There are some things that deserve recognition other than just the albums themselves. This is the category where I get to spill out the rest of those observations. These categories change year to year.
Surf is no longer the same music that the kids in California were making. It's drawn in influences from all over the place to make its own more open sound. Some of these bands seek to establish new boundaries in what instrumental rock & roll can be, some just make the sound that makes sense to them. Here are the ones that stood out most to me, in no particular order.