Song: When You Come Back Down
Artist: Nickel Creek, Vista, CA
Album: Nickel Creek, 1999
Notes: Easy-swaying acoustic pearl from their lovely debut album which was produced by Alison Krauss. The much-missed bluegrass combo who regrettably split up five years ago combined the talents of lead singer and mandolin player Chris Thile, and siblings Sean Watkins on guitar and his sister Sara on violin.
Artist: Angela McCluskey, Scotland
Album: Dream (UNICEF single), 2008
Notes: Powerful pop-soul belter from lead singer of California-based folk-pop combo, the Wild Colonials - (Angela's also collaborated with French poptronica outfit, Telepopmusik). Why isn't she a bigger star? More at www.angelamccluskey.com.
Artist: Psychedelic Furs, England
Album: Mirror Moves, 1984
Notes: Solid slice of accessible, vintage Modern Rock from the Furs' best album. Written by the brothers Butler, bassist Tim and frontman Richard who went on to pursue a solo career after the group disbanded in 1991.
Artist: Sarah Bettens, Belgium
Album: Scream, 2005
Notes: Overlooked nugget by smokey-voiced songstress originally from Belgium who relocated to live in Tennessee. Also lead singer of the Belgian rock group, K's Choice.
Song: Only Skin
Artist: Spring Standards, New York
Album: Yellow/Gold EP, 2012
Notes: Another strong folk-pop cut from an upcoming pair of EPs from trio of James Cleare, Heather Robb and James Smith who originally formed the band when they were all just 16.
Song: Waiting For Something
Artist: Nada Surf, New York
Notes: Driving rhythm track from the alternative rocking, indie-darling trio led by Matthews Caws. From their latest CD.
Song: I’ll Still Love You Then
Artist: Anna Nordell, Sweden
Notes: Buried on the outstanding and much overlooked soundtrack which is just stuffed with lost rare earth minerals, quality ballad from Swedish singer-songwriter who got her start in showbiz at the age of just 14 playing the part of Leisl in a major production of the 'Sound of Music' in Stockholm.
Song: Stay Away
Artist: Honorary Title, Brooklyn, NY
Notes: Sturdy rock outing by the alternative rock quintet which was only around for six years before splitting in 2009 - lead singer Jarred Gorbel has subsequently undertaken a solo career.
Song: Deep River Woman
Artist: Lionel Richie, Tuskegee, AL
Album: Dancing On The Ceiling, 1987
Notes: Somehow this exquisite, highly harmonious pearl never cracked the Top 50 on the Billboard Hot 100. A Country-flavored corker with superb harmonies from veteran Country band, Alabama.
Song: Eat Dirt
Artist: Susan Justice, Aruba
Album: Eat Dirt, 2012
Notes: Outstanding title cut from a new album by extremely promising songstress. A painful autobiographical account of a questioning teenager trying to break free from a cultish upbringing and domineering parents.
Song: Street Map
Artist: Athlete, England
Album: The Tourist, 2005
Notes: Too good for prime time, a delicious tender number about trying to map out a new love that seems impossible, from their best album to date. Why aren't they as big as Coldplay in the US?
Song: Gone Are The Days
Artist: Magic Numbers, England
Notes: Lovely easy-flowing folk-pop from a British pop quartet comprising two sets of siblings, Angela and Sean Garron and Michele and Romeo Stodart. One of several top cuts on a terrific benefit compilation album released to benefit the worthy War Child charity.
Song: Moon Rivers and Such
Artist: Kristina Train, New York
Album: Spilt Milk, 2009
Notes: Full blues-gospel sound of the remarkable Kristina, horribly under-appreciated sitting squarely between Norah Jones and Adele. Signed to the venerable Blue Note jazz/blues label. Essential listening.
Song: The Tao of Love
Artist: Vangelis, Greece
Album: China, 1979
Notes: Greek synth-God, Vangelis (he of 'Chariots of Fire' fame) - with an intriguing oriental excursion. He recently turned 70, a prolific instrumentalist and composer who's recorded over 40 albums over the past 40 years including several top soundtracks.
Artist: Lydia, Gilbert, AZ
Album: Paint It Golden 2011
Notes: A mighty collage of sound, such a creative musician, songwriter and infectiously emotive singer, Leighton Antelman also known as Lydia (and one half of The Cinema too). Album is top notch.
Song: The Rubberband Man
Artist: Spinners, Detroit
Notes: Crossover smash from 1976 but barely heard anymore, the soulful precision of the evergreen vocal group with a timeless R&B shuffler written and produced by the great Thom Bell.
Song: My Soul
Artist: Nitin Sawhney feat. McCartney, England
Album: London Undersound, 2009
Notes: An intriguing quiet pairing of British-Asian jazz/electronica producer/composer Nitin Sawhney featuring a soulful guest vocal turn from Sir Paul. Ironically, Nitin is currently working on music for a new movie titled 'The Fifth Beatle'.
Song: I’m Through
Artist: Ingrid Michaelson, Staten Island, NY
Album: Human Again, 2012
Notes: Heartbreaking, a melodic masterclass by Michaelson with wrenching, spare purity: yet another A+ track on her cracking recent album.
Artist: Wellspring, Los Angeles
Album: Wellspring EP, 2010
Notes: Deeply harmonious strings-laden nugget buried on their 2010 EP. Relatively new LA-based indie-folk duo of Talia Osteen and Dov Rosenblatt, opened for the likes of Pete Yorn and Ben Kweller.
Artist: Laid Back, Denmark
Album: Bakerman, 1989
Notes: Curiously hypnotic pop-rock winner by Danish New Wave band based in Copenhagen. New Order's Bernard Sumner was a big fan. Album now available online.
Song: Ease Me
Artist: Sepiamusic, Denmark
Album: Prototype, 2003
Notes: Breezy vocalist Erin Chapman and musician/producer Michael Adler Miltersen who got together in 1999 and have since weaved a lovely catalog of accessible, dreamy electronic emotionally-charged pop.
Artist: Korgis, England
Album: Dumb Waiters, 1980
Notes: Rarely heard anymore on the radio (rather dated production) but still a fabulous melody and sentiment pouring out of a song subsequently covered by the likes of Dream Academy, Erasure, Vanessa Carlton etc.
Song: The Last Laugh
Artist: Mark Knopfler feat. Van Morrison, England
Notes: Knopfler trading vocals with the king of blue-eyed soul, Van Morrison on an immaculate horns-laced pearl from Knopfler's finest solo set.
Artist: R.E.M., Athens, GA
Notes: A lovely but overlooked swansong, fittingly the final official single released by the iconic band before they called it quits last year. Beautiful old-school, low-key strings arrangement and lyrical sentiment.
Artist: Kenny Rogers, Houston, TX
Album: Water & Bridges, 2006
Notes: No rules on L&F: seemingly corny but actually rather clever, a song written in 2005 by Tommy Conners and D. Vincent Williams to reflect on the previous 10 years of American life and society but ultimately a sad goodbye to the singer's friend, Christopher Reeves.
Artist: Dexy's Midnight Runners, England
Notes: Strong horn refrain and a bolshy, soul-dipped tribute to the great R&B singer, Geno Washington from the always controversial Kevin Rowland and his Dexy's cohorts. A #1 in the UK, ignored in the US.
Song: Swan Song
Artist: Jennifer O'Connor, Brooklyn, NY
Album: I Want What You Want, 2011
Notes: Melancholic vocal delivery is offset so well amidst the violins and cellos, another winner from her fifth long-player. She become a real musician's musician over the last 10 years, performing with the likes of Feist, the Indigo Girls and Wilco. More at www.jenniferoconnor.net.
Song: Feel The Need
Artist: Detroit Emeralds, Detroit
Album: Feel The Need, 1977
Notes: Morte fabulous vintage soul from Motor City which somehow got lost. Truly a band of brothers, the Tilmon lads - sadly one of the middle siblings, Abrim Tilmon died way too young at the age of just 37 from a heart attack in 1982.
Song: Loving and Free
Artist: Kiki Dee, England
Album: Loving and Free, 1973
Notes: Sweet title cut lost treasure from way back when by a long-standing friend and occasional musical partner to Elton John ('Don't Go Breaking My Heart').
Song: Passion Play
Artist: William Fitzsimmons, Pittsburgh, PA
Notes: One of many overlooked gems by an A+ underrated tunesmith and top acoustic guitarist. Five intriguing organic albums since 2005 by this very personal and intimate songwriter. Utterly authentic.
Song: Coffee and Cigarettes
Artist: Michelle Featherstone, England
Album: Fallen Down, 2006
Notes: Beautiful but intensely sad ballad about the pain involved in trying to overcome the hardest addiction of all. An alumnus of the esteemed Royal Academy of Music in London, Michelle relocated to Hollywood some years ago and regularly performs on the LA club circuit.
Song: Word Up!
Artist: Cameo, New York
Album: Word Up!, 1986
Notes: Funk-filled fun, crisp rewind from Larry Blackmon's R&B combo. Showcases a similar funk-rock rhythm and percussive backdrop to the best work by the Fine Young Cannibals. Covered by nu-metal rockers, Korn to commercial success in 2004.
Song: Next To Me
Artist: Emeli Sande, Scotland
Album: Our Version of Events, 2012
Notes: Glorious new pop-soul bubbler from 24-year old British newcomer who sports a shocking blonde punkish hairstyle. Originally set on a career in medicine before thankfully committing to music instead. Already a successful songwriter for other British acts including Leona Lewis.
Song: The Rest Is Silence
Artist: Lunik, Switzerland
Album: Lonely Letters, 2009
Notes: Neatly melodic offering from Swiss four-piece fronted by songstress/guitarist Jael Krebs which began as an electronic unit but have progressed to more acoustic fare.
Artist: Emmanuel Jal, Sudan
Album: Gua, 2004
Notes: Top-drawer World Music by former (forced) child soldier who has emerged as an important cultural force in Africa. Four languages in the song, Arabic, English and the tribal tongues of both Nuer and Dinka - with lyrics themed on finding peace and freedom in his war-torn home country.
Song: Goodnight Moon
Artist: Shivaree, Los Angeles
Notes: Haunting number used over the film's closing credits by Tarantino. Distinctive lead female vocal by the band's Ambrosia Parsley - the indie rocking trio is no longer with us, splitting in 2007.
Artist: Beach House, Baltimore, MD
Album: Bloom, 2012
Notes: Fabulous new cut from upcoming fourth CD (out in May) by dream-pop/space-pop duo of Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally, rounded off with some lovely cinematic flourishes.
Song: Love Will Tear Us Apart
Artist: Love In The Circus, Los Angeles
Album: Love In The Circus, 2011
Notes: Uber cool with a nice old-school sax break in the bridge, a fab electronica-kissed update of the INXS smash by a fast-rising LA combo. Graced by the sultry tones of lead vocalist and bass player, Leanna Rachel. They're an immensely creative and highly visual septet, more at www.loveinthecircus.com.
Song: Nobody Knows
Artist: Paul Brady, Ireland
Album: Trick or Treat, 1991
Notes: Literate lost pearl from the immensely under-rated Irish singer-songwriter. Ten terrific albums since 1978, all worth a gander.