Staff Picks: Best Music For A BBQ

Spring has sprung! A white fence under a blue sky full of flowers, a firefighter waving at us from his fire truck, kids crossing a sunny street, a man having a heart attack while he waters his garden, beetles fighting violently on the grass. No wait, that’s not even spring stuff anymore, that’s just a description of Blue Velvet‘s opening scene.

Either way, you get it: If you’re reading this, that means you made it through another dark, cold, cruel winter. Well, unless you’re reading this from a tropical island. We don’t know if we have any sort of problem by instantly thinking about barbecues as soon as spring rises in the horizon. But here we are, already planning on those get-togethers with friends and family where our two passions blend together in the most amazing combo: great music and great food.

To celebrate the season of new beginnings, we asked our staff for the perfect record to light up the mood (or to set the dance floor on fire) at a barbecue. Thank us later, when all your guests are delighted by your solid picks.

Best Music For A BBQ

Allah-Las Allah-Las album cover

Allah-Las – Allah-Las

Surf rock isn’t just for driving to the beach with a board strapped to the hood of your car. It’s also great for hanging in the yard with some of your spring buds. This album is a psychedelic-tinged delight that’s unlikely to disappoint anyone in your diverse crowd of friends. It’s almost as if this album can summon warmer weather and sunshine. Laid-back and a total breeze, the Allah-Las self-titled debut is sure to be a low-key hit at your next BBQ.

Favorite Track: Catamaran

– Steven

Harry Case In A Mood album cover

Harry Case – In A Mood

Super Laid back funky easy listening feel-good jams! You can activity listen to it or tune out when in a conversation. Best listened to when the sun is setting, when you’re a little bit tipsy and you’re getting those cool spring evening chills while still feeling a bit full and satisfied from that last burger you ate 40mins ago.

Favorite Track: Carry Me Home

– Romeo

Cariño Movidas album cover

Cariño – Movidas

Spring to me is all about those good vibes that are floating in the air right after the cold winter. Whenever I do a BBQ in my backyard, I try to set the right mood with music (I’m Spanish, food always does the rest). Since spring is all about being fresh, this year I’ll be trying the debut record of these Darlings I can’t stop listening to 24/7. Beautiful indie pop songs with punch and oh so fresh. Cariño is everything I need to make everyone dance right after a couple of Bloody Marys before sunset.

Favorite Track: Nada Sigue Igual

– Javi

Kenny Burrell Moon And Sand album cover

Kenny Burrell – Moon And Sand

I think what I love about spring is the fact that the air is still crispy; it’s not cold, but it’s not warm either. As the French would say, “le fond de l’air est frais”, and it’s exactly the feeling that I get with Moon And Sand. It’s an album for outside, when you’re strolling around the city with a spring in your step (see what I did there?).
It has a clear Latin American vibe so it swings like the trees with the spring breeze, but it’s not too distracting if you just want it playing in your backyard while you’re just enjoying a sunny day outside with a drink, and something to eat to pretend that the whole point of the BBQ wasn’t just to make you feel better about drinking in the middle of the day.

Favorite Track: Blue Bossa

– Nathanaël

The Russian Futurists Let

The Russian Futurists – Let’s Get Ready To Crumble

I spend a significant portion of my winters listening to dub techno. I find the murky aesthetic fits the cold climate really well. But when spring finally comes around I need something to cut through that hazy, dubbed-out hibernation and Let’s Get Ready To Crumble by The Russian Futurists fits that need perfectly. Anytime I’ve ever played this album at a gathering someone always asks about it. The songs are super catchy and are guaranteed to put a “spring” in your step! Plus, you can pick up a copy in the Marketplace right now for dirt cheap!

Favorite Track: The Matador’s Theme

– Matt Salcido

Washed Out Life of leisure album cover

Washed Out – Life of leisure

I guess the title of this chillwave masterpiece says it all! And guess what; chillwave makes me want to chill out. This is the perfect soundtrack for a midsummer BBQ with friends; it actually reminds me of a BBQ party I threw at my parent’s 10 years ago with a couple of close friends which ended up as a massive bash. Luckily my parents never found out… but my sister did catch me red-handed!

Favorite Track: Feel it all around

– Coumba

The Specials The Specials album cover

The Specials – The Specials

I seem to have a talent for picking cloudy grey days for throwing a party, so the music needs to add a few degrees and some imaginary sunshine. That’s exactly what this album by The Specials does, whether you prefer to sit and chill out, dance and/or sing along. Getting excited now thinking of the coming summer!

Favorite Track: A Message To You Rudy

– Lilian


D’Angelo – Voodoo

Any excuse to play this album. Also, Chicken Grease seems particularly appropriate. I recently realised that “One Mo’ Gin” means “One More Again” and not “another gin and tonic”, but I think I prefer my interpretation.

Favorite Track: Left & Right

– Louis

STRFKR Reptilians album cover

STRFKR – Reptilians

I feel like I’m a pretty bad DJ at parties. Bring a few friends around to my house, sure, I’ve got the soundtrack covered for the evening. But 10 or more people? I don’t think I’m the right one to get the tunes going. But hey man, this is my hypothetical BBQ party, and I can play what I want! Few albums remind me of sunshine and summer more than Reptilians. From the first few notes of the album, I immediately can feel the sun beaming down, sunglasses and shorts on, and sure, the smell of backyard grills. Is it a party album from front to back? Not really. But if we ever end up at a BBQ together and this album gets put on, I’ll be the guy with a burger in hand, half mumbling the lyrics, grooving along to every song.

Favorite Track: Julius

– David

Toadies Rubberneck album cover

Toadies – Rubberneck

The dog days of summer are always a time for parties, get-togethers, and BBQs. Lounging around the yard or down by the river, or wherever you make your festivities happen, you need a soundtrack to riot time that can carry the party to the finish. That album is Toadies’ Rubberneck – celebrating 25 years this summer. With the killer ’90s alt anthem ‘Possum Kingdom’, this album carries a great grunge groove through to ‘I Burn’ to close out your campfire. The Toadies Texas roots shine through and Texas loves it BBQs.

Favorite Track: Tyler

– Aub

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