Song: Nice To Be Out
Artist: Stereophonics, Wales
Notes: One of several A+ lost melodic rock gems on what may still be their best album to date. Provocative, literate lyrics as ever, controversial themes including notes on Nuremberg, the great Jesse Owens, Alcatraz and De Niro's 'Raging Bull' movie.
Song: What Went Wrong?
Artist: Until June, Hollywood, CA
Album: Young and Foolish, 2012
Notes: Lovely atmospherics, released as a single a couple of months and not getting the love it deserves. Melodic chops from a band which has been around for ten years, had minor success with 'What I've Done'. More at www.untiljune.com.
Song: Hotel Lights
Artist: Amy Cook, Austin, TX
Album: Let The Light In, 2010
Notes: Top-notch, flickering love song about meeting a worthwhile new love by a low-fi folk/pop songstress who's opened for the likes of Shawn Colvin, Chris Isaak and Lucinda Williams. Patty Griffin and Robert Plant guest on her upcoming album, 'Summer Skin'.
Song: Letter From America
Artist: Proclaimers, Scotland
Album: This Is The Story, 1987
Notes: In the deepest possible Scottish accent (sounding like a kilt-wearing haggis drowning in a single malt), a lost postcard by wacky Reid twins, Charlie and Craig. Song was produced by Gerry Rafferty.
Artist: Damien Rice, Ireland
Album: O, 2002
Notes: Lilting lost gem by the Irish folk stylist which somehow didn't even make the top 20 in his own country, let alone the US. Damien is a big mover in both the British and American efforts to promote democracy in Burma (Myanmar).
Song: Short Change Hero
Artist: Heavy, England
Notes: Fab lost soul-pop nugget from a tight combo from the west of England, fronted by singer Kelvin Swaby and guitarist Dan Taylor. Used as the theme to the daft but entertaining action TV series, 'Strike Back' which recently returned for its second season on Cinemax.
Artist: Stevie Nicks, Phoenix, AZ
Album: Rock a Little, 1986
Notes: Outstanding lost pearl, released as a single in 1986 at the height of her solo success, it somehow failed to crack the top 50. Stevie and Lindsey Buckingham due to reunite one more time next year for a Fleetwood Mac tour.
Artist: Emma Louise, Australia
Notes: Understated, curious but winning cut from an Aussie songstress currently making her maiden visit to these shores, including a gig at the revered Hotel Cafe in La La Land. More at www.facebook.com/musicemmalouise.
Song: House of Fun
Artist: Madness, England
Album: Complete Madness, 1981
Notes: Great fun, a wacky retro-ska stuffed bouncer by the veteran British combo. The enduring septet formed at the beginning of the ska-revival boom in 1978, still going strong today: they even performed over the summer at the Queen's Diamond Jubilee jamboree on the roof of Buckingham Palace.
Song: Lover Lover Lover
Artist: Races, Van Nuys, CA
Album: Year of the Witch, 2012
Notes: So refreshing, so crisp, so good - a new Modern Rock classic by a band already causing a buzz on the club circuit. The six-piece group was formed by disillusioned then 23-year old, Wade Ryff in 2009. More at www.racestheband.com.
Song: The Letting Go
Artist: Lovebugs feat. Sarah Bettens, Switzerland
Album: Life Is Today, 2012
Notes: One of Switzerland's most popular homegrown bands of the past decade with nine albums since 1994. If you put a-ha, Coldplay and Keane in a blender you'd come up with the Lovebugs (though not on this track).
Song: Get A Life
Artist: Soul II Soul, England
Notes: Too good for prime-time, blistering horns and a timeless dance groove on this top-drawer R&B corker. Group has always revolved around DJ, producer, songwriter and general funk-meister, Trevor Beresford Romeo - aka Jazzie B.
Song: Lost and Found
Artist: Lianne La Havas, England
Album: Lost and Found EP, 2011
Notes: First heard on L&F nine months ago, Havas is finally making waves over here with her current single. 'Is Your Love Big Enough?' London-based folk soul songstress who began singing in her school choir, discovered on myspace four years ago. Opening for John Legend on US dates in Oct/November.
Song: I’m Doin’ Fine Now
Artist: New York City, New York
Album: I'm Doin' Fine Now, 1973
Notes: Mighty slice of vintage soul from R&B vocal group which originally named themselves Tri-Boro Exchange. Sounding like the Spinners (unsurprising given that it was written/produced by the great Spinners helmsman, Thom Bell).
Song: The Place I Left Behind
Artist: Deep Dark Woods, Canada
Notes: Canadian roots Country combo with an authentic old forest Americana gem with a lovely lilt. The quintet has been around for seven years signed to one of the best genre labels, Sugar Hill Records - more on the band at www.thedeepdarkwoods.com.
Artist: Racing Cars, Wales
Album: Downtown Tonight, 1976
Notes: Vintage, highly melodic pop ballad inspired by the 1969 Sydney Pollack drama movie of the equally disturbing name starring Jane Fonda. The signature song by a Welsh band which was briefly around in the mid'70s.
Song: Love My Way
Artist: Psychedelic Furs, England
Album: Forever Now, 1982
Notes: Showcasing the distinctive vocal grit of lead singer Richard Butler, amazingly this number never cracked the top 40 despite being regarded in hindsight by many as one of their finest recordings. Produced by the legendary Todd Rundgren.
Song: Please Forgive My Heart
Artist: Bobby Womack, Cleveland, OH
Notes: The very definition of the word "soul", the R&B veteran is back with a sensational soul-stirrer cunningly produced by Blur's Damon Albarn. Womack mercifully beat colon cancer earlier this year.
Artist: Amy MacDonald, Scotland
Notes: One of several crackers lying thus far untouched by radio on the third album. The Scottish singer-songwriter was inspired to compose this song after singing Scotland's national anthem at a big soccer event at Hampden Park stadium in Glasgow.
Artist: Todd Rundgren, Upper Derby, PA
Album: Anthology 1974-1985, 2009
Notes: Sweet melodies from one of the most diverse and accomplished musicians around with the original version of his self-penned bonding gem. In addition to fronting his own Utopia band collective in the 1970s, Todd's recorded more than 20 solo albums - and produced scores more for other artists.
Song: Little Things
Artist: James Bright feat Rachel Lloyd, England/Wales
Album: Little Things, 2010
Notes: Chilled-out, deliciously relaxed number featuring the cool vocal vibe of Rachel. Electronica, low-fi whiz Bright has been flying under the radar for too long.
Song: Satellite of Love
Artist: Lou Reed, Brooklyn, NY
Album: Transformer, 1972
Notes: Now considered one of his signature songs but it never charted when released as a single way back when. From Reed's epic transformative album which was produced by David Bowie.
Song: Sovereign Light Cafe
Artist: Keane, England
Album: Strangeland, 2012
Notes: First heard here on L&F and becoming a bit of a hit, one of several melodic sparklers on the band's 'return-to-form' fourth album. In 1997, keyboardist Tim Rice-Oxley was asked by Chris Martin if he'd like to join his new band, Coldplay. Tim declined preferring to go his own way with Keane.
Artist: Fairground Attraction, England
Notes: English folk mixed in with a splash of old school rockabilly with infectious results. Combo was only around for just one album during their 3-year tenure, though lead singer, Eddi Reader, went on to embark on a solo career which continues to this day.
Song: Oh My Stars
Artist: Andrew Belle, Nashville
Album: The Ladder, 2010
Notes: Another plaintive winner from an outstanding album. How many more first-rate songs does this brilliant tunesmith have to record before he gets wider notice?
Song: Hold Me In Your Arms
Artist: Rick Astley, England
Album: Hold Me In Your Arms, 1988
Notes: Simple, catchy melodic pop corker by deeply unfashionable Astley proving once again, there's absolutely no musical discrimination on L&F. Bizarrely, he was 'Best Act Ever' at the 2008 MTV Europe Music Awards - go figure.
Song: On The Sly
Artist: Metric, Canada
Album: Grow Up and Blow Away, 2001
Notes: Sensational rhythm track and splendid lyrics on this ace Modern Rock number, maybe the Canadian group's finest four minutes to date. They've recently issued a sturdy new CD, 'Synthetica'.
Song: Matthew & Son
Artist: Cat Stevens, England
Notes: From 1966, his second single written and recorded by Cat when he was just 18 year of age lyrically inspired by his tailor, Henry Matthews. Although now known as Yusef Islam, his real name is Steven Demetre Georgiou, born to a Greek Cypriot father.
Song: Is It A Crime
Artist: Sade, England
Album: Promise, 1985
Notes: Lovely brassed-out sound underpinning this soulful lost gem from the band's sophomore set. Sade is a group, not just the singer (who's full name is Sade Adu).
Song: Down Too Deep
Artist: Dougie MacLean, Scotland
Album: Butterstone, 1983
Notes: A deeply depressing acoustic pearl by one of music's best kept secrets. More than 20 superb, self-released Celtic-tinged albums by Dougie since 1979 (this one may be the best). More at www.dougiemaclean.com.
Artist: Sting, England
Notes: A marvelously optimistic, vintage showhall performance, a delightful cover version of a song written in 1929 by British composer, Vivian Ellis for his musical Mr. Cinders. Sting's very first solo recording while he was still a policeman.
Artist: Angela McCluskey, Scotland
Album: Lambeth Palace EP, 2012
Notes: A haunting, ethereal, carousel-kissed ballad from Angela's superb new offering. She's also a vocalist with both French combo, Telepopmusik and her West coast combo, the Wild Colonials.
Artist: Zero 7, England
Album: Simple Things, 2001
Notes: Henry Bins and Sam Hardaker, the ambient trip-hop duo, with a chilled-out song of romantic hope, boasting a lovely guest vocal turn by Australian songstress, Sia.
Artist: Chris Rea, England
Album: Water Sign, 1983
Notes: Another percolating pop-rock winner by the English singer-songwriter guitarist whose deep catalog remains entirely unavailable in the US - which is absurd.