Song: Lost and Found
Artist: Katie Herzig, Nashville
Album: The Waking Sleep, 2011
Notes: Too good for primetime, superb piano hook and a triumphant chorus from one of Nashville's finest indie singer-songwriters. Currently touring alongside Greg Laswell and Ingrid Michaelson, an unmissable bill. Dates and a lovely companion video for this lost nugget playing front and center at www.katieherzig.com.
Artist: Jump, Little Children, Winston-Salem, NC
Album: Magazine, 1998
Notes: So much unrewarded but first-rate fare by this band from its 15 years together (they sadly called it quits in 2005, with former members now scattered around the country). A tight, melodic brand of indie-rock yielded six sterling albums.
Song: Sour Times
Artist: Portishead, England
Album: Dummy, 1994
Notes: Way cool instrumentation and atmospherics underpinning this timeless outing from the pioneering trip-hop. Written by all of the group's three members, Beth Gibbons, Adrian Utley and Geoff Barrow, it cleverly sampled 'Danube Incident' composed by the legendary tv scorist, Lalo Schifrin.
Song: Mind Made Up
Artist: Jillian Edwards, Waco, TX
Album: Headfirst EP, 2011
Notes: A diamond of a ballad (and uncharacteristically optimistic for a slowie), dripping with quality songwriting and execution of the highest order, why is Jillian not a household name? From a first-rate EP. More at www.facebook.com/jillianedwardsmusic.
Artist: Alberta Cross, Sweden/England
Album: Songs of Patience, 2012
Notes: Sterling new rock cut from a duo featuring the forlorn, soaring vocals and guitar of Petter Ericson Stakee from Sweden and multi-instrumentalist Londoner, Terry Wolfers (though mostly based in Brooklyn). Opened for likes of the Mumfords, Neil Young, Dave Matthews and the Shins.
Song: Now That I Know
Artist: Shannon McNally, Long Island, NY
Album: Jukebox Sparrows, 2002
Notes: A Country-laced corker from her fine album from ten years ago. Originally from Long Island but currently living in Mississippi, Shannon began performing while still at college, busked for a while on the street of Paris; signed by Capitol Records in 1997 but never made the mainstream breakthrough she deserves. Released a terrific album earlier this year, 'Chasing The Ghost'.
Song: I Am Not Waiting Anymore
Artist: Field Report, Milwaukee, WI
Album: Field Report, 2012
Notes: Top-drawer lyrics on a haunting gem by a six-piece folk outfit firmly fronted by Chris Porterfield (Field Report is an anagram of his last name). Originally in a band named DeYarmond Edison fronted by Justin Vernon of Bon Iver.
Song: She Sets Me Free
Artist: Tim Halperin, Dallas, TX
Album: Rise and Fall, 2011
Notes: A neat, breezy mid-tempo pop rock swayer. Timothy is a young new tunesmith based in Dallas but working hard in LA and Nashville, already opened for the likes of Gym Class Heroes, the Fray and LeAnn Rimes. More at www.timhalperin.com.
Artist: Owl City, Owatonna, MN
Album: The Midsummer Station, 2012
Notes: Better lyrics than he's given credit for, Adam Young aka Owl City, has a real knack for composing well-crafted melodic pop gems. Recently enjoyed a megahit with Canadian starlet, Carly Rae Jepsen.
Song: Two Shots
Artist: Elle King, Brooklyn, NY
Album: Not available, 2011
Notes: Gritty, uptempo corker, easily Elle's strongest recording to date but one recorded as a demo prior to her signing earlier this year to RCA Records (who should release this cut). One ace EP to date - more at www.elleking.com.
Artist: Chris Rainbow, Scotland
Notes: One-half ace a cappella, one-half hook-filled pop, the melodic craft of the Brian Wilson-influenced Rainbow with a vintage recalling lost nugget. The now 65-year old Scottish singer-songwriter/producer's best work was in the mid-1970s - though he was also a sometime vocalist for the popular Alan Parsons Project in the '80s.
Song: One Lovely Day
Artist: Citizen Cope, Washington, DC
Album: One Lovely Day, 2012
Notes: The lovely languorous title cut to a fabulous new album, his most mellow to date. Real name is Clarence Greenwood, the Washington Post regards Clarence as quote 'the city's most soulful export since Marvin Gaye.'
Song: The Weary Kind
Artist: Ryan Bingham, Hobbs, NM
Album: Junky Star, 2010
Notes: Performed in the film 'Crazy Heart' by its Academy Award-winning lead actor, Jeff Bridges but sung here by its co-composer, Bingham - who won both the Golden Globe and the Oscar for Best Original Song in 2009. Both Bridges and Bingham's versions were produced by the gentle giant of Americana music, T-Bone Burnette.
Song: June Last Year
Artist: Kate Walsh, England
Album: Light & Dark, 2009
Notes: Sweet as a button with a delightful swaying chorus, a Country-laced pearl by the underrated British songstress, a graduate of the Brighton Institute of Modern Music on the south coast. A couple of EPS and five sterling albums since bowing in 2003.
Song: Talk Talk
Artist: Talk Talk, England
Album: The Party's Over, 1982
Notes: L&F permanent residents with their very first Stateside single. Evidencing the brash new wave synth-pop-rock which exploded out of the UK in the early '80s with bands like Depeche Mode and Duran Duran. Talk Talk never quite scaled the same heights enjoyed by their contemporaries but eventually created a much finer catalog.
Song: City Lights
Artist: Modern Skirts, Athens, GA
Notes: Another winner by an alt-rock combo which has become a staple in the always vibrant college rock scene in Athens Georgia. A free download of another good track ('Tennessee') is currently available on their website, www.modernskirts.com.
Song: Build You Up
Artist: Kim Taylor, Cincinnati, OH
Album: Build You Up (single), 2011
Notes: A thought-provoking lost pearl poignantly used in the ABC-TV film, 'Cyberbullying' which aired in 2011. Kim owns the popular Pleasant Perk neighborhood coffee house on Montgomery Road in Cincinnati which serves up real coffee (not chainy dishwater).
Song: Fire (Toast To Life)
Artist: I Was A King, Norway
Album: You Love It Here, 2012
Notes: Sunny, '60s-inflected sunny psychedelic pop reminiscent of Strawberry Alarm Clock, but very current and from Norway. A rather obscure trio led by Frode Str'mstadsm, they've collaborated with singer-songwriter, Surfjan Stevens - and their new album was co-produced by the much-revered indie rocker, Robyn Hitchcock.
Song: Sail Away
Artist: David Gray, England
Album: White Ladder, 1998
Notes: For all of his art and craft, Gray has never scored a top 50 chart hit on the Billboard Hot 100 - which is insane. The epic 'White Ladder' opus was originally issued on his own IHT label in the UK, but wisely sub-licensed by Dave Matthews' ATO label a couple of years later for release in the US.
Song: This Is The Stuff
Artist: Francesca Battistelli, New York
Album: Hundred More Years, 2011
Notes: An atypical lost nugget, a ukulele-driven bubbler by the 20-something native of the Big Apple. Francesca normally performs a gospel-inspired brand of pop-rock: her 2009 single, 'Free To Be Me' was nominated for Best Gospel Performance at the 2009 Grammys.
Song: On Islands
Artist: New Musik, England
Album: From A to B, 1980
Notes: An old wave New Wave synth gem from their long lost debut LP. A London-based studio project assembled by clever producer/writer and keyboard whiz, Tony Mansfield, who went to helm hits for Naked Eyes.
Song: Take Me Home
Artist: Us, Los Angeles
Album: Us, 2012
Notes: A splendid momentum builder with a Coldplay-ish climax, a top new ballad by the new, harmonic, California duo of singer-songwriter, Michael Alvarado and his fiance, Carissa Rae. More at www.michaelalvarado.com.
Artist: Overtone, South Africa
Notes: One of two slow corkers on the 'Invictus' film soundtrack by the all-male vocal sextet based in Johannesburg who were brought on-board to perform songs for the movie after being spotted performing in Cape Town by director, Clint Eastwood's wife, Dina.
Artist: Gran Bel Fisher, Sabina, OH
Album: Full Moon Cigarette, 2006
Notes: Another winner from his only album to date (which is superb). Real name is Jesse Littleton, he's becoming somewhat of a mystery having largely slipped out of view: his website's down, his myspace page vacated for over a year and no new music in six years.
Song: Slip Slidin' Away
Artist: Paul Simon, Newark, NJ
Album: Greatest Hits, Etc., 1977
Notes: Originally recorded for inclusion on his 1975 classic LP, 'Still Crazy After All These Years' but eventually released only as a standalone single. Simon was the recipient of the prestigious Polar Music Prize in Sweden earlier this year.
Song: Sing Me To Sleep
Artist: Fran Healy feat. Neko Case, Scotland/Alexandria, VA
Album: Wreckorder, 2010
Notes: A cute roller, the restrained rather lovely pairing of Healy and Case on Sing Me To Sleep. Healey best known as the lead singer and songwriter for his fine Scottish band, Travis. McCartney also featured on the album.
Song: Been So Long
Artist: Meadows, Los Angeles
Album: The Meadows, 2005
Notes: Smart well-constructed rock by Todd Herfindal and Kevin Houlihan, together known as the Meadows. The lead-off cut from their freshman eponymous CD which they wrote, recorded, produced and mastered on their own and is stuffed with melodic rock gems.
Song: Every Breath You Take
Artist: Scala & Kolacny Brothers, Belgium
Album: Dawn, EP, 2010
Notes: A marvelous choral update of the Police classic, recently used to great effect to promote the new season of the cracking Showtime tv series, 'Homeland' but also featured in the hit British television period drama series, 'Downtown Abbey'.
Song: No Conversation
Artist: View From The Hill, England
Album: In Time, 1987
Notes: Terrific old school soul harmonies by the long-forgotten all-male British R&B quartet on an obscure soul/pop number. Produced by the great American soul producer, Stewart Levine. Album is, of course, long-deleted and unavailable.
Song: Wait In Your Arms
Artist: Grand Nationals, PA/NJ
Album: Tennessee Rain, 2011
Notes: Too good - and too sad for words, an absolute diamond about a man yearning to reunite with the love of his life, holding a torch that burns too bright. If you like or miss Blue Merle you'll love the Grand Nationals.
Artist: Presets, Australia
Album: Pacifica, 2012
Notes: An anthemic sea-shanty cracker but set in a modern neon urban context. The Presets are the electronic duo of keyboardist singer, Julian Hamilton and keyboardist drummer, Kim Moyes who first met at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music in 1995.
Song: Private Life
Artist: Grace Jones, Jamaica
Album: Warm Leatherette, 1980
Notes: The irrepressible Grace with a delicious rock-reggae, syncopated update of the Pretenders original. The Jamaican-born style queen was shock dressing before Lady Gaga was even a glean in the eye of Mr. and Mrs Gaga.
Artist: Oren Lavie, Israel
Notes: A gorgeous waltz-timed ruby tucked away on the 2008 Narnia film soundtrack. The Israeli-born artist's main vocation is as a top playwright and theatre director, so only one album to date, 2007's 'The Opposite Side of the Sea'.
Artist: Moody Blues, England
Album: A Question of Balance, 1970
Notes: Timeless, A+ melodies and lyrics, especially in the middle section featured on the show. Written and sung by Moody frontman, Justin Hayward, and recorded in just one take in the studio.