This is the category for bands that skirt the edge of what would be considered surf, either intentionally or by chance. This was another category this year where there was an abundance of good stuff, moreso than usual. Could it be that surf groups are trending in a more adventurous direction? Or maybe instrumental groups are gaining in popularity. I think it's both! Anyway, here's my pick of standouts.
Full steam ahead, this category is for groups that prioritze noise, speed, and power in their instrumental music. They often take influence from punk groups, they're often simple and lo-fi, and in spirit sometimes I think they're closer to what teens in the 60's wanted to do.
This category is for surf groups that don't feel like they need to closely imitate the sounds of yesteryear, who carve out their own sound and identity. I don't know if I've ever crammed this category with so many records as this year -- and this is after several difficult cuts. Maybe I need to be more ruthless, or maybe there was just so much to love. I like to think it's the latter. Here are what I consider to be the cream of the crop for 2020.
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