The Gremmy Awards are my choices for favorite surf records of 2023 stretched out into several categories in order give myself more work than anybody asked for. I have not heard every surf album released this year, but I sure did try, and even made a big list of as many as I could. That said, my taste is not infallible -- some records take multiple listens to sink in, and some things resonate with different people. However, my goal is to make a great list of surf instrumental records that I could recommend without hesitation to anyone. Not just good surf records -- there's a lot of those! -- but outstanding ones.
They are typically LPs, though not by rule. My categories are pretty fluid -- sometimes it's pretty hard to say what belongs in what. There's always a winner -- no ties! -- and each category has as many Honorable Mentions as I feel appropriate. An Honorable Mention is supposed to be something that's good enough that it feels like it compares well with the winner.
So here are the categories. They will turn into links as they start existing.
- Master list of record released in 2023: Not so much a Gremmy Category, but a list of every surf record I found this year.
- Best Album Art: Visual aids to make an album handsome
- Best Trad Surf Record: Simple surf instrumentals that evoke the 60's without much else.
- Best Modern Surf Record: Builds off the retro sound into something new and fun. This is usually the biggest category.
- Best "Rad" Instro Record: Focuses on power, volume, speed, often some punk or metal influence.
- Best "Mad" instro Record: Oddball records with roots in surf.
- Guest Gremmys: Favorite records of the year chosen by people that have heard a lot of them.
- Rest of the Best: Random small categories that I made up.
That's too many categories. Why do I do this to myself? As exhausting as it is, it feels good to bring the good stuff to light and for people to feel recognized.
And now a thing I like to do every year: what do you think was the best record of 2023? This poll is very prone to manipulation and has little bearing on actual gremmys, but it's fun nonetheless!
What was your favorite surf record of 2023?