2019

Gremmy Awards 2019: Rest of the Best

Gremmy Awards 2019: Rest of the Best

The downside of assigning strange categories for your end-of-year review process is there's all these other things you want to recognize. So that's what this is for. These categories are completely unstructured. Some categories didn't exist last year, some categories disappeared from last year, and they might come back next year.

For the sake of layout I'm not posting individual Gremmy Awards images for winners, but if you won and you'd like me to send one, let me know.

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Gremmy Awards 2019: Best "Mad" Instro Record

Best "Mad" Instro

I can't imagine you stumbled upon surf music because it was popular. Wesweek out the obscure and different, and I think it's important to recognize those that are really trying to do try something new. This category is to recognize groups that have a loose foothold from surf but jump into more challenging directions.

This category used to be called Best Way-Out Instro, but I was never comfortable with that name and realized that "Mad" rhymes with trad and rad and works well enough. Mad as in crazy, not angry.

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Gremmy Awards 2019: Best Modern Surf Album

Best Modern Surf Record 2019

This category is for surf groups that represent the state of the music today. They're not focused on sounding authentic, they're about making a good surf record while accepting and incorporating the roughly 60 years of music history that happened since the birth of surf music. This description covers most surf bands releasing music today, and it's always really difficult to choose a winner. I cut a lot of great records from this list just to bring it down to this many -- easily the largest category this year! I feel that all of these albums are at the same level as each other, and I'll happily recommend any of them to anybody.

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Gremmys 2019: Best "Rad" Instro Record

Best Rad Instro Record

Arguably, surf was the first type of rock & roll to really focus on a feeling of power and aggression, playing songs faster and louder. As punk and metal rolled around, a lot of bands absorbed those influences into surf to really ramp up the ferocity. For the sake of categorization and rhyming, I've called these bands "rad" instro groups.

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Gremmys 2019: Best Trad Surf Record

Best Trad Surf Record

The definition of surf gets less clear all the time, but thankfully there are still some groups trying to anchor it down by explicitly reaching for the 60's. That sound is timeless, and though I love hearing how people take surf to new dimensions, it absoluteyl doesn't need to be taken anywhere. Here are some groups that made great records by sticking to the tried-and-true sound.

Honorable Mentions

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Gremmys 2019: Best Album Art

Best Album Art Gremmy 2019

I love that surf has its own look and feel, and it certainly helps me find new surf records. What's interesting about this year is that I didn't notice as many bands adhering to that look and feel, and part of that was a surprising no-show from some of the heavyweights of this genre, such as Shawn Dickinson and Fred Lammers. Here's what stuck out to me.

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The 2019 Gremmy Awards

Gremmy Awards 2019

This has been an interesting year for surf releases -- it’s been almost devoid of LPs from “established” surf groups, and so most of the “big” releases of 2019 would only be seen as such if you’ve been paying close attention over the last few years. I don’t think this is an indication of any sort of changing of the guard, I think it just happened to be that way, but it has provided an interesting opportunity for a lot of lesser-known groups to poke their heads up and be seen.

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Here's every 2019 Surf/Instro Release I could find

2019

About This List

Every year I try to compile this list for a few reasons:

  1. So that people can see in a very concrete way that surf is by no means a dead genre.
  2. To get a good glimpse at the full vartiety of surf music out there.
  3. To recognize all the releases that I never played on my show or wrote about on my blog.
  4. To organize it all and help me get my brain in order as I get ready for my annual Gremmy awards.

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