The Top 100 Surf Records of the 2010s: Introduction

Best of the 2010s

The 2010s were an interesting time for surf music. There were barely a handful of remnants from the great Pulp Fiction explosion, and the tiny boost that surf may have seen from a garage rock explosion was long gone. Surf is an obscure genre, and nobody is waiting for a lifeline to change that. But I think surf has thrived in the meantime. The maturation of digital distribution through the likes of bandcamp has allowed this music to truly thrive as an international movement, with new labels springing up, and with festivals such as SG101, Surfer Joe, Southern Surf Stompfest, Surf-o-Rama, Wild O, Hi-Tide Summer Holiday and many others giving bands from across the world a chance to be heard. Without saying too much, these events absolutely influenced the way people voted in the results.

How this list was made

I asked for emails with lists of favorite surf records from the 2010s. Simple as that. Some people gave me two or three, some gave me 10, some did two or three per year, one person gave me a full 100. I put those into a spreadsheet, listed everything that was mentioned, sorted out what was mentioned multiple times, and added a column with their rankings per email. These rankings were treated very loosely, because it's hard to gauge how important somebody's third favorite record of 2016 is vs somebody's 22nd overall record. To make things more interesting and helpful for people that want to discover bands, I'm only listing one album per band, however if a band had multiple albums that people liked, that was factored into their overall ranking. I did not submit my own list (there would be a lot of bands I would have included, and many I wouldn't), but I exerted my influence by letting my preferences speak as "tie-breakers" in this very fuzzy system. I was familiar with nearly all of the records listed (go me!), and the few that I wasn't aware of I made sure to bring myself up to speed.

250 unique albums were named, but most of them only had a single vote, so the bottom of this top 100 was very fuzzy. As a result, my thumb pressing on the scale is a lot more apparent on the bottom of the list, whereas the top 20 and especially top 10 were very clear-cut. Chances are there's some recency bias going on, but I think it came out OK!

How it will roll out

The quickest way to find out is to listen to the radio show. I'll play 10 every week on the next show after this post, starting with pick .

The playlist for that will be posted after the show. That's kind of your low-key way to preview in advance of web posts. I won't draw attention to it.

Tuesday-Saturday I'll post two on Instagram and Twitter every day.

Repeat! Except on Tuesday the second week, I'll make a post on the website with a chunk of 20.


Confused? Don't worry about it, the important thing is if you're watching out for the radio show, or following on social media, you'll see it.


These will become active links as articles are posted.


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