They may be minnows in an ocean of starfish, but these great unknowns are worth reeling in.
BARBARA MANNING 1212 The third solo album from this unheralded folk rocker (frontwoman of the equally obscure SF Seals) is a rough-hewn gem. The thinking person’s Liz Phair. (June 10)
KENICKIE AT THE CLUB A punk-rock Spice Girls? These teen Brit babes (plus a guy drummer) romp through bratty, hook-filled pop songs. Sample lyric: “P-U-N-K-A…Punka!” (June 17)
RON SEXSMITH Other Songs That a tunesmith as brilliant as Elvis Costello is transfixed by this 29-year-old Canadian’s work suggests the depth of Sexsmith’s heart and melodic gift. Perhaps the best singer-songwriter you’ve never heard of. (June 17)
WHISKYTOWN Strangers Almanac One of the most hotly anticipated bands among the No Depression intelligentsia debuts with a set of introspective rock that’s as much Paul Westerberg as country-western. (July 1) music