Song: Dirty Paws
Artist: of Monsters and Men, Iceland
Album: My Head Is An Animal, 2011
Notes: Splendid childlike, surreal lyrics, fine hook-filled instrumentation from the best band to emerge from Iceland since Sigur Ros. Just one of a half-dozen fine outings on the debut offering by the highly creative six-piece.
Song: On The Radio
Artist: Andy Stochansky, Canada
Album: Not available
Notes: Song title is the very definition of "irony". Unreleased lost pearl from the underrated Canadian tunesmith based in Los Angeles. Four terrific albums but never had a hit. Check out more at http://soundcloud.com/house-of-andy.
Artist: XTC, England
Album: Mummer, 1983
Notes: Pastoral post-punk, some literate acoustic old wave New Wave. Fronted by Andy Partridge, XTC started in 1977 during the heady days of punk in the UK - but quickly smoothed out their sound and released a brace of engaging 45s and albums during the '80s.
Song: Good Looking Loser
Artist: Meiko, Roberta, GA
Album: The Bright Side, 2012
Notes: The wait is over, some top-drawer new music from the superb songstress originally from Georgia now based in LA. Parent album is another brilliant collection of melodic singer-songwriter fare graced by her breathy vocal style.
Song: True Romance
Artist: Arthur Dodge & The Horsefeathers, Lawrence, KS
Notes: A dose of unromantic realism, a true-grit bittersweet, authentic alternative Country heart-buster. Gritty vocal style honed on a steady diet of beer and smokes - four albums under his belt to date.
Song: Best Thing I Got
Artist: Aya, Denmark
Album: Digital single, 2012
Notes: Fabulous playful retro soul-pop from Yanni Friis (aka Aya). Delightful pop confection is Denmark's entry in the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest which is one of the cheesiest and most ridiculous music competitions around: makes 'The Voice' look like 'Downtown Abbey' by comparison.
Song: Don’t Cry Sister
Artist: J.J. Cale, Oklahoma City
Album: 5, 1979
Notes: Two minutes and change, the cool Americana vibe of the OK legend. Cale's unique laid-back guitar style has been much copied over the years by the likes of Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler and Chris Rea.
Song: I Found You
Artist: Alabama Shakes, Athens, AL
Album: Boys & Girls, 2012
Notes: A mighty cacophony of Muscle Shoals-steeped sound from one the hippest bands of the past year (the album will win multiple Grammys). Soul-drenched lead singer, Brittany Howard, is far better than the overrated Janis Joplin to whom she's often compared.
Song: Comes A Time
Artist: Neil Young, Canada
Album: Comes A Time, 1978
Notes: Gentle hoe-down magic from Young's pastoral late '70s classic LP (which featured J.J. Cale as guest guitarist). 29 years since one of Young's singles has made the Billboard Hot 100 - criminal.
Song: Favourite Thing
Artist: Yuna, Malaysia
Album: Yuna, 2012
Notes: Superb fresh folk-pop-soul from rising Malaysian songstress, Yunalis Zarai. Shades of Dido, she began writing English songs at 19 while studying at law school. Her outstanding maiden English-speaking CD is due out any day, produced by Pharrell Williams.
Song: All of Me
Artist: Tanlines, Brooklyn, NY
Album: Mixed Emotions, 2012
Notes: A delightful mix of organic, synth-driven Depeche Mode-laced pop-rock by electronic indie rock duo of duo of keyboardists Jesse Cohen and Eric Emm. Strong accompanying panoramic video clip of this number streaming at www.tanlinesinternet.com.
Artist: William Fitzsimmons, Pittsburgh, PA
Album: Derivatives, 2010
Notes: Rather sad offering despite the chilled-out electro remix treatment. Featured on an uber-cool album of radical remixes of formerly acoustic nuggets by the earnest tunesmith, which also includes the original acoustic version.
Song: She Is His Only Need
Artist: Wynonna, Ashland, KY
Album: Wynonna, 1992
Notes: Exquisite blue collar story-telling magic from the younger Judd, written by the Dave Loggins (who penned and performed the classic 'Please Come to Boston'). Big Country hit which failed to crossover.
Song: Hey Jesus
Artist: Tyler Hilton, Los Angeles
Album: Forget The Storm, 2012
Notes: A quiet gem from Hilton's first full album in eight years - and worth the wait. Still so underrated, he's got an uncanny gift for crafting simple, memorable melodies and smart lyrics, delivered with a strong raspy voice. More at www.tylerhilton.com.
Song: Sweet Little Mystery
Artist: John Martyn, England
Album: Grace and Danger, 1980
Notes: Mellow, understated corker from one of England finest tunesmiths with Phil Collins on drums. His real name was Iain McGeachy, he recorded an exceptional cannon of work, 20 albums over 40 years, but passed away too young at the age of 60 in 2009.
Song: Stubborn Love
Artist: Lumineers, Denver, CO
Album: Lumineers, 2012
Notes: If you like Mumford & Sons or the Avett Brothers, you might enjoy this. Tight trio based in Denver fronted by Wesley Schultz, currently getting airplay with 'Ho Hey'.
Song: Wish You Were Here
Artist: Fleetwood Mac, Los Angeles
Album: Mirage, 1982
Notes: Easy to overlook the beautiful contributions by pianist-singer-songwriter Christine McVie in Mac's long history. Here she is front and center on this classically constructed love song. Christine hasn't recorded with the band since 2003.
Song: Back With Me
Artist: Jason Reeves, Nashville
Album: Songs Are Silent Films, 2012
Notes: Reeves could make a Mitt Romney speech sound melodic and interesting, such a talent. A sweet preview of his upcoming long-player.
Song: All This Time
Artist: OneRepublic, Colorado Springs, CO
Album: Waking Up, 2009
Notes: Among their many anthemic pop-rock hits, this was the one that got away. Quintet firmly fronted by Ryan Tedder and Zach Filkins - Tedder is one of the most in-demand writers and producers around (worked with the likes Adele, Beyonce, Whitney Houston, even Soundgarden's Chris Cornell).
Song: Everyday Is Like Sunday
Artist: Morrissey, England
Album: Viva Hate, 1988
Notes: Armageddon-beckoning lost belter from the master of the morose on his debut solo outing. Nine studio sets to date he still resists all thoughts of a Smiths reunion.
Song: Places To Go
Artist: Leftover Cuties, Venice, CA
Album: Places To Go, 2011
Notes: Great fun, some neat retro folk-pop by a way-cool five-piece fronted by female vocalist, Shirli McAllen. Still unsigned though they provided the theme song to Showtime TV's 'The Big C' series.
Song: More Fool Me
Artist: Genesis, England
Notes: A tender lost pearl and one of the first Genesis tracks to feature Phil Collins on lead mic (Peter Gabriel was still in the lineup until 1976).
Artist: I Hate You Just Kidding, Costa Mesa, CA
Album: Days Grow Longer, 2011
Notes: The final number on a rather intriguing full-length debut from the duo of Jeremy Brock and Jessi Fulghum. Engaging shoe-gazing folk.
Song: Memory For Me
Artist: Tina Vero, New York
Album: Ready Let Go, 2012
Notes: Splendid rolling chorus on this nugget from Vero's third album (in the vein of Kathleen Edwards and Feist). She got her first break when Neil Finn of Crowded House invited her to join him onstage at a Big Apple gig a few years ago. More at www.tinavero.com.
Song: Mr. Writer
Artist: Stereophonics, Wales
Notes: Superb, growling whiskey-drenched lead vocals from Kelly Jones backed by his vibrant Welsh rock colleagues now celebrating 20 years together. Written as an acerbic message to silly rock critics.
Song: Touch Back Down
Artist: Catherine Feeny, Portland, OR
Album: Hurricane Glass, 2007
Notes: Released as a single five years ago but completely overlooked by everyone. Sorely underrated, highly melodic songstress has opened for the likes of Dr. John, Suzanne Vega, Martha Wainright - and the Stereophonics.
Song: Lovers Without Love
Artist: Joshua James, Portland, OR
Notes: A simple acoustic ballad with earnest lyrics about romance and the state of the modern world. James also bizarrely fronts a Chicano Rock group, Los Perros Olvidados.
Song: Song For The Road
Artist: David Ford, England
Album: Songs For The Road, 2007
Notes: A super ballad about missing his loved one while touring by British tunesmith. Now in his mid-thirties Ford's released three worthwhile CDs since 2005 and opened for the likes of Starsailor, Elvis Costello, Gomez and KT Tunstall.
Song: Winding Road
Artist: Bonnie Somerville, Los Angeles
Notes: One of several winners showcased on the seminal 'Garden State' soundtrack which set the standard for literate and tasteful film music collections back in 2004 (compiled by actor, Zach Braff).
Artist: Tom Jans, San Jose, CA
Album: Dark Blonde, 1976
Notes: Another L&F exclusive, the only show in the world which has ever aired this exceptional piano-led ballad - and clearly the Saddest Song of All Time. Penned and performed by the 'Loving Arms' (Elvis/Millie Jackson) hitmaker who sadly died too soon from a drug overdose in 1984 at the age of just 36 following a bad motorbike accident the previous year.
Song: Three Little Birds
Artist: Bob Marley & The Wailers, Jamaica
Album: Exodus, 1977
Notes: One of dozens of masterful Marley melodies never to make the Billboard Hot 100. Covered by dozens of other artists over the years including Robbie Williams and Jason Mraz who segues into 'Three Little Birds' when he performs his 'I'm Yours' hit live.
Song: When The Night Comes
Artist: Dan Auerbach, Akron, OH
Album: Keep It Hid, 2009
Notes: The softer solo side of one-half of the ever-hip Black Keys from his debut album. Dan was in another blues-rock combo before forming the Black Keys called the Barnburners. This solo lost nugget co-written with his younger brother.
Song: Sky’s Still Blue
Artist: Andrew Belle, Nashville
Album: The Daylight EP, 2012
Notes: A new winner from L&F permanent resident Belle. It remains a mystery why he still remains a mystery to radio at large, such an accessible and consistently creative singer-songwriter. More at www.andrewbelle.com.
Song: God Help This Divorce
Artist: Miike Snow, Sweden
Album: Happy To You, 2012
Notes: Intriguing Swedish indie pop by a trio fronted by producers Pontus Winnberg and Christian Karlsson who have also earned a strong reputation as top-flight remixers for other acts including Depeche Mode, Kings of Leon and Vampire Weekend.
Song: Tender Love
Artist: Force MDs, Staten Island, NY
Album: Chillin', 1985
Notes: Note-perfect old-school R&B/pop balladry from former new jack swinging troupe. Written and produced by mighty team of Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis.
Song: The Rest Is Silence
Artist: Lunik, Switzerland
Album: Lonely Letters, 2009
Notes: Neatly melodic lost nugget from Swiss four-piece fronted by songstress/guitarist Jael Krebs. Huge in their home country and Italy.
Song: It’s Real
Artist: Real Estate, Brooklyn, NY
Album: Days, 2011
Notes: A delightful guitar refrain ringing throughout this number. Relatively new outfit which has been together just three years fronted by singer-guitarist and their main songwriter, Martin Courtney.
Artist: A Fine Frenzy, Seattle
Album: One Cell In The Sea, 2008
Notes: A rare, spare live studio version of her signature song by the much under-appreciated A Fine Frenzy, the performing name chosen by singer-songwriter/pianist, Alison Sudol - a beautiful and talented 20-something.