Song: Modern Times
Artist: Army of Me, Washington, DC
Album: Searching For You, 2013
Notes: A near perfect union of words and melody, a quiet lost diamond by songsmith Vince Scheuerman, aka Army of Me. He was set to embark on a major label career in 2007 with his debut album, only to badly injure his vocal chords which took more than two years to recover from. Relocated to Nashville in 2012 where he hooked up with producer Daniel James and this is the glorious result.
Song: Sleeping Giant
Artist: Bootstraps, Los Angeles
Album: Bootstraps, 2012
Notes: Sensational full-on rock nugget by the West Coast combo who are currently a buzz band - and for once living up to the buzz. It's one of several worthwhile cuts on their eponymous 2012 freshman set which was re-issued in February. Uber-cool web presence at www.bootstrapsmusic.com where you can also hear their surprising remake of Whitney's 'I Wanna Dance With Somebody'.
Artist: Rebecca Roubion, Nashville
Notes: A garden of a song, some cinematic indie-pop class from Ms. Roubion, another promising young newcomer from Nashville. Born in Mobile, AL, an alumnus of LSU, she released a couple of EPS in 2012/2013 funded by a crowdsourcing effort. Gifted pianist and singer-songwriter, influenced by Carole King and the late Eva Cassidy among others.
Artist: Haerts, Brooklyn, NY
Album: Hemiplegia EP, 2014
Notes: An electro-pop hit-in-waiting from the fresh Brooklyn-based unit fronted by German-Americans, Nini Fabi and Ben Gebert. All he right ingredients for a hit, rightly reissued this year by their record label, but still no joy on the airwaves. Already a L&F lost classic.
Song: Born To
Artist: Jesca Hoop, Santa Rosa, CA
Notes: The standout cut from her fourth album. Singer-songwriter guitarist Jesca mercifully broke away from a strict Mormon upbringing in Northern California, began her recording career in 2004 and has yet to record an uninteresting song. She got a big boost from seminal KCRW tastemaker Nic Harcourt in 2007 and worked as a backing singer for Peter Gabriel couple of years ago.
Song: Brand New Day
Artist: Kodaline, Ireland
Album: In A Perfect World, 2013
Notes: First featured on L&F in February 2013 and finally getting a bit of love elsewhere. One of the most promising groups to emerge from Dublin in recent years, the Irish quartet previously recorded as 21 Demands before switching to Kodaline in 2011. They describe making music simply as 'therapy'.
Artist: Whitley, Australia
Notes: Great chorus on this all too real indictment of modern life, a fine curiosity from their highly rewarding third offering which is only available in the US as an import CD. Band is actually just one chap, singer-songwriter Lawrence Greenwood who hails from Melbourne down under - and who describes his music as 'gloomy ambient folk pop'.
Song: Every Bomb You Make
Artist: Sting, England
Album: Not available, 1984
Notes: Sting's re-recorded lyrics and vocals laid over the original 'Every Breath You Take' Police smash, reversioned as a biting call for disarmament, peace, compassion and accountability. Recorded at the request of the producers of the much-missed '80s British tv series, 'Spitting Image' which took a weekly swipe at the good, the bad and the ugly using grotesquely caricatured life-size puppets of the politicians and celebrities they were ribbing. This recording squarely aimed as Mr. Reagan and Mr. (!) Thatcher.
Artist: Alessi Brothers feat. Christopher Cross, Los Angeles
Album: Long Time Friends, 1982
Notes: A lovely (but dated) mellifluous lost gem produced and co-written by Christopher Cross who just walks away with the recording, harmonizing throughout, performing some nice guitar runs and contributing the delicious extended solo vocal finale. Also co-written and produced by Cross for identical twins Billy and Bobby Alessi who are best known for their 1977 hit 'Oh Lori? which was successful everywhere outside their native USA.
Artist: San Fermin, Brooklyn, NY
Album: San Fermin, 2013
Notes: A delicious summery treat. Sam Fermin is the brainchild of classically trained pianist/songwriter and Yale graduate Ellis Ludwig-Leone, who recruited three top-drawer singer's Holly Laessig (moonlighting from her Lucius combo), Jess Wolfe and the deeper-voiced Allen Tate to sing his ornate, frequently orchestral chamber-pop songs.
Song: Making Money
Artist: Ben Rector, Nashville
Album: The Walking In Between, 2013
Notes: Charming, plaintive ditty from his fifth long-player. Rector won the annual John Lennon Songwriting Contest in 2006, the youngest to ever do so - he's still only 27. Perhaps best known for his 2011 winner, 'Something Like This', but this track just one of many lost gems which flew under the radar.
Artist: Prefab Sprout, England
Album: Crimson and Red, 2013
Notes: One of several sorely overlooked delights on their drop-dead superb Crimson Red opus from last year which remains mysteriously unavailable in the US. Ten outstanding albums by top tunesmith Paddy McAloon and his band since 1984.
Song: Call To Arms
Artist: Laura Welsh, England
Album: Not available, 2014
Notes: Promising preview of her full-length maiden album which should drop soon. London-based songstress who first performed as Laura and the Tears and then Hey Laura, but now just settled on her solo name. Worked with John Legend and Emeli Sande among others, more at laurawelsh.com.
Song: The Wilhelm Scream
Artist: Bamboos feat. Megan Washington, Australia
Album: Medicine Man, 2012
Notes: Lovely retro groove kissed by the smokey vocals of guest singer Megan Washington. The nine-piece Aussie soul innovators are fronted by bandleader Lance Ferguson who assembled the combo in 2001 in Melbourne. Highly recommended 2012 release also features collaborations with the likes of Daniel Merriweather and the now huge, Aloe Blacc.
Song: We Will
Artist: Gilbert O?Sullivan, Ireland
Album: Himself, 1971
Notes: A deeply affectionate and charming vintage ditty about the simple joys of parenthood, home and family life by the consistently underrated singer-songwriter/pianist Gilbert. A remarkable and reliable 18 studio albums recorded over a four decade career full of lost glories.
Artist: Chloe Howl, England
Album: Rumour EP, 2014
Notes: Spanking new music from new British singer-songwriter. Just 19 , Chloe grew up in the lovely county of Berkshire near London, recorded her first home-made CD at the age of 10, a collection of Xmas covers which she sold to help raise money for her primary school. Wisely snapped up by Columbia Records at 16, the first fruits of her major label contract emerged last year now collected on the Rumour EP. Opening for Ellie Goulding this summer.
Song: Till The End
Artist: Rictor, Nashville
Album: Till The End EP, 2014
Notes: Engaging indie-folk roller from Kyle and Kelsey Rictor, both members of the marvelous General Ghost combo which is frequently featured on L&F.�The pair's debut EP, 'Till The End,' is now available, not a duff track contained therein.
Artist: Mark Knopfler, England
Album: Privateering, 2012
Notes: Another beautifully crafted tale from his first double album which is finally available on iTunes in the US after an 18 month delay from its European release. The ever modest and artfully restrained Knopfler gets better with each release, somehow continuing to mature and refine his music while others of his generation fall away.
Song: Nice Girls
Artist: Any Trouble, England
Notes: Channeling early Joe Jackson and Elvis Costello, underrated singer-songwriter Clive Gregson with his former band Any Trouble with an erudite lost corker. Clive formed the post-punk new wave outfit in the north of England in the late '70s - they recorded five fab totally overlooked albums before he went solo in 1985. More at clivegregson.com.
Song: Say The Words
Artist: Satellite, Los Angeles
Album: Calling Birds, 2013
Notes: Shades of Embrace and early Snow Patrol on this worthwhile anthemic pop-rock number. The group has been around for some four years formed and led by Steven McMorran who has also collaborated with the likes of Joe Cocker and Weezer.
Artist: David Mead, Nashville
Album: Wherever You Are EP, 2005
Notes: A lost classic, an outstanding ballad from an overlooked EP issued in 2005. His last album 'Dudes? was entirely financed by fans - who include John Mayer, Taylor Swift, Joe Jackson and Shelby Lynne.
Artist: Foxes, England
Album: Glorious, 2014
Notes: Magical melodrama on the underloved orchestral version of a song which has recently swirled around US dance clubs in a weaker dance mix. Louisa Rose Allen - aka Foxes -s won her first Grammy as the featured vocalist on Zedd's 2013 hit 'Clarity? which was named Best Dance Recording at this year's awards.
Artist: Al Green, Memphis, TN
Album: Don't Look Back, 1993
Notes: Originally recorded for his 1993 CD (and now obviously unavailable) 'Don't Look Back', this soul shuffler was also featured in the closing frames of the Hugh Grant/Sandra Bullock starring romcom, 'Two Week's Notice'. The Reverend Al marvelously ad-libs the titles of six of his earlier hits at the end of the song.
Song: Come Home
Artist: Findlay Brown, England
Album: Separated By The Sea, 2007
Notes: Too damn good a deftly formed melancholic lost diamond by the British tunesmith who recently relocated to NYC with his girlfriend, and has a new long-player in the works called 'Slow Light'.
Artist: Nina Simone, Tryon, NC
Album: Baltimore, 1978
Notes: Nina's remarkable reggae-tinged, soulful interpretation of Randy Newman's 'Baltimore' tale. The glorious parent album (perhaps her best) is now available for digital consumption. The late great Simone passed away in 2003 after battling breast cancer.
Song: Bringing Back Paradise
Artist: Noonie Bao, Sweden
Album: Not available, 2014
Notes: Glorious, the irresistibly cute vocal stylings of Miss Bao, a 20-something songstress from Stockholm. One album and a sprinkle of one-off singles released to date.
Song: Suitcase Full of Sparks
Artist: Gregory Alan Isakov, South Africa
Album: The Weatherman, 2013
Notes: Indie folk of the highest order, if you like Ben Howard, Bon Iver or Ray LaMontagne this album is highly recommended. Gregory was born in South Africa but raised in Philly and now based in Colorado. One of the best long-players of 2013.
Song: Here Is A Heart
Artist: Jenny Owen Youngs, Montclair, NJ
Album: Transmitter Failure, 2009
Notes: Delicious lyrics, this song is too good for prime-time. Jenny plays the flute, guitar and the tuba among other instruments all of which she picked up as a child. She's opened for the likes of Regina Spektor and Aimee Mann. Married her partner, Kristin Russo, last August.
Song: Biddy Mulligans
Artist: Sean Taylor, England
Album: Chase The Night, 2013
Notes: North Londoner, Sean Taylor with the story of Biddy Mulligans from his tasteful and otherwise rather bluesy 2013 CD which he wrote as a 'celebration of my home town - from the drinkers of Kilburn, to the ravers of Brixton, from the bohemia of Camden to the golden glow of the Thames'.
Song: Is This All There Is
Artist: Nanci Griffith, Seguin, TX
Notes: Too sad for words from the Americana queen, a couple at the end of the road, their love broken in two, one half reflecting mournfully on the collapse of the dearest relationship of her life, reflecting on all the lost treasure they've left behind, the future absence of their union.
Artist: Smoove & Turrell, England
Album: Antique Soul, 2009
Notes: Retro-groove belter with fab intermittent horns by a British duo from the northern English city of Newcastle, producer and clever beat-boffin Jonathan Watson (Smoove) and blue-eyed soul singer John Turrell. More at smooveandturrell.com.
Artist: Stealers Wheel, Scotland
Notes: Commuting in from 1974 (as a single) a mid-chart placing by the Scottish duo of Gerry Rafferty and Joe Egan. Rafferty died at the age of just 63 in 2011 - the same year we lost Jerry Leiber of the iconic Leiber & Stoller songwriting duo - who, astonishingly, produced - not wrote - this Stealer's Wheel number (and also the band's biggest hit, the 'Stuck In The Middle With You').
Song: Lost in the All
Artist: Todor Kobakov, Bulgaria
Notes: Delicious World Music and electronic flavors under a rich sonic landscape, a lost gem from 'The Samaritan' film soundtrack by the Bulgarian maestro who has scored some eight movies in addition to his solo work.