I define this category as bands that are still ostensibly playing surf music, but aren't necessarily trying to sound like a band from the 60's. Similar spirit, but allowing newer influences, "non-standard" equipment, and are generally using surf music more as a jump-off point than a restraint. This is often the sort of "main event" of the Gremmys, the category that defines the most groups and often the most attention-getting groups. This year was a doozy. My initial list was over twenty candidates, and though I've narrowed it down considerably, I'm not sure this category has ever been this crowded. However, I spent a long time getting here, and I believe every single one of these are the cream of this year's crop.
Is there any other rock & roll fad that has lasted as long as surf music? Where are all the modern skiffle groups? There's something uniquely timeless about the sound of surf, and this category is a tribute to the groups that are determined to show just how everlasting and powerful that sound is. This isn't about taking the sound to new dimensions, but about keeping it simple and working with a tried-and-true toolkit to make amazing music.
One little note about this one: I was definitely a little rushed on this. I made the playlist Christmas evening, recorded some of the voice breaks in a burger king parking lot during a road trip. Every song on here deserves to be here... but there are a lot of songs that ALSO did. This is of course a testament to how great of a year this was for surf, but I think there are some glaring omissions that I feel I should apologize for.
Album art is important. Bad album art can negatively affect a listener's opinion going in, and good album art can inform how to approach the album, what imagery they can conjure in their head. I think this especially important in instrumental music, where so much is left to interpretation without lyrics to guide you. Here are some records that stood out to me before I even listened to them.
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