Gremmy Awards

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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Gremmy Awards 2018: Guest Gremmys

Guest Gremmys

Storm Surge of Reverb is currently just one person and I have my own fickle tastes. There are lots of albums that I know others enjoy but didn't click with me, and there are albums I enjoyed but not quite enough to find their way into the Gremmys. So I call on my friends to spread it out a bit! The following people are very well-versed in today's instro music and I want to thank them for letting me put that to use.

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Gremmy Awards 2018: Best Way-Out Instro Record

Best Way-Out Instro Record of 2018

If not here then where? This is for the bands that are close enough to surf but hard to consider amongst the rest. The weirdos. The criteria here is especially loose, basically up to my own whims, but I think they all have value to surf music as a whole.

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Gremmy Awards 2018: Best Modern Instro Record

Gremmy Awards 2018: Best Modern Instro Record

Instro music today is a wonderful thing. Whereas the big surge of surf music rode a wave of retro novelty, this music now sits comfortably in obscurity with its creators playing for themselves and their peers, free to let creativity take them wherever it may. Many new surf bands are moored much closer to modern surf groups than vintage, and that's a great thing. We're building, spreading, getting weirder and more interesting with each year.

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Gremmy Awards 2018: Best Trad Surf Record

Gremmy Awards: Best Trad Surf Record 2018

Trad surf bands will happily fly the banner of being a surf band. Their albums are typically a simple selection of good, upbeat songs and are happy with that humble scope. It's not 100% cut-and-dry, and I'm bending my own rules on a few bands here, but these are records that make me happy to be a surf nut. And a side note: I'm including bands that might not strive for a California 60's sound but are otherwise retro-mimicking.

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