There aren't too many people doing awards for surf music which makes me very self-conscious about my choices. The Gremmys are just my opinions and some albums that didn't make an impact for me meant a lot to others, not to mention ones that I loved but just didn't make it to the top tier. So here are some other voices from people that I know are listening to a lot of surf and whose opinions I respect, and hopefully they'll cover some of the ground that I didn't.
Kevin Kamphaus is a known surf superfan and probably the only person watching over bandcamp as closely as I am. I know I'm not the only person who was really happy to have finally met him at SG101 this year. Here's what stood out to Kevin:
2017 was quite the year for this guy! In August I attended my first ever SG 101 Convention and witnessed 24 hours of live surf music over a three day span…nothing short of amazing and I hope to do it again sometime in the future. It was so great to meet some of my Facebook friends and to see in person so many of the bands that I have been listening to for almost 20 years! On a personal note, my wife and I also bought a new home while our son graduated midterm from high school.
So without further ado here are my top 5 favorite surf albums from 2017:
5. Arno de Cea & The Clockwork Wizards – Flash Freezing The Sun
Arno De Cea & The Clockwork Wizards hail from France and play what they call ‘Brutal Surf’. This is their third full length album and as I write this they are at work on their next release set to come out in early 2018. This is NOT your dad’s surf music. This is meant to be played LOUD! Fans of Man or Astro-Man will enjoy this album and as you can hear their influence throughout. They also released a split of first generation surf covers entitled ‘Sergeant Surf Split Tape’ with fellow French band Demon Vendetta (another heavier surf band I would recommend) in 2017. Arno also plays guitar for another highly MoAM influenced band called The Irradiates and I strongly encourage everyone to search their music out as well. Favorite track: (I Wanna Be) Visionary Retarded
4. Spytones – Over The Moon
This is the Spytones sophomore release from February 2017 and it’s quite a fun album. I would have to put this release in the ‘Reverb Instrumentals’ category rather than ‘Surf’ as it covers a few different styles. There’s something here for everyone…15 tracks of Ventures-type instrumentals, twangy instros as well as spy surf. All in all, a fantastic release that should be sought out. Favorite track: Rocketball
3. Satan’s Pilgrims – Siniestro
Of course anyone vaguely familiar with the surf revival scene will know who Satan’s Pilgrims are, everything they have ever recorded has been outstanding! It was tough for me to rank these last three albums as they are all great in my opinion. There’s not a filler track on this release and most surf fans will most likely have this ranked as their top surf album of 2017. If you haven’t heard it by now, you must seek it out! Favorite track: Siniestro
2. The Evanstones – Music From The Last Band On Earth
This is another sophomore release which took three years in the making and the quality and care shows. The Evanstones hail from Seattle, Washington which surprised me as one of their tracks is titled in Russian. This is an amazing traditional surf album of which The Evanstones should be very proud of and trad surf fans will LOVE. Favorite track: Morricone Island
…and my top new surf album of 2017 is…
1. Anonymous Henchmen – The Coming Thing
This is the third release by local Omaha, Nebraska band Anonymous Henchmen and like the last two albums the group has a slightly different lineup thus having a slightly different sound. The band is now a trio containing keyboards along with reverb drenched guitar and drums. The really cool thing about this album is that the keyboards are used as lead at times as well as accompaniment giving some nice atmospheric sounds. Imagine if you will, The Doors meet Dick Dale and you have the new and improved AH sound. Fans of exotica, spy and of course surf, will enjoy this. Favorite track: Hannibal 8
Nestor Burma/UKAY54 always finds so many things missing from my Big List that this time I asked him to take a look at it before I released it. Here's his picks from this year.
Here is my Guest Gremmy for 2017. Again it was very difficult to make a choice. There are so many good and great releases from this year in all different formats. It goes from One track digital releases, which are not listed here, like Cthulu Dawn by Hypnotzar to longplayers like Senales de Humo by Los Coronas, released as a double album on vinyl.
I'm a huge a fan of the shorter format - EPs with four to six or seven tracks, especially when they are released on seven or even better ten inch vinyl. So my favorite album of the year 2017 is
Desert Rocks by The Illuminators
This is the third release of this fantastic swedish band. The others were "The Illuminators" released in 2012 and "Road To Damascus" from 2013, both are twelve inch vinyl releases and imho both are "must have" for all fans of the traditional sound of a surf guitar. The new one is even better than the older ones and my biggest wish for 2018 is a physical release of this amazing EP.
And I have two honorable mentions for 2017:
The first one goes to Dr. Frankenstein from Portugal for releasing Santo André e os Maus Rapazes on ten inch vinyl. Great music and my favorite physical format for Surf Music,
And the second goes to The Dead Rocks and Reverb Brazil for releasing the amazing compilation Beach, Butts, Burgers And Beer. A tribute to The Dead Rocks.
Can't wait to hear the first new surf album in 2018 ...
Dorthy "DJ Dotty" Treasure has always been a great supporter to Storm Surge of Reverb and even has her own show on North Sea Surf Radio called Paradise Cove.
What follows below is by no means a complete list for the best of 2017 for me. Just my fave Horror surf. There were So many great releases and these are just the ones that I could NOT stop reaching for on a daily basis, presented in no particular order.
Satan’s Pilgrims – Sinestro
There is not much that I can say about the latest release from Satan’s Pilgrims, except that it is a MUST HAVE. Listened to this album on repeat for a full week . Took a break and listened to Dio’s “Rainbow in the Dark”, for 8 hours straight, annnd then went right back to Sinestro. Good from start to end.
Messer Chups – Taste The Blood Of Guitaracula
This trio never disappoints! Check out the arrangement on Children of The Popcorn. I seriously feel that this is one of the best renditions of this 70’s classic.
The Primitive Finks Horror Party Stomp EP
Released on Hi-Tide Recordings/Go Mondo Records and available on digital format on Bandcamp. They are so darn good AND so great live. SEE THEM LIVE IF YOU HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY! With your dying breath, you will thank the heaven’s that you did.
The Guitaraculas – Preaches of the Night
I am under the full-fledged belief that everything that Oleg Gitarkin touches turns into gold. Between his great compositions, arrangements, and mad guitar playing skills, when you listen to his albums, your ears will Thank You for sure. If you haven’t checked out this particular one, just trust me and do it.
Thanks again to everybody that particpated. If there's a record that you feel isn't getting its due, I want to remind you that I've also got a running poll going that anybody can add or vote to