2020 is over. Maybe not in terms of global panic, but we did technically make a trip around the sun. During that trip festivals were cancelled, bands couldn't play shows.... but music certainly didn't grind to a halt. There were a LOT of great surf releases in 2020 -- in fact I counted more releases overall than in 2019. I'm not going to speculate on how virus-related constrictions on social interaction might have played a role (or at least I won't write about it), but suffice it to say that the Gremmy Awards process wasn't about finding winners, rather it was about the difficulty in choosing just a few.
But let's talk about what the Gremmy Awards are. They are this site's personal picks for oustanding surf/instrumental records. There's no real science to this process, it's more about coming up with something that I feel comfortable with. Theyv'e been broken up into several categories to make things more manageable and to cater to different tastes. These are FAR from perfect categories and my placement of certain bands in certain categories is frequently questionable. Oh well.
I haven't heard every release, and I rarely give them enough listening time. But I've heard A LOT, and I even comfortably would say more than most. But there are records that I will later hear and come around to liking much more. There are records I will hear later and think "what did you hear in this?" There are records that I think are great but for the sake of not having these categories be gigantic, I felt I had to leave off the list.
Here are the categories. They will be rolled out as they are ready, and will come out in the following order.
- THE BIG LIST: A gigantic unranked list of every surf release I can find.
- Best Album Art: Self-explanatory. Not really about the music within.
- Best Trad Surf Record: Surf records that try to capture the sound and spirit of the 60s.
- Best Modern Surf Record: These groups build upon years of surf revivalism with their sound as well as combining influences from other genres.
- Best "Rad" Surf Record: Fast and hard-hitting surf records, often with a strong punk influence.
- Best "Mad" Instro Record: Records that either intentionally flip surf conventions on their head or are only questionably surf while still holding surf appeal.
- Rest of the Best: Miscellaneous Categories that I feel are worth mentioning.
- Guest Gremmys: I asked some trusted figures and friends in surf music what stood out to them.
Lastly, I want to know what stood out to YOU. Vote in the poll below! It's usually pretty heavily manipulated by a few overzealous characters, but interesting nonetheless. Also if it says Hunter I didn't submit it, that's just how the poll works.