2016 has been an awful year for music fans. David Bowie, Prince, Leonard Cohen, and too many others left us far too soon. Though those titans of creativity can never be replaced, it is a blessing that we live in an era where countless musicians are striving to do just that. As you read this, people are in studios, garages, and bedrooms creating beautiful sounds that would do the fallen legends proud. Broward and Palm Beach have their share of maestros, MCs, and rock stars pouring their hearts into their sounds. Here are ten locals who made memorable songs in 2016. Click on the titles and artists to head over to the songs.
"Saggy Capricorn," by Lindsey Mills
This track off the two-song EP Cusp sounds a bit like if Joan Baez made music in the alternative scene of the '90s. The Lake Worth singer-songwriter describes her sound as "folk pop punk soul" but is more dependent on solid lyricism than staying true to a particular genre.
"Chompers," by Chaucer
Do not try to get this catchy song about beautiful teeth out of your head; you will fail miserably. The lo-fi song serves as a good stepping stone into the Palm Beach native's sound, which combines the sense of humor of the Dead Milkmen with the otherworldly inanity of Daniel Johnston to keep a chorus in your head all day.
"Don't Nobody Safe," by Sweet Bronco
Chris Horgan's indie-rock band uncovers new layers in the wall of sound that bring out a quiet desperation with every bang of the tambourine. Fans of Brian Wilson-inspired bands like Guided by Voices will get a kick out of this one.
"Finding My Way," by Peyote Coyote
This song off the Pompano Beach stoner-rock trio takes you on a four-minute trip through psychedelia. Guitarist Ryan Huseman, bassist Jake Stuart, and drummer Cari Gee created a great driving song regardless of your drug of choice, even if it's not peyote.
"Peeuurrnn," by Eric Biddines
Inspired by a standup skit by Curb Your Enthusiasm's JB Smoove, West Palm rapper Eric Biddines goes into his Southern-rap bag of tricks on this one. He wears his Outkast influence on his sleeve in this song with elephant noises and talk of imaginary animals.
"The Same," by Wallace
Rylan Talerico isn't even out of high school, so how is a kid who's too young to remember 9/11 able to tap into the post-punk mindset of London in 1979 in this rocking number? It walks the fine line of sloppy and confident that all good rock and roll flirts with.
"Satyros Ironykos," by Georgio "The Dove" Valentino
This West Palm native — who has exiled himself from sunshine, first to Detroit and then to Europe — seems to be auditioning to do the soundtrack of a True Detective season three with this song. The crooning, moody atmospherics of "Satyros Ironykos" are reminiscent of some lost Nick Cave song.
"Like Skepta," by Don Cotti featuring MC Jumanji
This transatlantic partnership features the South London reggae dancehall of Don Cotti mixed in with the American grime of Coral Springs' own MC Jumanji. The sinister and the eerie combine to satiate you like a hot-and-sour soup.
"Leave Me Lonely," by Ariana Grande
It never hurts a song to include Macy Gray, but Boca Raton's local girl done good — Ariana Grande more than holds her own. She shows off her vocal range, which helps her stand out from all the other pop teeny-boppers, in a sultry song that doesn't allow itself to be dumbed down.
"Six Flags in F or G," by Surfer Blood
It takes a while for the song to warm up — starting off sounding like a cover of the Rawhide theme — but it zigs and zags into winning, weird, and memorable sonic territory. By the time the five-minute track finishes, you have delved into surf guitar and harmonies that whet your appetite for the band's 2017 album.