The Gremmys are a stupidly complicated thing, slicing up surf music into imaginary categories just so that I can make sense of things in my head. It's messy -- there are things in this category that could be in another category and vice versa. But the judging criteria of this one is delightfully simple:
Does it rip? How much?
This is a category for surf/instrumentals that aim to get your adrenaline spiking, maybe inspire some headbanging or fistpumping. I call it "rad" because it needs a name and it rhymes with trad. Let's go.
Amphibian Man - Flaming Home
Amphibian Man are no longer a surf band, and I'm kind of grandfathering them in here particularly for this record. The surf songs we listen to are typically trying to evoke themes themes of leisure and fantasy -- surfing, spaceships, cowboys, unknown lands, etc. Amphibian Man are dealing with a lot of reality as a band in Kyiv, Ukraine, and perhaps the energetic colors of surf music aren't the right language for that setting. Is Flaming Home an instrumental representation of the experience of living under war? I truly can't say, but I do believe I hear that in its downtrodden yet strong demeanor, and it's a powerful listen for those empathizing with them.
The Zipheads - Surf Wars Vol. 1: The Day the Surf Stood Still
The Tulsa Doom - War Chief
Evil Waves - Despotic Machines
The Eye Five - Coast Ghost
The Whys - A Day On Mercury
And the Gremmy goes to....
This record starts on full blast, with sound clips reviewing the terrible events of 1986 soundtracked to howling, disastrous surf music. I love it. The album continues at that pace: shouting, exciting, titillating with a trashy sound but melody to back it up. It's honestly kind of hard to say much else from there. They don't have a particular gimmick. It wins because it hit the hardest and kept me bobbing around the most.
This band's previous releases were solid, but I think they've really managed to crank it up on this one. And what is it with France? Arno de Cea, Hawaii Samurai, The Irradiates, Demon Vendetta, many others, and now Z & the Tiki Twisters. Y'all have some rage. Anyway, congrats to Z and every Tiki Twister.