Oh no. I got distracted. It's April and I haven't finished the Gremmy Awards. Most of this was actually written over a month ago, so I'm going to go ahead and make it happen. Here's a bunch of odds & ends, things that I think were noteworthy about 2021.
Best thing to happen to surf music
It's live again
Despite COVID not quite going away, bands resumed playing live shows, and a few festivals even managed to happen. And Daikaiju is touring again -- the fact that they ever stopped was disturbing. I don't think I have to elaborate on how great this is. If you're comfortable enough to go see things, go see surf music. I hope that I can see some of you out there.
Best Surf Community Effort
Pi Records interviews
Label of the Year
I gotta say I did not feel like there a clear winner this year. Most of the established surf labels that tend to put out high-quality attention-getting releases did indeed put out high-quality attention-getting releases, and rather than choose between them, I feel like throwing it to a lesser-recognized entity that's doing big stuff. In the midst of a crushing vinyl pressing shortage, Otitis Media feels like they're here to make dreams happen. They're giving vinyl releases to smaller groups, often with different sounds, they're putting out tapes and CDs, but they also managed to snag a few pretty high-profile releases too like The Routes and Arno de Cea. It's not all surf, but I think Noah's punk leanings help find a home for surf bands that don't quite fit in with some other other labels. I've just been so impressed this year at how quickly and steadily they've been cranking things out.
Worst Album Art
Orchestra Pit's Reverberation
Atomic Drag - s/t EP