Song: Static Waves
Artist: Andrew Belle feat. Kayie Herzig, Nashville
Album: The Ladder, 2011
Notes: Delicious intertwining of Belle's freezer-cool vox offset by Herzig's counterpoint vocal, underpinned by a restrained, rolling rhythm track and a deft strings arrangement. Two of Nashville's finest.
Song: Best Days
Artist: Eric Hutchinson, Takoma Park, MD
Album: Moving Up, Moving Down, 2012
Notes: One of half-a-dozen choice cuts on a strong, no-nonsense new pop-rock offering from 'Rock & Roll' hitmaker. Previously signed to Madonna's Maverick label.
Song: Thieves Like Us
Artist: New Order, England
Album: Substance, 1987
Notes: How many top 20 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 has New Order had? - NONE - not even this Modern Rock cracker from 1984. Band has recently reformed, and will perform at the Closing Ceremonies of the Summer Olympics in London In August.
Song: Show and Tell
Artist: Sugar & the Hi Lows, Nashville
Album: Sugar & the Hi Lows EP, 2012
Notes: A breezy, restrained collaboration by L&F regulars, Amy Stroup and Trent Dabbs who recently teamed up as Sugar & The Hi Lows. Standout track on a delightful, retro-tinged, semi-electric eight-song collection.
Song: Beginning of the End
Artist: Steve Moakler, Pittsburg, PA
Album: Watching Time Run, 2011
Notes: Note-perfect ballad from sorely under-appreciated tunesmith. One of the best overlooked cuts in any genre from last year. Still unsigned - bizarre.
Song: My Heart
Artist: Loney, Dear, Sweden
Album: Hall Music, 2011
Notes: A curiously winning sonic landscape featuring female vocals by guest collaborator, Malin Stahlberg. From the sixth album by Swedish multi-instrumentalist, Emil Svanangen (formerly signed to Sub Pop label).
Song: Hold My Heart
Artist: Sara Bareilles, Eureka, CA
Album: Kaleidoscope Heart, 2010
Notes: Terrific crescendoed climax on a lost gem from Sara's 2010 sophomore set. She was a judge on the a capella NBC tv talent, series 'The Sing Off' last year alongside equally talented Ben Folds.
Song: I’m 22
Artist: The Two, France
Album: The Two, 2012
Notes: Rewarding low-fi, quirky, organic acoustic ditty by a young French Art-pop duo comprising David Jarre - the son of Jean Michel Jarre and actress, the timeless belle, Charlotte Rampling - and Ara Starck - who's dad is famed designer, Philippe Starck.
Song: Oxygene, Part 4
Artist: Jean Michel Jarre, France
Album: Oxygene, 1976
Notes: Instrumental synth-electronica from a pioneer in the genre. Jarre was huge in the mid-'70s when he recoded a pair of classic synth albums, 'Equinoxe' and 'Oxygene', accompanied by dazzling over-the-top laser-light show concert extravaganzas.
Song: Mississippi Isabel
Artist: King Charles, England
Album: Mississippi Isabel EP, 2011
Notes: Upbeat, quirky but engagingly melodic glam folk by fun newcomer, Charles Costa who sports full wiggish Charles II hair (the Russell Brand of rock?). Multi-instrumentalist from London formerly fronted a band called Adventure Playground.
Song: A Beautiful World
Artist: Tim Myers, Los Angeles
Album: The Good Life, 2008
Notes: Talented hook-filled singer-songwriter with yet another bright, radio-ready nugget. Still indie, makes a decent living licensing his melodic fare to tv show, soundtracks and commercials.
Song: Always You
Artist: Sophie Zelmani, Sweden
Notes: One of her earliest recordings and used on the 1997 film soundtrack to the Julia Roberts romcom. Sophie began playing guitar and writing songs at the age of 14 - her most recent CD is 'Soul', also worth a spin. More at www.sophie-zelmani.com.
Song: She’s On My Arm Now
Artist: Cinema, Atlanta
Notes: A powerful, exuberant modern rock corker, a movie all on its own. A collaboration by singer Leighton Antelman and producer, Matt Malpass, their promising debut album is fab - and was universally ignored.
Song: Old Man
Artist: Lizz Wright, Hahira, GA
Album: Dreaming Wide Awake, 2006
Notes: A faithful and soulful update of Neil Young's classic from his 40-year old 'Harvest' opus. A folk-soul outing by an artiste better known as a jazz performer. Four lovely albums under her belt to date.
Song: Ain’t You Tired
Artist: Thomas Newman, Los Angeles
Notes: Too good, some music just doesn't need words. Criminal that Newman's score to 'The Help' wasn't nominated for an Oscar - and that his collaboration with Mary J. Blige ('The Living Proof') for the same movie was also overlooked. Muppets at the Academy indeed.
Song: Worth The Fight
Artist: Marie Hines, Nashville
Album: Worth The Fight, 2010
Notes: Lovely orchestration on an outstanding ballad only played on 'Lost & Found'. Originally from Spartanburg in SC, now based (of course) in Nashville - Marie records much of her music with a string quartet and is also an accomplished pianist.
Song: Say Goodbye
Artist: Amos Lee, Philadelphia
Album: As The Crow Flies EP, 2012
Notes: Yet another superb cut from Lee's recent EP. He was inspired to take up a career in music after listening to a John Prine album while attending the University of South Carolina.
Song: Happy Go Lucky
Artist: Chelsea Williams, Los Angeles
Album: Not available
Notes: A carefree winner from top street musician who can often be found performing on the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica and at small clubs and coffee houses around La La. Recently (and wisely) snapped up by industry honcho, Jimmy Iovine at Interscope. More at myspace.com/chelseawilliams.
Artist: Elizaveta, New York
Album: Beatrix Runs, 2012
Notes: Promising new gem from artiste who describes herself as a "singer, pianist, opera vocalist, poet and flower alchemist". Elizaveta was born in NY, but variously brought up in Russia and Italy, her musical influences include Nina Simone and Bach. www.elizavetamusic.com
Artist: Aqualung, England
Album: Magnetic North, 2010
Notes: 82 seconds of a little musical ditty on California by clever lad, singer-songwriter/pianist Matt Hales aka, Aqualung from a much overlooked album.
Song: Skinny Love
Artist: Birdy, England
Album: Birdy, 2011
Notes: Lilting, worthwhile cover of the Bon Iver song by 15-year old British newcomer Birdy (real name, Jasmine van den Bogaerde) who's still at high school in the lovely county of Hampshire in the south of England. Major new talent.
Artist: Chapterhouse, England
Album: Whirlpool, 1991
Notes: What a chorus, one of the most rousing and complete lost indie dream-rock crackers in living memory. Part of the British 'shoe-gazing' indie rock scene which lasted for about five minutes in the late '80s. Album wisely reissued by the marvelous Cherry Red label.
Song: Until I Met You
Artist: Judy Rodman, Riverside, CA
Album: Not available, 1986
Notes: A syrupy, drop-dead gorgeous Country barn ballad from way back. A re-recorded version by Judy is available online, but this original recording has still not made it to digital (as with much of the excellent MTM Records catalog).
Song: Young, Dumb and In Love
Artist: Mat Kearney, Eugene, OR
Album: Young Love, 2011
Notes: Bubbly winner from Mat's fourth album. He's still out on tour around the country until mid-April - dates at www.matkearney.com - always worth the price of admission.
Song: The Symphony
Artist: Snow Patrol, Scotland
Album: Fallen Empires, 2012
Notes: One of two exceptional cuts on their recent album (the other being 'Lifening'). The band is currently on its 'Fallen Empires' world tour which will include two months of dates all around North America in April and May.
Artist: Elton John, England
Notes: Timeless ballad by Sir Elton John from hi iconic ninth album which ranks at #158 on Rolling Stone's Top 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list. Reg and his co-writer, lyricist Bernie Taupin, will celebrate 45 years of their extraordinary songwriting partnership this year.
Song: Come Back Down
Artist: Greg Laswell feat. Sara Bareilles, San Diego
Album: Landline, 2012
Notes: Standout duet and a top-notch preview from Greg's superb upcoming album. Highly recommended new set is due to drop in April. Laswell recently married Ingrid Michaelson.
Artist: Joe Brooks, England
Album: Constellation Me, 2010
Notes: Hard to believe Joe was just 21 when he recorded this lovely ditty for a remarkably mature sophomore album. Joe's playing a 40-date US club tour billed as the Joe Brooks Trio all over the country starting next week. Dates at www.joebrooks.com.
Song: Walk Away
Artist: Dia Frampton, St. George, UT
Album: Red, 2011
Notes: Catchy pop/rock radio-friendly sensibility from her recent maiden solo album. Dia is also one half of the Meg & Dia duo with her sister. Dia was a contestant on last year's 'The Voice' series on NBC (spinning chairs, ridiculous).
Artist: Rachel Platten, New York
Album: Be Here, 2011
Notes: Fresh vibrant sound of telegenic singer-songwriter who studied at the esteemed Berklee School of Music now a New York-based pianist and self-professed beatboxer. Opened for the likes of Regina Spektor, Ziggy Marley, and the Strokes.
Song: Wichita Lineman
Artist: Glen Campbell, Delight, AR
Album: Wichita Lineman, 1968
Notes: Vintage classic written by the great Jimmy Webb about a lonesome blue collar guy missing the one he loves while working as a lineman on a rural highway. Webb recently said of the hero of his timeless composition 'you may think you know what's going on inside him, but you don't. You can't assume that just because someone's in a menial job that they don't have dreams or extraordinary concepts going around in their head.'
Song: I’m Through
Artist: Ingrid Michaelson, Staten Island, NY
Album: Human Again, 2012
Notes: Clearly the saddest song of all time (at least until next week) so pure, so sweet, so mournful. A standout ballad on a truly sensational, complete new album by an ever-improving songstress. Essential listening.
Song: Beg For Love
Artist: Hawk In Paris, Nashville
Album: His + Hers, 2011
Notes: Unabashed retro-synth pop/rock style by still unsigned trio from Nashville. Band is named after a live album by the jazz musician, Coleman Hawkins. More at facebook.com/thehawkinparis.
Song: One of These Mornings
Artist: Moby feat. Patti LaBelle, New York/Philadelphia
Notes: Recorded especially for the 'Miami Vice' movie remake, a creative, rewarding collaboration from an unexpected pairing. Also available on a strong compilation of rare Moby tracks called '18 & 18 B-Sides'.
Song: Love Me Still
Artist: Bruce Hornsby, Williamsburg, VA
Notes: A+ lost ballad, live pearl by the piano maestro (which he co-wrote with Chaka Khan) but only available on a superb boxed-set retrospective.
Artist: Plumb, Nashville
Album: candycoatedwaterdrops, 1999
Notes: A neat lost plumb from artiste whose real name is Tiffany Arbuckle Lee. Plumb has assembled a fine melodramatic body of largely under-appreciated music since 1997.
Song: I Want You
Artist: Andrew Allen, Canada
Album: Digital single, 2011
Notes: Well-crafted catchy pop bubbler from freshman Allen who recently completed a winter tour with L&F preferred vendor, Joshua Radin.
Song: Til My Heart Quakes
Artist: Alyssa Graham, New York
Album: Lock Stock and Soul, 2012
Notes: Fragile, restrained, tender but so rewarding, from the new album by New England Conservatory alumnus. Alyssa's raw, delicate solo sophomore set came out a few weeks ago.
Artist: Field Mice, England
Notes: Effortless dreamy indie pop from London-based band which was around for four years in the late '80s. Described as the missing link between the Smiths and Belle & Sebastian, fronted by talented tunesmith, Bobby Wratten.
Artist: Bruce Springsteen, Long Branch, NJ
Album: Tunnel of Love, 1987
Notes: Top-notch midtempo love song from what may still be Springsteen's most rounded solo outing. Now back in full force with the E Street Band with a mighty new album and tour coming up.