Song: Let Her Go
Artist: Passenger, England
Album: All The Lights, 2012
Notes: A recent single, a restrained acoustic corker showcasing an engaging vocal style somewhere between One Eskimo and Ed Sheeran (he's opening on some US Autumn dates for Mr. Sheeran). Passenger is the performing name of Brit-born, Aussie-based tunesmith, Mike Rosenberg. Ace album, more at www.passengermusic.com.
Song: Ace of Hearts
Artist: Chris Rea, England
Album: Wired To The Moon, 1984
Notes: Old school no-nonsense pop rock delight, filled with smart hooks and featuring his gritty trademark vocal style. Outrageous that none of Rea's 25-album back catalog is available for sale in the US either online or on CD.
Song: Come Home
Artist: Chappo, Brooklyn, NY
Album: Moonwater, 2012
Notes: Sparkling Modern Rock collage about love but also about the freedom of getting rid of all the junk we amass. Chappo is a Brooklyn-based quartet, formed five years and fronted by lead chappie, Alex Chappo. If you like the Klaxons, Interpol or the Flaming Lips you might get a buzz.
Song: No One’s Gonna Love You
Artist: Band of Horses, Seattle
Album: Cease To Begin, 2007
Notes: Lost gem which only ever scored in Denmark of all places. Getting more popular with each new release, their fourth album, 'Mirage Rock' will drop next month produced by the great Glyn Johns (who's worked with everyone including the Beatles, the Clash and the Stones).
Artist: Mindy Smith, Nashville
Album: Mindy Smith, 2012
Notes: A+ Americana from the best in the business, blessed with a ghostly pitch-perfect tender vocal style. A neat candle-lit video clip accompanies this top cut available at www.mindysmithmusic.com.
Song: Johnny Johnny
Artist: Prefab Sprout, England
Album: Two Wheels Good, 1985
Notes: Another sterling overlooked nugget by one of the most overlooked, literate melodic pop-rock outfits from the 1980s, fronted by the brilliant Paddy McAloon. Song was originally named, 'Goodbye Lucille #1' - and parent album originally titled 'Steve McQueen'.
Song: Light As A Feather
Artist: Jesse Harris, New York
Album: Watching The Sky, 2009
Notes: Lovely acoustic jangler by a singer-songwriter still deeply unheralded in the mainstream as a solo artist in his own right (he wrote Norah Jones' 'Don't Know Why'). The New York native has also collaborated with the likes of Lizz Wright, Bright Eyes, soul great Solomon Burke and the marvelous Madeleine Peyroux.
Song: My Culture
Artist: I Giant Leap featuring Robbie Williams & Maxi Jazz, England
Album: 1 Giant Leap, 2002
Notes: Fabulous meld of smart hip-hop, electronica and pop/soul lyrically tracing ancestral culture and the roots of our fathers and forefathers. Duo of Duncan Bridgeman and Jamie Catto who recorded this superb one-off World Music album comprising songs recorded all over the world with different musicians including Michael Stipe, Baaba Maal from Senegal, Michael Franti and Asha Bhosle.
Song: Even The Losers
Artist: Pat Green, San Antonio, TX
Notes: A rousing, straight-down-the-middle Country-rock update of the Tom Petty original (on Tom's epic 'Damn The Torpedoes' opus from 1979) by the Texan Country performer whom 'People' magazine once dubbed, "the Bruce Springsteen of the Southwest".
Artist: Tristan Prettyman, San Diego
Album: Hello, 2008
Notes: A catchy acoustic bubbler which should have been a hit. Top surfer as a teenager, inspired to pursue a music career after hearing an album by Ani DiFranco when she was 15. Tristan's third album will hit retail soon, 'Cedar + Gold'.
Artist: Daniel Merriweather, Australia
Album: Love and War, 2009
Notes: Underrated blue-eyed soul singer from Melbourne down under with a mature full vocal sound. Strong sophomore album which was produced by Mark Ronson (who famously created the soulful sound around Amy Winehouse).
Artist: Saturday Sun, England
Album: Seagull EP, 2012
Notes: Too good, a completely unknown, obscure A+ acoustic nu-folk ballad showcasing the vocal grit and instrumental craft of a new British quartet. More at facebook.com/saturdaysunmusic.
Song: I’m Your Puppet
Artist: James & Bobby Purify, Pensacola, FL
Album: Purify Bros., 1976
Notes: A peerless 1976 update of their own original 1966 hit, solid soul, an absolute stormer of a recording. R&B duo were non-existent siblings of James Purify and Ben Moore, though James' original singing partner in the '60s was his cousin, Robert Lee Dickey (hence the 'Bobby' factor).
Artist: Massive Attack feat. Tracey Thorn, England
Album: Protection, 1994
Notes: Haunting and cool, themed on healing and staying safe and protected, a top collaboration between the trip-hop electronica pioneers and L&F preferred artiste, Tracey Thorn. Features a percussive sample of James Brown's 'The Payback'.
Song: Don’t Let Go
Artist: Bryan Adams with Sarah McLachlan, Canada
Notes: High romance from two Canadian superstars, though McLachlan's contribution elevates this number, both in terms of her vocal grace and subtle piano playing. An overlooked duet from the animated film soundtrack (the movie featured the voice of Jason Bourne).
Artist: Black Slate, England/Caribbean
Album: Amigo, 1980
Notes: Blissed out reggae, an A+ rock steady lost nugget from 1980 by an aggregation of British and Caribbean artists, popular on the club scene around northern Europe in the mid-'70s.
Song: Learn Me Right
Artist: Birdy & Mumford & Sons, England
Album: Brave (Soundtrack), 2012
Notes: Nice Celtic flavors on a neat, already lost collaboration by the Mumford boys with the extraordinary 16-year old artiste, Birdy. An overlooked pearl from the Pixar-produced summer movie hit.
Song: Spanish Stroll
Artist: Mink Deville, Stamford, CT
Album: Mink Deville, 1977
Notes: Fronted by blue collar, post-punker, Willy DeVille a Latin-laced punkish rocker from a fine eponymous debut album - which was subsequently hailed by American Hit Network: "Under-promoted, under-appreciated and ultimately under-sold, a sleeper masterpiece that sounds as good today as it did in 1977." Willy passed away too young at 58 in 2009.
Song: Crazy Dreams
Artist: Paul Brady, Ireland
Album: No available, 1980
Notes: Underrated Irish singer-songwriter with one of his earliest singles, a superb pop-rock roller, sadly not available in its original form (an updated recording can be downloaded). Exclusive to L&F, courtesy of Mr Brady - more at www.paulbrady.com - and check out his ace, new anthology, 'Dancer In The Fire'.
Artist: Rachael Yamagata, Arlington, VA
Notes: Immensely thoughtful, tender ballad themed on getting over a lost love deftly using animal analogies and metaphors. One of the very best, Rachel is much in demand, also recorded with the likes of Bright Eyes, Ray LaMontagne and Ryan Adams.
Song: On My Way
Artist: Passion Pit, Cambridge, MA
Album: Gossamer, 2012
Notes: Fab anthemic chorus offset by wispy verses, wacky electro-folkish-pop from their noble new album. From a very personal album composed by frontman Michael Angelakos about his demons and recovery from a nervous breakdown following bouts with alcoholism and depression.
Song: Straight Lines
Artist: New Musik, England
Album: From A - B, 1980
Notes: Despite recording a steady stream of immensely catch synth-pop confections in the early '80s, New Musik never had a hit on these shores. Mainman, Tony Mansfield went on to enjoy successful career as a top producer - you can spot similar polished, textured production on big hits by another synthpop combo, Naked Eyes.
Song: Pass It Around
Artist: Donavon Frankenreiter, San Clemente, CA
Album: Pass It Around, 2008
Notes: Sand in the mellow grooves, breezy, easy-flowing surf-pop from one of the genres leading lights. Album features Grant Lee Phllips and Ben Harper among its many guests.
Song: What Am I
Artist: von Grey, Atlanta
Album: von Grey EP, 2012
Notes: Delightful four-part harmonies courtesy of Kathryn, Annika, Fiona and Petra von Grey ' a quartet of sisters who are building a growing following having performed more than 200 shows over the past two years, including some opening slots for Sarah McLachlan.
Song: Coming Down
Artist: Dum Dum Girls, New York/Los Angeles
Album: Only In Dreams, 2011
Notes: Dark, deeply-minted but anthemic dream-pop sound of an all-female quartet fronted by Kristen Gundred (aka Dee Dee). Influenced by (and sounding like) Mazzy Star.
Song: I’m Coming Home
Artist: Johnny Mathis, Gilmer, TX
Album: I'm Coming Home, 1973
Notes: Yes, Mr. Mathis on L&F! This week's guilty pleasure and the best use of the triangle instrument in the history of popular music. In addition to Johnny's unique vibrato, A+ strings and horns, a genius arrangement and overall production and songwriting by the legendary Thom Bell. Astonishingly, Mathis has been signed to the same label, Columbia Records, for 56 years.
Song: True Faith
Artist: New Order, England
Album: Singles, 2005
Notes: The group's finest moment, though it failed to crack the Top 30 on the Billboard Hot 100. Produced by Stephen Hague who's produced dozens of British acts including the Pet Shop Boys and Peter Gabriel.
Song: Eat Dirt
Artist: Susan Justice, Aruba
Album: Eat Dirt, 2012
Notes: An all-too-real autobiographical account of a questioning teenager trying to break free from a cultish upbringing, domineering parents and trying to break free from religious dogma. Very promising maiden album by the literate songstress.
Artist: Katie Melua, Georgia (former Soviet Union)
Album: Call off the Search, 2003
Notes: So sweet, a tender whimsical love ditty from Katie's jazz/bluesy pop meld debut album. She was a breakout star in the UK, becoming one of the youngest millionaires in the country after the banner success of her debut album and this single.
Song: And So It Goes (live)
Artist: Billy Joel, Bronx, NY
Album: 12 Gardens Live, 2006
Notes: The Saddest Song of All Time - period.
Song: Going Back To My Roots
Artist: Odyssey, New York
Notes: Terrific funky guitar refrain underpinning this dance-soul corker from 1981. A cover version of a song originally written and recorded by the legendary Lamont Dozier by the R&B troupe originally based in New York though they ended up having far more success around Europe.
Song: Lessons Learned
Artist: Cary Brothers, Los Angeles
Album: Covers Volume One, 2012
Notes: One of five strong cuts which complete his new EP, a cool update of a composition by underrated Denver indie-folk duo, Matt & Tim. Rachel Yamagata glorious as ever in the background.
Song: If There Was No You
Artist: Brandi Carlile, Ravensdale, WA
Album: Give Up The Ghost, 2009
Notes: An affectionate acoustic ruby from an album produced three years ago by the peerless Rick Rubin, the most diverse producer in rock music history (he founded hip-hop label, Def Jam, and has helmed groundbreaking albums by the likes of Tom Petty, Neil Diamond, the Avett Brothers, Adele and Johnny Cash among dozens of others).