The Gremmy Awards are Storm Surge of Reverb's yearly awards recognizing some of the most oustanding surf and instro albums of the year. Keep in mind that Storm Surge of Reverb is really just one person, and so for the most part these are just the tastes of one idiot. That idiot has listened to an awful lot of this music, but certainly not all of it. I try to balance it out a little bit by contacting a few people that I know are big surf superfans and whose opinions I respect and having them write Guest Gremmys. Also, these awards are really supposed to be the cream of the crop. There are going to be a lot of albums that I really enjoyed that will be painfully omitted, and there will be a lot of music that is noteworthy that just won't get its due.
Before I talk about the awards themselves, I want to talk about 2018. I just loved being a fan of surf music in 2018. There were a ton of great albums, which means I'm going to have to be extra picky. There were more big surf shows across the globe than I think anybody could keep up with (though Jeff "BigTikiDude" Hanson tried). Impala released a new album after 15 years of hibernation. The Bomboras played shows. I'm not saying that this music is on the verge of anything, but it just feels like it's all clicking and it's in a really nice place. I want to thank everybody that's a part of that. This is a global community of positive people that are passionate about what they do, and if you're on the sidelines I invite you to jump in headfirst.
So yeah, the awards are broken up into a whole bunch of parts and I probably won't have them all posted until early January. Those parts are:
- The list of every 2018 surf release that I know of
Always staggering to see!
- Best Album Art
Probably doesn't deserve its own post but I enjoy it.
- Best Trad Surf Album
These bands proudly call themselves surf bands and are happily carrying the torch of the 1960s. There actually is some flexibility here: not all trad groups want to sound like they were recorded with one microphone in a shitty shack for $5, and I sometimes include groups that actually reaching for authentic reproduction of a surf cousin (like rautalanka or eleki).
- Best Modern Instro Album
Groups that would never be mistaken for a 1960's group but still have roots that trace back. They mix in influences from all over, push the boundaries and want to carve out a sound for themselves.
- Best Rad Surf Album
My own terminology. Aggro surf with an overt punk or metal influence.
- Best Way-Out Instro Album
The sort of band that you'd have trouble describing to anybody but I guess there's a little surf in there.
- Best of the Rest
Odds and ends that I feel should be recognized for whatever reason. Truthfully I don't even know what all will go in here at the moment.
- Guest Gremmys
Top lists from other surf nerds structured however they please.
Often deciding what goes into which category is entirely by my own whim. It's not a perfect system. I hope you find something you like though.
One more thing, I've posted my favorite non-surf releases of 2018 over on WTUL's website.
But what do you think?
I'm curious what stood out to everybody else this year. Here's an informal poll, submit as many or as few albums as you please.