Song: What I’ve Become
Artist: Edith Backlund, Sweden
Album: Black Hole (single), 2012
Notes: A sonic treat from the edge of personal obsession from the Swedish songstress. Edith's a superb singer-songwriter, released a couple of obscure albums over the past five years. This cut was finally issued as the bonus track on her 'Black Hole' single.
Song: Lover Lover Lover
Artist: Races, Van Nuys, CA
Album: Year of the Witch, 2012
Notes: Catchy burst of no-nonsense alt-rock and a promising start to their young career. Already causing a buzz on the club circuit, the six-piece California combo was formed by then 23-year old, Wade Ryff in 2009.
Song: Fields of Gray
Artist: Bruce Hornsby, Williamsburg, VA
Album: Harbor Lights, 1993
Notes: One of so many lost divine gems by the incomparable pianist/singer-songwriter. Bruce is touring all summer long, dates at www.brucehornsby.com.
Song: A Promise To Keep
Artist: Brandi Carlile, Ravensdale, WA
Album: Bear Creek, 2012
Notes: Entering her 30s with a confident new album, this one of a half-dozen top cuts featured on the new set which deftly mixes blues, pop, bluegrass, folk and country. She's blessed with such a big powerful voice, but it's nicely restrained here.
Song: Never Be Ready
Artist: Mat Kearney, Nashville
Album: City of Black & White, 2009
Notes: A+ lost nugget co-written by Kearney with another L&F preferred vendor, the marvelous and underrated Trent Dabbs. Matt's got such a strong sense of melody running through his DNA, just keeps releasing one catchy nugget after another.
Song: The Killing Moon
Artist: Echo & The Bunnymen, England
Album: Ocean Rain, 1984
Notes: A moody Modern Rock lost classic which somehow never charted. Fronted by Ian McCulloch, the group was of the forerunners in the post-punk New Wave movement which emerged out of Liverpool England in the late 1970s.
Song: All This Time
Artist: Sara Watkins, Vista, CA
Album: Sara Watkins, 2009
Notes: Simple, uncomplicated, serene a little alt-country pearl by the former Nickel Creek fiddler/singer. Sara is also a dab hand on the guitar and ukulele. She guest-hosted Garrison Keillor's long-standing NPR series, 'A Prairie Home Companion' earlier this year.
Song: Summer Breeze
Artist: Isley Brothers, Cincinnati, OH
Album: 3 + 3, 1973
Notes: A belting R&B treatment of an old 1972 Seals & Crofts hit by the veteran soul siblings. Superb guitar work by brother Ernie and predictably outstanding vocal harmonizing by O'Kelly, Rudolph and Ronald Isley.
Artist: Jj, Sweden
Album: JJ No. 2, 2009
Notes: Delightful, lilting, breezy indie-pop confection by the double blonde Swedish duo of Elin Kastlander and Joakim Benon. The album was voted by the Washington Post as the second best released in 2009.
Song: I’m In Love
Artist: Meiko, Roberta, GA
Album: The Bright Side, 2012
Notes: So playful, another winning ditty from her outstanding recent album which has at least six tasty treats. Meiko is one-quarter Japanese, originally from Georgia but now based in LA, where she's worked with the likes of the Crystal Method and Joshua Radin.
Song: Once Bitten Twice Shy
Artist: Ian Hunter, England
Album: Ian Hunter, 1975
Notes: Old school British rock & roll recalling the glory days of David Bowie, the Faces, T. Rex and Mott The Hoople - for whom he was lead singer. Hunter's been a hard-working musician over the years, now 73 years old, still lives in England.
Song: Too Many Women
Artist: Rachael Sage, New York
Album: Public Record, 2003
Notes: Too good for prime-time, such a simple piano refrain running throughout this lost diamond by the New York-based artiste. Bit of theatrical edge to much of her work - unsurprising since she graduated from Stanford University with a Drama degree. More at www.rachaelpage.com.
Song: So Slow
Artist: Ari Hest, New York
Notes: Under-appreciated 30-something tunesmith with a jangly pop-rock treat from a little-known EP he cut in 2006 which he recorded entirely using Apple's nifty GarageBand app.
Artist: Samples, Denver, CO
Album: Samples, 1989
Notes: Nice reggae-inflected World Music rhythms underscoring this upbeat positive ode to nature. The group, firmly fronted by Sting soundalike, Sean Kelly has recently reactivated the band and a documentary on the grossly overlooked Samples is currently being polished off with the ace title 'The Best Band You've Never Heard'. More at www.thesamples.com.
Artist: Michael Kiwanuka, England
Notes: A reverential treatment of the old Leonard Cohen chestnut by the superb rising British soul musician. Track taken from a MOJO (UK music magazine) freebie CD, now a collector's item.
Song: Third World Man
Artist: Steely Dan, New York
Album: Gaucho, 1980
Notes: Blissful number from their finest long player. Technical and musical perfectionists, Donald Fagen and Walter Becker took nearly two years to record the opus, enlisting the help of some 42 studio musicians.
Song: The Night
Artist: School of Seven Bells, New York
Album: Ghostory, 2012
Notes: Interesting layered shadow vocals on this lovely cut from their third album. Now trimmed to the duo of Alejandra Deheza and keyboard whiz, Ben Curtis following the departure of Alejandra's twin sister, Claudia in 2010.
Song: (Feels Like) Heaven
Artist: Fiction Factory, Scotland
Notes: In the tradition of OMD, the Human League and Duran Duran this was the song - and the group - that got away. Band was from Scotland, only around for 4 years between 1983 and 1987, formed by main songwriter and singer, Kevin Patterson who now works in at the University of Dundee.
Song: Find Your Way Back Home
Artist: Gareth Dunlop, N. Ireland
Album: Devil Mocks Me EP, 2011
Notes: Why hasn't radio at large discovered this terrific blue-eyed soul singer from Belfast? He was named Young Songwriter of the Year at the 2011 Annual Belfast/Nashville Songwriters Festival which unites the two cities. More at www.garethdunlop.com.
Artist: Emeli Sande, Scotland
Album: Our Version of Events, 2012
Notes: What a talent - but is she too good for the general cognoscenti? Yet another sterling delicacy from her ridiculously strong maiden album. Her real first name is Adele.
Song: Heal The Pain
Artist: George Michael, England
Notes: Michael on top Beatles-esque acoustic form with the one that got away from his multi-platinum best-seller. George is now fully recovered from the life-threatening pneumonia which nearly killed him last year in Vienna.
Song: Soul Companion
Artist: Mary Chapin Carpenter & James Taylor, Princeton, NJ
Album: Ashes and Roses, 2012
Notes: Some of Mary's finest work over her 11 albums has been informed by her lifelong battle with depression and good to see some optimistic notes on her new release, including this acoustic gem featuring guest singer, James Taylor.
Song: Going Down
Artist: Burning Leaves, England
Album: The Burning Leaves, 2010
Notes: Killing me softly and slowly with their song, a superb dreamy vocal by lead singer, Indie Mae. Combo is the organic, pastoral duo of Indie and instrumentalist Craig Lee-Williams who create all their musical magic on an 8-track recorder and other vintage equipment at their home cottage in the rural north of England. More at www.theburningleaves.co.uk.
Song: Nothin’ Left To Say
Artist: Richard Marx, Chicago
Album: My Own Best Enemy, 2004
Notes: A surprisingly top-drawer no-nonsense pop-rock corker by the normally syrupy singer-songwriter who racked up more than a dozen hits a couple of decades ago including three number 1 ballads.
Song: Only You
Artist: Flying Pickets, England
Album: Lost Boys, 1984
Notes: Wacky but winning, an extraordinary a cappella version of a tune originally recorded by British duo Yazoo. The Flying Pickets were formed in 1982 by a bunch of British actors determined to bring an all-vocal bent to their music without the use of instruments.
Song: Call Someone
Artist: Thirteen Senses, England
Album: Contact, 2007
Notes: How many more outstanding recordings does that band have to make before more people take notice - yet another fabulous lost treasure from English combo. If you like Keane or Coldplay, snap this up. More at www.thirteensenses.com.
Song: Some Things Never Change
Artist: Robert Francis, Los Angeles
Notes: Self-released indie folk from an LA-based singer-songwriter from his promising recent CD. Lucky lad Robert was given his first guitar at the age of nine by none other than family friend, Ry Cooder - and was musically tutored by John Frusciante of Red Hot Chili Peppers as a teenager.
Song: No One Like You
Artist: Best Coast, Los Angeles
Album: The Only Place, 2012
Notes: Delightful, uber-hip, highly fashionable - and yet still rather good. Best Coast is the garage/surf pop duo of Bobb Bruno and singer-guitarist Bethany Cosentino - she writes all of their songs.
Song: Take 5
Artist: Dave Brubeck Quartet, San Francisco
Album: Time Out, 1959
Notes: A two-minute treat, the Dave Brubeck Quartet's pioneering, evergreen jazz standard, one of the first and certainly the most popular jazz composition to be written in a quintuple 5/4 beat - hence its title. Composed by the quartet's saxophonist, Paul Desmond.
Song: Go First
Artist: Rose Cousins, Canada
Album: We Have Made A Spark, 2012
Notes: Too sad for words, an aching request by a woman in a broken relationship pleading with her partner to be the first to leave. Rose is a sorely under-appreciated, highly literate Canadian songstress from Halifax - she's recorded four splendid albums and a brace of lovely EPs since bowing in 2002.
Artist: Dave Bassett, Chicago
Album: Not available, 2012
Notes: A catchy, fun pop outing by a Chicago-born songwriter better known as the composer and producer for hits by many other acts including Shinedown, Josh Groban, Lisa Loeb and Uncle Cracker.
Song: Games People Play
Artist: Lissie, Rock Island, IL
Notes: Lovely, faithful update of the Joe South classic by critics' favorite, Lissie. The EP also tackles material by the likes of Metallica, Kid Cudi, Nick Cave even Lady Gaga. New album due in September.
Artist: Sting, England
Album: Nada Como El Sol, 1987
Notes: Originally sung in English for his 1987 opus, 'Nothing Like The Sun', Sting also cunningly recorded versions of 'Fragile' in both Spanish and Portuguese - this is the latter treatment. He wrote the song as a tribute to an American civil engineer, Ben Linder, who was killed by the Contras rebel group while working in Nicaragua in 1987.
Song: Tougher Than The Rest
Artist: Everything But The Girl/Bruce Springsteen, England/USA
Album: Acoustic, 1992
Notes: A neat pairing of two versions of Springsteen's seminal nugget, starting off with a lovely acoustic treatment by the much-missed EBTG, stylishly segued into the wonderful original by the Boss.
Song: I’m Not In Love
Artist: 10cc, England
Album: Original Soundtrack, 1975
Notes: Their signature hit, an evergreen melodic melter from way back - recorded nearly 40 years ago. the British quartet recorded a series of overdubs from single notes, eventually building a 256-voice virtual choir from just their own four vocals, all assembled on a continuous loop.