order's lead singer, Bernard Sumner and former Smiths guitarist, Johnny Marr.
Song: Comes A Time
Artist: Neil Young, Canada
Album: Comes A Time, 1978
Notes: The lovely rolling title track from his superbly pastoral 'Comes A Time' opus from the '70s. A truly prolific and restless artist (he was a guest vocalist on this year's much overlooked album by Elton John and Leon Russell).
Song: Only A Song
Artist: Ben Sollee & Daniel Martin Moore, Lexington, KY
Album: Dear Companion,
Notes: Old-school Appalachian Americana, bizarre but intriguing lyrics, strong organic number, great interplay between Sollee (a classically-trained cellist) and Moore (folk singer-songwriter and banjo/guitar player).
Song: If You’re Gone
Artist: Matchbox Twenty, Orlando, FL
Album: Mad Season, 2000
Notes: The mellow side of Rob Thomas and band cohorts on what will prove to be their most enduring smash. Rob is such a diverse songwriter (penned top tunes for Mick Jagger, Santana, Willie Nelson, even Marc Anthony).
Artist: Peter Bradley Adams, Birmingham, AL
Album: Between Us, 2011
Notes: So good, just makes one polished masterpiece after another, the immensely underrated Adams with one of several tasteful acoustic cuts from superb new album. Thoughtful and highly literate.