The Tourmaliners

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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The Tourmaliners - Tourmaline Dream

The Tourmaliners - Tourmaline Dream

The Tourmaliners (named after Tourmaline Beach) are billed as a 60’s throwback band, but I suspect this like likely designated for gigs around town. For us picky surf fans, I hear a throwback to an unexpected time: 2nd wave surf! If I were to listen without context, I’d pin them right square at 1990, particularly with the reverbed drum treatment, and flavor of the reverb altogether. In fact, if you want a good frame of reference I’d point you to The Pixies’ version of “Cecilia Ann” off their 1990 album Bossanova. It’s not entirely a matter of production though: “Adios Saladita” and “Stellular” evoke Mermen and “Green Pipe” has a light ska/reggae intro. The Tourmaliners absolutely don’t tunnel-vision their sound to the surf golden age, there’s clearly a lot of other influences at play, though don’t expect Man or Astro-Man to be found anywhere inside.

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