As far as I know, the Gremmys are the only surf/instro awards out there, which puts a lot of weight on my whim. Too much.
So I reached out to a few respectable folks that I know are on top of this music to try to bring a few more opinions into the mix.
Everybody has been given carte blanche as to how they want to present this. No "rad", "trad", "modern", "way-out" here.
Carlos Yela of Surf Music Madrid
Surf Music Madrid is a very active facebook page that highlights a lot of great instro releases -- not just in Spain either! They've definitely helped me find a few releases that slipped past me. I love that he's provided a special Spanish section.
I made two lists: World and Spanish.
I have also prepared another list of special mentions for different reasons.
And the other compilations.
And I've left out a lot of records but contain some very good tracks
1. Los Freneticos "El Sonido Que Perdura"
2. Les Agamemnonz "Au Revoir"
3. Os Brutus "Übersurf"
4. Arno de Cea & the Clockwork Wizards "Bug Terminal"
5. The Madeira "Ancient Winds"
6. The Phantom Dragsters "The Phantom Dragsters"
7. The Tomorrowmen "Futourism"
8. 13th Magic Skull "Brave Coast Will Recordings"
9. The Twang-o-Matics "Rock Havoc"
10. Baleia Mutante "Versões Macabras Para Crianças Malcriadas"
1. The Phantom Dragsters "The Phantom Dragsters" LP
2. 13th Magic Skull "Brave Coast Will Recordings" 10"
3. Camarada Nimoy "Alucinacions Acusticas" LP
4. Los Tsunamis "Calé-Fornia" 7" EP
5. Los Daytonas "En el Salvaje Oeste" 7"
6. Surfin' Beards "Surfin' Beards" CD EP
7. Supertubos "The Demeter" CD EP
8. Los Tiki Phantoms "Y El Misterio del Talisman" LP / CD
9. The Cavernarios and LOS GALERNA "Sangre en el Atlántico" split EP
10. Los Blue Marinos "Off the Lip" EP 7"
Satan's Pilgrims release Frankenstomp
Les Agamemnonz "De A à Z"
SPECIAL MENTION: by their love of surf music, for his work to promote, because I also like and just want to put 10, ...
Kingargoolas "Tales From the Instro Zone"
Stories from Shamehill "Same Same But Different" EP
Balu & die Surfgrammeln "Los Chicharrones del Surf"
Messer Chups "The Incredible Crocotiger" CD
Las Olas "Las Olas" LP
Surfer Joe "El Sonido Cojonudo De Surfer Joe" CD
Demon Vendetta "Vigilante Surf" CD
Nahuelaizers "En vivo en Pub Interview (Bariloche)" digital
The Tarantinos NYC release Surfin' the Silver Screen CD
Megatronadores "Wedwedn" EP
The Sine Waves "Into The Syntax Era with" CD
Surf Music Madrid
I know Brandonio from when he was maintaining the block Rock Is Dead R.I.P (no longer accessible) and I was working on my Rock & Roll Hoo-Ha What What (now abandoned). He's dropped off his top 5.
1.The Madeira -Acient Winds
3.Twang-O-Matics -Rock Havoc
4.Burt Rocket -Fiberglass Frenzy
5.Los Plantronics -Surfin' Times
As far as I know, Kevin's just a guy - no band, no radio show... but if you're looking into surf on facebook (especially in the "Instrumental Surf Music" group you'll find that he's really on the ball. He's drawn my attention to a number of releases that escaped my watchful eye.
What a year 2015 has been for surf music! We had new releases from such surf giants as The Madeira, The Aqua Velvets, and two, yes TWO albums from Messer Chups!! Here in landlocked Nebraska a surf scene has even grown featuring The Sub-Vectors and the Anonymous Henchman (releasing their debut in 2015). But I think the most gratifying of all for this guy from 2015 was the discovery of Bandcamp and all of the amazing bands from around the world that share their music there.
So without further ado here are my top 5 favorite surf albums from 2015:
The TarantinosNYC - Surfin' the Silver Screen
Not necessarily surf but more of a soul/r&b/reverb/tremolo/spaghetti/Quentin Tarantino soundtrack album with 6 originals….great listening. These guys have been around for a while and are based out of New York City hence the NYC attached at the end of the name (I believe that may also be due to alleviate any confusion with a British Tarantinos band). Lots of familiar tracks here from the 60’s and 70’s and a couple from Pulp Fiction as well as Django Unchained done as only TarantinosNYC do. I was pleasantly surprised when ‘Soul Bossa Nova’ flooded into my ears (not knowing the name of the song), I almost started dancing like Austin Powers in my cube at work.
The TomorrowMen – Futourism
I have always been a fan of The TomorrowMen since I first heard there EP ‘There Is No Now’ back in 2010. Still even wear my TM tee shirt on occasion! So you can imagine how excited I was to see a new release from the band and I, as everyone else, was definitely not disappointed. I’m a digital guy so I do not get CDs anymore so I did not get the Deluxe CD version but I understand it’s pretty cool with all of the postcards and artwork included. There’s not a bad track on this album! The arrangements of the tracks are much more intricate and involved than the usual surf tracks but that’s what makes these great. These guys are LEGIT musicians!
Surfer Joe - Live At Brighton
Being stuck in landlocked Nebraska right smack in the middle of the USA we do not get very many surf bands that come out this way outside the yearly visit by living legend Dick Dale so I when I see a live recording by a surf band/artist I jump on it. Surfer Joe has been involved heavily in the surf music scene throughout the world hence his title ‘The International Surf Music Ambassador’. I thoroughly enjoy all music he has created and this release is no exception. The recording quality is amazing and gives the listener the feel of being there as Joe and his band roll through a great set of current tracks as well as diving into past Surfer Joe projects. I would LOVE to see more bands/artists release live recordings.
The Sandblasters Anthology: Defenders of the Twang
This release came out in mid January so it’s easy to see why it fell off everyone’s radar. The Sandblasters hail from Texas but MAN can they play surf! They also have a live album AND DVD from a few years ago so of course I was all over that! ? They really did a great job putting this together it contains 78 tracks comprised of a number of demos, tracks from all of the compilations they appeared on, live tracks and of course tracks from each of their albums. All in all, probably the best purchase I made this year…I STRONGLY recommend this album for any surf fan.
and my top new surf album of 2015 is…
The Sub-Vectors - Music on the Bones
This is a local band Nebraska that came along at a time when I had a personal crisis in my life so for these two reasons they are very special to me. Of course they also make very good music as well! ‘Music On The Bones’ is their sophomore follow up to ‘Danger Close’ and is an exceptional step in the right direction. Having changed bass players between albums they found the right fit for their bombastic Man or Astroman influenced surf . Out of the ashes of this personel change came another new band (Anonymous Henchmen) that debuted their first release (Dial H for Henchmen) in 2015. ‘Music On The Bones’ is a double album that contains a studio album of new material and a live album of new and pre-released cuts from ‘Danger Close’. The production on these albums is excellent for a band from Omaha, Nebraska that’s not supposed to know anything about surf music. One listen to ‘Valium of the Kings’ and you can see why these fellas have got ‘it’. They are currently working on new songs for their next release.
2015 sure was a good year…can’t wait to see what 2016 brings for surf music!
My name is Kevin Kamphaus and I approve this message.
Thanks to everybody that helped out!