Artist: Imagine Dragons, Las Vegas
Album: Continued Silence EP, 2012
Notes: Another belter from their current EP which also boasts their breakthrough hit, 'It's Time'. Vegas-based quintet originally from Provo in Utah, now in their fourth year together - currently recording their full-length debut album in a studio tucked away inside the Palms Casino Resort.
Song: Break Your Heart
Artist: Natalie Merchant, Jamestown, NY
Album: Ophelia, 1998
Notes: So restrained and effective with infused horns which are simply too delicious, a lost pearl by the longtime vegetarian which somehow never graced the Billboard Hot 100. The underrated N'Dea Davenport lending a hand on guest vocals.
Song: Nice Girls
Artist: Any Trouble, England
Notes: Channeling early Joe Jackson and Elvis Costello, under-appreciated singer-songwriter Clive Gregson with his former band, Any Trouble, with the erudite Modern Rock lost corker. He formed the post-punk New Wave outfit in the north of England in the late '70s - they recorded five fab totally overlooked albums before Clive went solo in 1985. More at www.clivegregson.com.
Song: Counting The Days
Artist: Dion Roy, Namibia
Album: Into The Day, 2012
Notes: Strong singer-songwriting by a relative newcomer who was born in Namibia, but brought up in South Africa. Now based in New York he's opened for the likes of Eve 6 and the Donna's and L&F preferred vendor, Tyler Hilton.
Song: Two Shots
Artist: Elle King, Brooklyn, NY
Album: Not available, 2011
Notes: Grit-fueled blues vocal style, terrific energy, the real deal. Since first premiering her music on L&F last year, newcomer King has been picked up by RCA Records and is finishing off her first full-length release. In the meantime, a cracking EP has just been issued: www.facebook.com/ellekingmusic.
Song: You Are My Home
Artist: Tyler Lyle feat. Emerald Isabella, Atlanta
Album: Not available, 2012
Notes: Too good for prime time, a fresh new ballad from young Atlanta-based tunesmith who cites Damien Rice, Dylan, Paul Simon, Charlie Chaplin and 'The Unbearable Lightness of Being' among his influences. Tyler's more normal fare is blues-folk, showcased on two self-released EPs and two albums to date.
Song: You Are Young
Artist: Keane, England
Album: Strangeland, 2012
Notes: One of half-a-dozen gems making Keane's latest album a real return to form. The British quartet is currently celebrating its 15th year together, led by their main songwriter and keyboardist, Tim Rice-Oxley and lead singer, Tom Chaplin.
Song: Don’t I Know
Artist: Sinead Lohan, Ireland
Album: No Mermaid, 1998
Notes: Superb lost jewel by Ireland's other Sinead. Based in Cork in Ireland, she recorded a pair of super long players in the 1990s but then disappeared off the musical map. Taped another record about five years but it's never seen the light of day.
Song: Working Man
Artist: Bap Kennedy, N. Ireland
Album: Sailor's Revenge, 2012
Notes: A Celtic-infused, blue-collar sympathizing nugget from Bap's restrained and literate fifth solo effort - which was produced by Mark Knopfler at Mark's lovely British Grove Studios in London. More at www.bapkennedy.com.
Song: Don’t You Evah
Artist: Spoon, Austin, TX
Album: Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, 2007
Notes: Although the band writes most of its own material, this is a strong cover treatment of an original by NY trio, The Natural History (2005). Few groups have consistently remained critics favorites for so long without having a breakout hit.
Artist: Don Williams, Floydada, TX
Notes: Country corn no doubt but a fantastic melody, disciplined simplicity - and that soothing voice by Country veteran Don Williams - so unhip at this point that he's deeply hip. A new album by the Don, his first in forever, called 'And So It Goes' will be issued in a couple of weeks.
Song: You And Me
Artist: Sara Watkins, Vista, CA
Album: Sun Midnight Sun, 2012
Notes: Lovely number by the former Nickel Creek fiddler/singer from her confident new sophomore effort. Signed to Nonesuch Records, one of the best Americana/World Music labels out there. New album features guest vocals from Jackson Browne and Fiona Apple.
Artist: Kyler England, Los Angeles
Album: Spare Key Sessions EP, 2012
Notes: Terrific chamber orchestral accompaniment on this lost gem, originally recorded for the album she released last year, 'Electric Hum'. Kyler is also a member of the folk-pop-rock combo, the Rescues; she's opened for the likes of Sir Sting and Annie Lennox - more at www.kylerengland.com.
Song: You Better You Bet
Artist: Who, England
Album: Face Dances, 1981
Notes: The last top 20 single by the Who from more than 30 years ago. Townshend and Daltrey do a tremendous amount of charity work these days, a lot of it under the auspices of their brilliantly named Who Cares charitable trust. This song mentions the next band it its lyrics.
Song: Get It On
Artist: T. Rex, England
Album: Electric Warrior, 1971
Notes: Still sounds fresh and relevant some 41 years on, a glorious rock nugget by Marc Bolan and his band. Yes keyboard player, Rick Wakeman featured on piano (paid a mere $9 for his trouble) - but when T. Rex appeared on BBC1's 'Top of the Pops' to perform the song, the piano part was played by Elton John.
Song: Feels Good At First
Artist: Train, San Francisco
Album: California 37, 2012
Notes: One of several predictably catchy, hook-filled gems on the band's new offering. Co-written by uber-talented Train tunesmith, Pat Monahan with professional songwriter, Allen Shamblin (who also inked the timeless Bonnie Raitt ballad, 'I Can't Make You Love Me').
Song: Winter Melody
Artist: Donna Summer, Boston
Album: Seasons of Love, 1976
Notes: Breezy melancholic lost gem from her mid-'70s concept LP. Donna co-wrote much of her own material - including the groundbreaking 'I Feel Love' which profoundly influenced all synthesized club music which followed. RIP.
Song: One of It
Artist: Milow, Belgium
Album: Milow, 2005
Notes: Easy-flowing pop-rock fare from Belgian singer-songwriter, Milow aka Jonathan Vandenbroeck. Six DIY albums in eight years, popular across Europe but wholly undiscovered in the US. More at www.milow.com.
Artist: Angela McCluskey, Scotland
Album: Dream (UNICEF single), 2008
Notes: An irresistible pop-soul belter recorded for UNICEF from an artiste who should be much bigger. Angela is also the lead singer for California-based folk-pop combo, the Wild Colonials.
Artist: Fleet Foxes, Seattle
Album: Helplessness Blues, 2011
Notes: Lovely hymnal harmonies on a lost pearl tucked away on their Grammy-nominated (Best Folk category) CD. The entire long-player was written by bearded frontman Robin Pecknold on his Martin D-18 acoustic guitar.
Song: Great Escape
Artist: Chew Lips, England
Album: Chew Lips, 2012
Notes: Winning brash synth-pop-rock chops from London-based boy/girl duo in the tradition of the Eurythmics. Multi-instrumentalist James Watkins creates the sonic soundscapes behind the exuberant vocals of Blondie-esque frontwoman, Tigs. More at www.chew-lips.com.
Song: Wasted Time
Artist: Eagles, Los Angeles
Album: Hotel California, 1976
Notes: A+ old school West Coast ballad and the last track on side 1 of their 'Hotel California' opus from 1976. Lead vocal by the inimitable Don Henley with the organ part interestingly played by Joe Walsh (who just released a new solo album).
Song: Perfectly Yours
Artist: Robert Francis, Los Angeles
Notes: The nuanced grit in his baritone belies his age - 24 year-old tunesmith from LA who's already found success in Europe nabbing hits in Switzerland and Germany. Signed to the fab Vanguard Records label.
Song: Too Many Women
Artist: Rachael Sage, New York
Album: Public Record Album, 2003
Notes: Too good for primetime, superb, simple piano refrain ringing throughout this lost pearl. Ten erudite, worthwhile albums from Rachael since 1995, a songstress-pianist who's opened for the likes of Marc Cohn and Sarah McLachlan - currently touring in support of her latest release 'Haunted By You'.
Artist: Lou Barlow, Dayton, OH
Album: Emoh, 2005
Notes: Shades of Nick Drake on this poetic, stripped-down number. Barlow is a prolific musician, a pioneer of the lo-fi music scene and a founding member of several important bands including Sebadoh, Dinosaur Jr., and most recently Folk Implosion.
Song: Speak For Me
Artist: John Mayer, Bridgeport, CT
Album: Born and Raised, 2012
Notes: Lovely lilting number from his recent, mostly quiet fifth album. Rarely seen without a hat these days and living a more mellow existence since relocating to a rural life in Montana.
Artist: Midway State, Canada
Album: Paris Or India, 2011
Notes: Top notch anthemic Modern Rock by a quartet from Toronto. In 2008 they cut a version of the Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush duet 'Don't Give Up' with Lady Gaga - who ruined it. This cut is infinitely better.
Song: A Case of You
Artist: Joni Mitchell, Canada
Album: Both Sides Now, 2000
Notes: Blissful ballad originally written for Joni's 1971 album, 'Blue', updated by her accompanied by a full orchestra. If you don't have the parent album from 2000, your life is incomplete. If you don't like this recording you're on the wrong page.
Song: Dragging You Around
Artist: Greg Laswell featuring Sia, San Diego
Album: Landline, 2012
Notes: Strong vocal interplay from guest singer, Sia, another knockout cut from Greg's superb recent album. Check him out live, simply first class. More at www.greglaswell.com.
Song: Dreamin’ On
Artist: Andy Gibb, England
Album: After Dark, 1980
Notes: No rules on L&F, proved here with a simple sonic treat from the youngest of the brothers Gibb. Written and produced by the last remaining sibling, Barry who is still working on his autobiography which should be a fascinating read.
Song: Space Girl
Artist: Imagined Village, England
Album: Empire & Love, 2010
Notes: Quirky but winning nu-folk/World fusion nugget. Imagined Village is the side project of Afro Celt Sound System founder and frontman, Simon Emmerson, a multi-cultural ad-hoc aggregation of World musicians with three fascinating albums to date.
Song: Miss You Nights
Artist: Cliff Richard, England
Album: I'm Nearly Famous, 1975
Notes: Old school balladry, super syrupy, but rather deft lyrics and a haunting melody and the Saddest Song of All Time (until next week). Cliff emerged as the English Elvis in the late '50s - the first musician to ever be knighted by Queen Liz.
Song: Carry On
Artist: Fun, Brooklyn, NY
Album: Some Nights, 2012
Notes: Exuberant sound of indie-pop funsters with a Proclaimers-tinged outing from their breakthrough sophomore album. Brooklyn-based trio fronted by Nate Ruess, having a banner year.
Song: Would You Be There
Artist: Blessid Union of Souls, Morrow, OH
Album: Home, 1995
Notes: Splendid pop/rock/soul lost gem buried on their first album which also contained the band's only hit, 'I Believe'.