Gremmy Awards

Gremmy Awards 2023: Best Mad Instro Record

Best Mad Instro Record

Every year there's some things that feel like they're off on their own orbit, but that orbit spends a decent amount of time in our surf galaxy. Awful astronomy aside, some things just don't fit neatly into my stupid Gremmy categories, and though it's hard to judge them as there's little to compare them to, a great record is a great record and should be recognized for it.

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Gremmy Awards 2023: Best Rad Instro Record

Best Rad Instro Record

Dick Dale used to boast about how he was the father of heavy metal. However you may feel about that, it is the first type of music I can think of that really focused on aggression. That's a seed that germinated through subsequent loud musics that refactored back into surf. And here we are, recognizing instro music that wants to be fast, loud, and hit hard. These are groups that may not be trying to emotionally move you, but hopefully can set you in motion physically.

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Gremmy Awards 2023: Best Modern Surf Record

Best Modern Surf Record

It's great to make music that sounds like the 60's, but sometimes you just want to make the surf music you want to make. Or maybe you want to push the genre beyond where it's been. There were a lot of great options here this year, and while I don't think my selections paint the full picture, these are the records that I felt were the best from start to finish.

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Gremmy Awards 2023: Best Trad Surf Record

Best Trad Surf Record

Surf music has come a long way, but it didn't need to! Some groups are ready to go with a reverb tank and a Sentinals record. This category is for bands that are trying to recapture the magic rather than develop it.

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Gremmy Awards 2023: Best Album Art

Best Album Art

Andre Nucci used to play in Intoxicos, but their relationship can't be that toxic because he illustrated this cover! I love when somebody can take something done a million times (in this case surfing guitarist) and make it feel new. The garbage, creature's eye, two nuclear bombs, that stuff is fun. But I also just love way it's illustrated. That guitar-surfer's stance and the linework on it really sells the motion. And I love the bright colors that fade to pastels with perspective. This band's art has always been good (the extended art from End Times seen on their facebook banner is great) but this is their best yet.

I think album art is important. It warms you up to a record and sets the tone. When sitting next to a bunch of other records, it's what makes somebody stop and ask "what is this?"

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The 2023 Gremmy Awards

2023

The Gremmy Awards are my choices for favorite surf records of 2023 stretched out into several categories in order give myself more work than anybody asked for. I have not heard every surf album released this year, but I sure did try, and even made a big list of as many as I could. That said, my taste is not infallible -- some records take multiple listens to sink in, and some things resonate with different people. However, my goal is to make a great list of surf instrumental records that I could recommend without hesitation to anyone. Not just good surf records -- there's a lot of those!

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Gremmy Awards 2022: Best Mad Instro Record

Best Mad Instro

This is a category for hybrid organisms with surf in their DNA but plenty of other things too. That can be plenty of things of course, so the definition is pretty subject to my own whims. That said, I really like this batch this year. These were all great releases and though their share very little with each other, I hope you can appreciate them all.

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Gremmy Awards 2022: Best Rad Instro Album

Best Rad Instro Record

The Gremmys are a stupidly complicated thing, slicing up surf music into imaginary categories just so that I can make sense of things in my head. It's messy -- there are things in this category that could be in another category and vice versa. But the judging criteria of this one is delightfully simple:

Does it rip? How much?

This is a category for surf/instrumentals that aim to get your adrenaline spiking, maybe inspire some headbanging or fistpumping. I call it "rad" because it needs a name and it rhymes with trad. Let's go.

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