Song: On A Day Just Like Today
Artist: Gabe Dixon, Augusta, GA
Album: My Favorite, EP, 2011
Notes: Lovely banjo plucking way back in the mix on yet another rewarding melodic lost nugget from the new piano man. It's been a couple of years since he went solo, but he also now occasionally performs as a member of Supertramp.
Song: For You
Artist: Judie Tzuke, England
Album: Welcome To The Cruise, 1979
Notes: Exquisite a cappella vocals turning into chamber orchestrated bliss, an unknown pearl by the veteran songstress. She signed to Elton John's Rocket Records label in 1977, who saw fit to release the song as her debut single. Her daughter, Bailey, who has toured with her mother for years, had a Top 10 UK hit in 2007 as the featured artist on the Freemason's 'Uninvited.'
Artist: Aaron Hendra Project, Australia
Album: Alive - Single, 2012
Notes: Hailing from Australia but long-based in Los Angeles, where he was working construction after a couple of major label deals fell through. He eventually managed to build his own recording studio in Beverly Hills and launched his own Give Records label. His freshman album 'Octobersong' should be released any day now, and his song 'Bad Machine' is featured in the new movie 'Officer Down.'
Artist: Rachael Yamagata, Arlington, VA
Album: Heavyweight, 2012
Notes: The title cut from her recently-issued EP, an authentic emotional, effortless affar. Such an intelligent, clever script to all of her work, all honeyed up by one of the best voices around.
Artist: Lightning Seeds, England
Album: Jollification, 1994
Notes: A jolly nugget buried on a 20-year-old album by the longstanding modern pop-rock combo led by singer, songwriter and producer Ian Broudie who emerged from the vibrant Liverpool music scene in the early '80s with his first band, Care. Broudie's 'Three Lions', the anthem for the England soccer team is one of only two records to have topped the UK charts twice, but with different lyrics. He recently sang 'Do You Want To Know A Secret' for the 50-year remaking of The Beatles' 'Please Please Me' album.
Song: I Surrender
Artist: Clare Maguire, England
Album: Light After Dark, 2011
Notes: Lovely old-school feel, a pop/soul diamond from, co-written and produced by F.T. Smith, who has waved his magic wand over tracks for Adele, Leona Lewis, Florence + the Machine and others. She has recently released a demo of 'Happy Anniversary' on her Soundcloud account, followed by a Tweet announcing a new EP and a tour coming in 2013.
Artist: Adam Agin, Nashville, TN
Notes: One of several choice selections found on the singer's recent long-player. All rather melancholic, but top-drawer. Sometimes hailed as Nashville's best-kept secret, he's released one EP and two lovely albums to date. It took him two years to record the new mini-LP, composing and finessing tunes at his dusty old house in Music City. He'll be on the road soon with Neulore.
Artist: Alice Peacock featuring John Mayer, White Bear Lake, MN/Bridgeport, CT
Album: Alice Peacock, 2002
Notes: Originally from White Bear Lake in Minnesota but now based in Chicago, where she sang 'The Star-Spangled Banner' during a Chicago White Sox playoff game a few years back, the largely unheralded American folk/rock singer-songwriter is hugely respected among the musical fraternity. She's served as a trustee of the Grammy organisation, NARAS. The song, which features a very young John Mayer on backing vocals, was briefly used in TV commercials some years ago by J. Jill and Hersheys.
Artist: Echocell, Orange County, CA
Album: Babylon (EP), 2012
Notes: An ace rather hypnotic chorus by the fresh synth-pop duo of singer Belinda Kazanci and electronic whiz/producer Adam Beltran, who came out of Orange County in 2000. They describe their music as 'a catalyst fusing the organic with electronic environment, combining darkness, light and everything in between.' Worth checking their website at www.echocell.com, where you can download 'Shake Your World' for free.
Artist: Lady Danville, Westwood, CA
Album: Operating - Single, 2012
Notes: The delightful title track from a year-old EP from an indie-pop trio named after the town of Danville in California. Influences range from Simon and Garfunkel to Death Cab For Cutie to Rufus Wainwright. They've been performing together for about five years, opening for the likes of Adele, Sara Bareilles, Ben Folds and Guster. Their album is brimming with well-crafted harmonies, smart lyrics and a refreshing dose of energy, wit and charm.
Song: I'm Alive
Artist: Jackson Browne, Germany
Album: I'm Alive, 1993
Notes: The son of an American serviceman (hence his Heidelberg, Germany birthplace) and a Norwegian mother who recorded this infectious lost rumbler for his much-overlooked 1993 CD. The veteran singer-songwriter will be embarking on an acoustic tour with Sara Watkins in July following a couple of stadium dates with Jimmy Buffett in May. It's always worth spending an evening in his company.
Song: The Willow
Artist: Joshua Radin, Cleveland, OH
Album: Underwater, 2012
Notes: A sweet little gem from one of the finest singer-songwriters out there and one of several overlooked treats submerged on his album released last year. Originally from Cleveland, but now relocated to Los Angeles, he has clocked up nearly 100 placements for his melodic movers in various TV series and films. A new album is coming this spring.
Song: What I Wouldn't Do
Artist: Serena Ryder, Canada
Album: Harmony, 2012
Notes: The Toronto-based singer has a five-octave range and has been recording and performing since she was a teenager. She is now very part of the furniture up north and winner of a brace of Juno Awards, including New Artist of the Year back in 2008. She's up for two more this year. This fresh cut is on her latest studio album, produced by Jerrod Bettis and Jon Levine.
Song: Take My Time
Artist: Junior Senior, Denmark
Album: Hey Hey My My Yo Yo, 2005
Notes: Dead catchy indie-pop curiosity from a duo who had a bit of a dance hit with 'Move Your Feet' a decade ago. The Danish duo of Jesper Mortensen and Jeppe Laursen were together for about 10 years, before calling it a day in 2008. Huge in Japan, Australia and of course on their home turf, they cut two remarkably upbeat and hook-filled albums, the second of which contained this little fancy.
Song: Battle Of The Heart
Artist: The Brevet, Irvine, CA
Album: Battle Of The Heart, 2012
Notes: Title cut from the forthcoming self-produced album by a plucky four-piece formed last year in Irvine, California. They describe themselves as producing 'cinematic sounds from Orange County - combining Americana rock, sweeping orchestral tracks, gang vocals, unforgettable choruses, and connective emotional lyrics.' Check their website www.brevet.com for snippets of other tracks.
Artist: Nina Simone, Tryon, NC
Album: Baltimore, 1978
Notes: A remarkable reggae-tinged, soulful interpretation of Randy Newman's 'Baltimore' from an extraordinary album of the same name: one of those rare long-players where every song is worth its weight in rare earth. It's been a decade since she passed away after battling breast cancer, but her remarkable talent lives on.
Song: The Last Time
Artist: Taylor Swift with Gary Lightbody, Reading, PA/Northern Ireland
Album: Red, 2012
Notes: A neat duet parked on the singer's most recent long-player, the best-selling album released in 2012 and already heading towards 4 million domestic copies sold. Featuring Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody on vocals, and produced by Jacknife Lee, who co-wrote the track with Swift and Lightbody, it actually sounds more like a Snow Patrol song featuring Taylor Swift than the other way around. She begins a six-month US tour this week in Omaha, Nebraska. Supporting her is L&F favorite, and rumored-to-be new beau Ed Sheeran.
Song: Thieves Like Us
Artist: New Order, England
Album: Singles, 2005
Notes: 25 years ago 'True Faith' got close to becoming a mainstream hit, but not a single Top 20 entry by this lauded band on these shores. This delicious guitar-bending number, a fine modern rock ode to the power of love, slipped through the cracks in 1984. Named after a Robert Altman movie from a decade earlier - an instrumental version was featured on the seminal 'Pretty In Pink' soundtrack. The band will be playing at Coachella next month.
Song: St. Croix
Artist: Family Of The Year, Los Angeles, CA
Album: Loma Vista, 2012
Notes: A band truly maturing into a top-flight combo with a track bursting with smart hook-filled West Coast indie pop/rock. The indie folksters were formed just three years ago by Welsh-born brothers, frontman Joseph and drummer Sebastian Keefe, who grew up on Martha's Vineyard. Vocalist Christina Schroeter and James Buckey make up the foursome. They begin a two-month US tour this week with a show at the SxSW festival in Austin, Texas. For full dates, check familyoftheyear.net/tour.
Song: Police And Thieves
Artist: Junior Murvin, Jamaica
Album: Police And Thieves, 1977
Notes: Ghetto-themed social commentary from the singer's first album which remains a classic of the genre. The title track, produced by Lee 'Scratch' Perry, was memorably covered by the Clash on their debut album just a few months after this original was released.
Artist: Glen Campbell, Delight, AR
Album: Ghost On The Canvas, 2011
Notes: Sadly, on what will be his last-ever recording given his tragic diagnosis with Alzheimer's Disease, a sorely overlooked track from his outstanding swansong album. Among the musicians contributing interweaving guitar work towards the climax, Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan, Brian Setzer, Rick Nielsen and Marty Rifkin. Check out the bonus tracks on iTunes, including 'Wish You Were Here,' a reworking of Jimmy Webb's 'Postcard From Paris'.
Song: Oh My Honey
Artist: Sara Jackson-Holman, Bend, OR
Album: Cardiology, 2012
Notes: A classically-trained pianist, singer-songwriter based in Portland, Oregon offering a sweet, simple pause for thought from her recently-released sophomore album on the Expunged Records label which is run by that fab group Blind Pilot. Overall, this new album, produced by Keith Schreiner, sees Holman-Jackson move into a more electronic direction.
Artist: A Fine Frenzy, Seattle, WA
Album: Pines, 2012
Notes: Effortlessly engaging, enchanting new music by Alison Sudol better known under her performing name, A Fine Frenzy. Just one of several pearls on her new album which the Goodwill Ambassador for the International Union for Conservation of Nature recorded live in the studio.
Song: Feels Like Heaven
Artist: Fiction Factory, England
Album: Essential - 80's Love, 2010
Notes: Catchy new-wave pop outing from a Scottish combo only around for four years between 1983 and 1987. Formed by main songwriter and singer Kevin Patterson, who subsequently dropped out of the music scene and moved into IT - he's been working at the University of Dundee for many years- he bravely reformed the band for a one-off gig at the Rewind Festival in 2011.
Song: Way Out
Artist: Accents, Simsbury, CT
Album: Growth And Squalor, 2012
Notes: Standout track from the new album by a duo comprising TJ Foster and Benjamin Hemingway. Foster describes the record as a collection of 'anthemic, ambient-folk stories.' Foster, who calls Albany, New York home, and Hemingway also front the band The Cast Before The Break.
Song: Let Me In Your Life
Artist: Bill Withers, Slab Fork, WV
Album: Still Bill, 1972
Notes: A quiet masterclass from the best of the best, the writer and original performer of iconic recordings like 'Ain't No Sunshine' and 'Lean On Me' and who has influenced successive generations of folk/soul stylists all the way up to Michael Kiwanuka, who's currently breaking through. Mainly down to his disgust and mistrust of the record label system as well as a feeling he'd said what he had to say, he left the building in 1985 and has enjoyed family life ever since. Late last year, his nine albums for Sussex and Columbia were released as a box set under the title 'The Complete Sussex And Columbia Albums.'
Song: Soy De Piel
Artist: Victoria Club, Mexico
Album: Soundtrack Del Megido, 2012
Notes: Cool Mexican dream pop by a band who hail from Baja, and kindly recommended by a 'Lost and Found' listener. A number from their latest album and available as a free download at their bandcamp web page - victoriaclub.bandcamp.com.
Song: Breathe In
Artist: Lucie Silvas, England
Album: Breathe In, 2005
Notes: Hook-filled lost treasure by the British singer-songwriter/pianist (though half Scottish, half Kiwi.) She wrote her first song at the age of 10, and was a backing singer for Judie Tzuke (who co-wrote this track and whose own 'For You' opened this show), her compositional chops are much in demand by other artists.
Song: Never Too Much
Artist: Luther Vandross, New York, NY
Album: Never Too Much, 1981
Notes: The soul great's first single, a glorious sapphire from 1981, still stands the test of time. Few but his most ardent fans are aware that he was also a top songwriter - in addition to his own catalog, he inked songs for Roberta Flack and Patti Labelle among others - even David Bowie. He was also a hugely in-demand singer again for Bowie, but also Todd Rundgren and Carly Simon. He passed away far too soon, at age 54 in 2005 after a long battle with diabetes. Last year saw the welcome release of previously unreleased tracks in a collection called 'Hidden Gems.'
Song: When I'm Home
Artist: Michael McDonald, St. Louis, MO
Notes: The unimpeachable blue-eyed soulster with a beautifully morose lost pearl. Before he was heard as a backing singer for Steely Dan and then as the vocal leader for the Doobie Brothers (Mark II), he took his voice and songs around the record companies to no avail. This track can't be bought for love nor money.
Song: Groovy Train
Artist: Farm, England
Album: Spartacus, 1991
Notes: A funky 45 from 1990 with nifty guitar work courtesy of lead guitarist Keith Mullin, from the band's debut album - and also included on a seminal Madchester compilation called 'Happy Daze,' which showcased the best new music coming out of the city of Manchester in England at the time - really the roots of the rave rock scene. They were major players in that movement even though they actually hailed from Liverpool, where Mullin now lectures in music at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts.
Song: Leave The Lights On
Artist: Meiko, Roberta, GA
Album: The Bright Side, 2012
Notes: Lead-off cut from her brilliant sophomore album which was issued in last May, some five years after her splendid maiden long-player: both are stuffed with first-rate melodic singer-songwriter confections showcasing her engaging breathy vocal style and clever way with words. One-quarter Japanese, she grew up in Roberta, a small hamlet in Georgia. She'll be playing at The Hotel Caf‚ in Los Angeles this week.
Artist: David Gates, Tulsa, OK
Album: First, 1973
Notes: A bridge from musical heaven, a master class in how to write and perform a timeless simple love song from the former Bread frontman withl his love to Ann, a lost gem buried on his first solo album from 1973 - which features two fellow slices of Bread - Larry Knechtel and Mike Botts.
Song: For A Dollar
Artist: Citizen Cope, Washington, DC
Album: One Lovely Day, 2012
Notes: A short winner from folk/soul/blues stylist Clarence Greenwood, aka Citizen Cope - one of several terrific cuts from his recent album. With four fine albums released over the past decade, he has just begun a solo acoustic tour. For full dates, check out his website - citizencope.com.
Artist: Duncan Sheik/Tears for Fears, Montclair, NJ/England
Album: Covers 80's, 2011
Notes: An intriguingly stripped-down acoustic update of the seminal '80s classic by the always-intriguing singer-songwriter and now Broadway composer segued into the mighty original which topped the US chart 27 years ago and did the same in seven other countries. Sheik is currently working on a new album as well as several theater projects, including a musical version of 'American Psycho.'