Song: Oh Diane
Artist: Fleetwood Mac, Los Angeles/UK
Album: Mirage, 1982
Notes: A lost Mac-nugget showcasing Lindsey Buckingham at his very best. Simple but highly effective pop/rocker harking back to simplicity of the Buddy Holly era of the late '50s. The band will reunite for a tour next year, sadly still sans Christine McVie.
Artist: Strumbellas, Canada
Notes: Superb wheat-field vocal honey from the group's fab new folk album which is generally a more uptempo, energetic affair. The deeply harmonic six-piece is fronted by singer-guitarist, Simon Ward. More at www.thestrumbellas.com.
Artist: Josh Osho, England
Album: L.I.F.E., 2012
Notes: Old school new school R&B (and shades of his British contemporary, James Morrison). One to watch, he's already toured with Emile Sande and is currently writing songs with Sir Tom Jones.
Song: How Do You Ruin Me?
Artist: Black Prairie, Portland, OR
Notes: Lovely chanson Franco-phile accordion and strings gracing this haunting number. Three of their five members are also alumni of the Decemberists.
Song: Small Blue Thing
Artist: Suzanne Vega, Santa Monica, CA
Album: Suzanne Vega, 1985
Notes: Astonishingly, only two hits on the Billboard Hot 100 by Vega, 'Tom's Diner' and the classic 'Luka' over a long and distinguished career which leaves bucket loads of superb lost gems lurking in her catalog, including this guitar-laced gem.
Song: West Coast
Artist: Coconut Records, Los Angeles
Album: Nighttiming, 2007
Notes: Actor/pop maverick Jason Schwartzman's bizarrely- named one-man band project confusingly released on his own Young Baby Records label. A much-in-demand actor, had a memorable role opposite Bill Murray in the marvelous 'Rushmore' flick in 1998; also the star of HBO comedy series 'Bored To Death' - for which he also wrote and recorded the theme music.
Artist: Londonbeat, US/UK
Album: Speak, 1988
Notes: Glorious vocal interplay on a lost soul/pop diamond about commuting in NYC. Londonbeat were a half-British half-American R&B/pop combo helmed by the American soul singer, Jimmy Helms- and scored big with their 1991 hit. 'I've Been Thinking About You'.
Song: Baby Save Me
Artist: Mozella, Detroit
Notes: Such a charismatic vocal style gracing carefully crafted vintage pop and soul, a Motown-inflected confection part of a strong collaboration with legendary Motown stalwart, Brian Holland who was one third of the iconic Holland/Dozier/Holland hitmaking team.
Artist: Clientele, England
Album: Strange Geometry, 2005
Notes: A sweet groove, a '60s-inspired, sun kissed, blissed out indie-pop gem by a band which has a stronger following in America than they do in their native UK. More at www.theclientele.co.uk.
Artist: Ryan Adams, Jacksonville, NC
Album: Easy Tiger, 2007
Notes: Issued as a single, but no dice on the charts, recently used in the 'True Blood' series on HBO. A prolific tunesmith who releases albums and EPs with his bands Whiskeytown and the Cardinals, in addition to 9 solo long-players.
Song: Sweet Music Man
Artist: Millie Jackson, Thomson, GA
Album: Get It Out 'cha System, 1978
Notes: Drop dead brilliant , just dripping with soul - a song about moving on from a busted relationship with a fellow musician. The still under-appreciated Jackson was like an X-rated version of Gladys Knight. Check out a fine new documentary about her, 'Unsung - The Story of Mildred Millie Jackson' which came out earlier this year.
Song: Knock Knock
Artist: Lenka, Australia
Album: Lenka, 2008
Notes: Breezy folk-pop from Down Under by the lovely Lenka, a cute lost ditty from her maiden offering. She began her entertainment career as an actress appearing in several Australian films and television series, and only got recording career underway four years ago.
Song: Getting Late
Artist: Rob Thomas, Germany
Album: Cradlesong, 2009
Notes: A neat acoustic strummer, one of several cool bonus cuts on his 2009 sophomore solo album. Recently regrouped his three Matchbox 20 chums: their fourth studio album, 'North' will be released in September.
Artist: Goldfrapp, England
Album: Seventh Tree, 2007
Notes: Rewarding slice of electro/acoustic pop from the clever duo of Will Gregory and Alison Goldfrapp. 'A&E' is a term used in Britain for Accident & Emergency at hospitals (the ER). Lyrics by Alison inked after she had a surreal experience in the ER herself.
Song: Summer Son
Artist: Texas, Scotland
Album: The Hush, 1999
Notes: Why wasn't this a hit, a top slice of sterling Modern Rock from their fifth CD. Glasgow combo fronted with grit and charm by lead singer, Sharleen Spiteri.
Song: I Wonder
Artist: Marco Bosco, Italy
Album: Senseless, 2011
Notes: Sweet summer pop/soul from an artist more familiar with hip-hop. Born in Italy where he was in a boy band on tv at just 9, then studied law in London before getting the music bug and joining a band called Kevin. Then relocated to Miami in 2007, then Atlanta before inevitably landing in LA where he signed to Capitol Records.
Song: Gentle On My Mind
Artist: Dean Martin, Steubenville, OH
Album: Gentle On My Mind, 1969
Notes: The best version of the timeless standard, served up with cocktail ease by the King of Cool. Scored dozens of popular hits in the '50s and '60s but astonishingly this number never made the Billboard Hot 100. Dean once said: "If you drink, don't drive. Don't even putt.'
Artist: Kyler England, Los Angeles
Album: The Spare Key Sessions, 2012
Notes: Too good, yet another A+ ballad from a superb EP which recasts songs from last year's equally strong 'Electric Hum' long-player. Kyler is also one quarter of the excellent folk-pop-rock combo, the Rescues.
Song: No Times Has Passed
Artist: Donovan Woods, Canada
Album: The Widowmaker, 2012
Notes: Restrained, acoustic winner by a relative newcomer now based in Toronto. Nabbed a couple of film placements for his tasteful tunes, including the Matthew Perry-starring, 'Numb'. More at www.myspace.com/donovanwoods.
Song: Make You Crazy
Artist: Brett Dennen featuring Femi Kuti, San Francisco/Nigeria
Album: Hope For The Hopeless, 2008
Notes: Catchy slice of social commentary written by Dennen about freedom, and a smart collaboration by him with African World Music star, Femi Kuti (son of World Music legend, Fela Kuti). Brett is longtime supporter of the Bay Area Mosaic Project (www.mosaicproject.org). More on Femi at www.femikuti.tv.
Song: Over and Over
Artist: Angela McCluskey, Scotland
Album: Lambeth Palace, 2012
Notes: Lovely, old-fashioned fairground/French music hall vibe underscoring A chanson vocal by the ace singer-songwriter. Long based in California she also frequently sings lead mic with French electronic-popsters, Telepopmusik and the LA-based folk rock combo, the Wild Colonials which she formed and with whom she's recorded four albums. A+ new album.
Artist: Elton John vs. Pnau, England/Australia
Notes: Wacky but winning dance-pop from an intriguing new album which features 8 songs on which Australian dance duo Peter Mayes and Nick Littlemore have taken original vocal lines from Elton John records recorded between 1970 - 1976 and bathed them in new electro-pop atmospherics.
Song: Blue Skies
Artist: Noah & The Whale, England
Notes: Nice horns gracing the end of this engaging but sad breakup gem by the British chamber-folkies. Featured in last year's Clooney movie, 'The Descendants'. Entire album was a breakup record addressing the personal split between the group's baritone frontman, Charlie Fink, and former member, Laura Marling.
Song: Seeing Stars
Artist: Meg Hutchinson, Boston
Album: Come Up Fall, 2012
Notes: Superior folk outing showcasing one of the most engaging voices around and the best intonation this side of Shawn Colvin (who influenced Meg). She'll be touring on-and-off through the rest of the year - well worth seeing up close - dates at www.meghutchinson.com.
Artist: Frankie Valli, Newark, NJ
Notes: This week's guilty pleasure and one of his biggest hits. Top vintage pop swayer co-written and produced by the legendary Bob Crewe (who was behind so many top 10 smashes by the Four Seasons).
Song: Cracking Up
Artist: Nick Lowe, England
Album: Labour of Lust, 1979
Notes: A cool, dark slice of New Wave pub rock from 1979 written, produced and performed by Lowe - who's only enjoyed one big hit stateside, 'Cruel To Be Kind'. Album features guest musicians Dave Edmunds and Huey Lewis.
Song: Beneath Your Beautiful
Artist: Labrinth featuring Emeli Sande, England/Scotland
Album: Electronic Earth, 2012
Notes: A tad melodramatic, but a sensational duet by L&F preferred vendor, Sande with songwriter/producer, Timothy McKenzie from Hackney in the east end of London (aka Labrinth) - who can usually be found in the rap arena (the chap behind the rise of Brit hip-hopper, Tinie Tempah).
Song: Leaving Me Now
Artist: Level 42, England
Album: World Machine, 1985
Notes: Best known in the US for their 1986 hits, 'Something about You' and 'Lessons In Love', this was one of many pop-funk nuggets which slipped through the cracks by British pop-jazz funskters. Band fronted by top-bassist, Mark King - who once had his bass-playing thumb insured by his (daft) record label for 3 million.
Artist: Nerina Pallot, Channel Islands
Album: New Year of the Wolf, 2011
Notes: Thought-provoking pearl on her latest offering (from last year) which has finally been released in the US. British songstress who was inspired to begin writing songs at the age of 13 after seeing Kate Bush perform.
Artist: Janis Ian, New York
Album: Stars, 1974
Notes: Too sad for words and a lovely old school strings arrangement to boot, a heartbreaking song about a woman waiting too long for the one she loves to come back home. The now 61 year-old folk legend will be touring in October, dates at www.janisian.com.
Song: Waking Up In Paradise
Artist: Cisco Adler featuring the North Mississippi All Stars, Los Angeles/Hernando, MS
Album: Aloha EP, 2012
Notes: Breezy hip-hop/reggae-splashed pop/soul vacation by alternative funkster Cisco (the son of legendary producer and music impresario, Lou Adler) in tune with the terrific Southern blues rock combo from, guess where.
Song: Keep On Walking
Artist: Jem, Wales
Album: Down To Earth, 2008
Notes: Absurdly overlooked Welsh singer-songwriter, Jemma Griffiths, who deserves top billing alongside the best. Jem's currently taking a bit of a hiatus from music to direct her first movie.
Song: Lego House
Artist: Ed Sheeran, England
Album: Plus, 2011
Notes: Clever rapid-fire vocal delivery matched with a simple piano and acoustic piano backing, and another winner from the debut album originally premiered in the US on Lost and Found one year ago.
Song: You Are The One
Artist: Matt Hires, Tampa, FL
Album: Take Us To The Start, 2009
Notes: Romantic, uncomplicated folk-pop acoustic swayer from an under-appreciated Florida-based tunesmith who's opened for the likes of O.A.R. and Dave Matthews.
Song: Call Someone
Artist: Thirteen Senses, England
Album: Contact, 2007
Notes: Yet another winner from the outstanding British quartet. If you like Keane/Coldplay, snap up their first two albums.