The musical links far down the
right left-hand column have been updated to reflect what's cycling most frequently through my CD player at the moment. Principal holdouts from earlier lists are the crunchy webloggin' alt-country stylings of "Fought Down" by Ken Layne & the Corvids (prior comment on which is here) and the heartfelt, wise and sophisticated loveliness of "Identity Crisis" from Shelby Lynne (concerning whom I stand by my earlier judgment that she is to be preferred to the pleasant and talented, but frightfully overhyped, Norah Jones).
New items on the list, all in a listener-friendly pop vein, include Josh Rouse's 1972 -- perfect little pop songs with a dash of Memphis soul that probably would have been a radio hit if it had actually been released ca. 1972-74 -- and "Wonderfully Nothing" by Brookville. Brookville is a side project of Andy Chase, who will be better known to you (if at all) as one third of the band Ivy, and the collection of slightly melancholy songs and instrumentals -- keyboard and guitar-based with a thin veneer electronica and string and horn arrangements from the always-worthwhile Eric Matthews -- somewhat resembles the work on Zero 7's "Simple Things" without the rotating crew of singers. A recent live performance at KCRW is reachable here.
Not listed below (because not available through Amazon [but obtainable by clicking through that album cover above and to the right]) is "I Saw You Coming Back to Me," the self-released debut of Los Angeles' own Bedroom Walls. Working in a style they label "Romanticore," Bedroom Walls combine intelligent Southern California pop craft (a la Brian Wilson or Van Dyke Parks) with a bit of bossa nova here, a dash of distortion there, and a hefty dollop of yearning sweetness to produce music with a pretty-but-somehow-askew quality: I think of Angelo Badalamenti's songs and score for Twin Peaks, with less menace. While the band has some demos posted in MP3 form on its site, perhaps the best way to judge whether Bedroom Walls is for you is to listen to their live appearance on KCRW, streamingly available here.