Jason Janik

Gremmy Awards 2020: Best Trad Surf Record

Best Trad Surf

These days garage bands with a little bit of reverb on their vocals are called surf bands. Thankfully, there are still plenty of excellent groups out there that know what surf really sounds like. The following bands aren't aiming to reinvent anything, they're all about making great instrumentals with that irresistable sound cooked up in the 1960s.

This was a good year for trad surf groups and an interesting one. Most of the groups below are sort of rising stars of the scene who made their initial appearance only in recent years, without much presence from the more legendary 90's era groups. Here are what I believe to be the standouts.

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Something a little different for Bandcamp Friday: Xmas music!

The Tourmaliners - Surfin' Christmas Carols

So there were e in November, but overall it wasn't a big month. Meanwhile I'm trying to scoop things up to get my 2020 non-surf picks and of course the 2020 Gremmy Awards ready to go, so let's do a lazy one.

One interesting trend about 2020 that I've noticed is that there's been a LOT of small one-offs. Halloween had a ton of singles ready for my show, and Christmas is shaping up to be the same way. Here's some 2020 releases to get you in the mood. I won't write about all of them because, let's face it, it can be hard to write about how bands play the same well-known songs and write about them in a way that sounds unique. OK I'll be more honest: I'm not in any rush to listen to Christmas music until week of, so I've barely listened to any of these. Also, for the sake of being thorough, I'll include a few non-bandcamp releases.

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Jason Janik - Summer Begins

Jason Janik - Summer Begins

Summer Begins is a tight package of 9 lighthearted trad surf originals with a sunny beach attitude. From as best I can tell this is his first surf record, but that's not evident from a listen as he switches deftly from guitar tone change to the next, always sounding good. All of these are fun and center around strong, memorable riffs.

While beach party stompers like "Summer Begins" and "Nonstop" are the meat of the album, there's a great venturing into exotica on "Bewitched", and it wraps up with a nice Sleepwalkin' closer, plainly named "Surf Ballad".

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