This year, there was no shortage of terrific music released by Lehigh Valley artists. Here are, in no specific order, my top five songs of 2016:
Allentown's Summer Scouts go full power-pop on "Vessel." From the opening guitar riff to the anthemic chorus, this talented quintet knows how to craft irresistible melodies. Singer Katherine De Menno's voice is a calming and powerful blend that falls somewhere between Sarah McLachlan and Natalie Merchant. Board this tune and take the ride. You won't be disappointed.
Pentley Holmes, "Shape Up"
Singer-songwriter Pentley Holmes, of Phillipsburg, locks into a smooth, mid-tempo groove that is well-written and super catchy. The chorus to "Shape Up" is the sharpest hook in the song -- a delightful piece of ear candy that lodges itself in your head for hours on end.
On their single "Hungry" (recorded for the indie horror film Dead and Dead-ish), singer Mike Roi and Co. -- guitarist Ed Golden, bassist Glen Radomski, keyboardist Jason Hedrington and drummer Craig Martyn -- get down and dirty on a swampy, grungy and exceptionally crunchy tune that harkens back to the days when kick-ass guitar solos and leads were still centerpieces of hard rock. Each musician is at the top of their game here; Roi's pipes are especially potent. Satisfy your auditory craving with this tasty jam.
Doug Hawk takes flight on the wings of a soothing, yet funky, Stevie Wonder-inspired slow-burner in which the Easton resident waxes poetic about political and social transparencies (a theme he frequently returns to on his album Songs for Humans). This is the kind of song that will make you think and move at the same time. Dig it.
The husband and wife duo of Carly Commando and Tom Patterson proudly wear their punk roots on their collective sleeve with a feisty, dynamic blast of driving synth and drums. "Paycheck" barrels out of the gate and hurtles down the track with brute force; a scorcher of a track that shows off Slingshot Dakota's musical strength.
For more 2016 song picks, visit LehighValleyUnderground to find out which 2016 made their cut.