11 Nice Indie Songs for Your Summer BBQ Party

Barbecues can easily be deemed incomplete without some nice music playing in the background. And no, we’re not talking hip-hop, hard rock or some other high-tempo genres. 

Indie is just about the most perfect genre that you can integrate into your summer barbecue party. And this article concerns itself with listing out 11 nice indie songs that should definitely be part of your playlist. These are songs that remain evergreen and would be appreciated by various folks even if they’ve got diverse tastes. 

With these nice indie tunes, you can definitely not go wrong and at the end of the barbecue, you might make new indie fans out of your guests. But first, let’s have a brief introduction into the genre that is Indie Music. 

What You Should Know About Indie Music

Most people claim that indie music saw a peaking around the mid-2000s and they just might be right. What with incredible albums such as Merriweather Post Pavilion by Animal Collectives, Grizzly Bears brilliant run of albums, Person Pitch by Panda Bear, as well as In Rainbows by Radiohead. But fellas would argue that while these might have been the bomb in the early 2000s, there is new stuff to consider. 

Given the continuous evolution of music and the fact that various genres are continually evolving, Indie hasn’t been left out. In the early 2010s, there were some new albums that bore very close similarity to what had been before. And then in recent times, it has been hard to keep track with the new albums blurring the line between indie and pop. 

For the new generation, this is a wonderful innovation and it has especially allowed for expanded listening. Full-blooded indie fans might turn up their nose at the new content churning out, however, music has evolved and so much beautiful music has come out within these years. 

This is what makes it so difficult to create a list such as this. Since we are limiting our pick of songs to 11, it feels like we are leaving so many others out. But it is what it is and without any more long talk, we shall proceed to 11 nice songs from this decade for your barbecue party. 

The Best Indie Songs for Your Barbecue Party 

Bon Iver – Holocene

As with Indie singers, Bon Iver makes this one about his home state of Wisconsin Holocene, speaking about how small we become in comparison to the beauty of the world that surrounds us. The chorus was inspired by a Christmas night that he spent with his brother during an ice storm with ice forming on trees and the reflection of the street lights lit up the outside. Justin Vernon said, “he could see for miles.” In this very moment, he came to the realization that maybe people were not as insignificant as he earlier thought. Maybe there was a bigger picture after all. And then taking his experiences with his loved ones in the city and okay to having too little too much fun in Milwaukee, and then this evergreen tune was birthed. This is a tune that easily stands out in an illustrious catalog that has moved away from small beginnings, however, Vernon would forever be grounded by the home and people he holds so dear and Holocene would forever be theirs. 

Beach House – 10 Mile Stereo

This song has met critical acclaim as one of the best songs of 2010 and it has indeed stood the test of time with Beach House amassing more and more fans using the blueprint laid out by the song and album. “The heart is a stone and it is a stone that we throw.” This is the tune that Victoria Legrand sings over the lilting guitar of Alex Scally on 10 Mile Stereo which serves as the emotional center of the album that thrust the band into limelight, Teen Dream. 

It builds a whirlpool of emotions from the very idea that as we put out our hearts to be had by all, it is not much different from a fragile artist who puts their feelings into a song that would be put under the microscope by listeners. The brilliance of the song is the concept of the 10-mile stereo. This is a song that would be carried by sound waves directly into the future. This upstanding tune that echoes over time with Scally’s ringing guitar echoing Legrand’s words, “Loves like a pantheon, it carries on forever.”

Arcade Fire – Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)

Sprawl II is the climax track to what remains one of the best albums of the 2010s by Arcade Fire, and it feels like the perfect climax to a trilogy of albums that took over indie charts and further propelled the gospel of indie. It 

This dance track basically gives you light at the end of the tunnel after being stuck in the darkness for a while. Regine Chassagne sings about the 1984 styled suburb that the band cannot just seem to escape hard as they try, and one that they have been in since Funeral. 

However, it is pretty different this time. One can almost sense the hopeful feeling that reverberates in the song almost as if they have finally broken the chains that held them down. And of course, it became obvious as their style changed and lyrics talked about something else. 

This remains the climax to one of the most incredible run of albums for a band to start their career with. 

M83 – Midnight City

If you say that M83’s song “Midnight City” brought back the 80’s, you may not be wrong. Thanks to its synth-driven new wave style, M83 brought back the 80’s and made it seem super cool. Now it’s hard to find an indie track that doesn’t compose a synth line or the main stage at any festival that the French band doesn’t perform whenever they’re on tour. Thanks to the sax solo that dominated the end of the track, featuring sax on songs has been made cool again. It’s hard to not love this song and the band itself. 

Lana Del Rey – Video Games

Lana Del Rey’s breakout single “Video Game” is centered around an angelic movie styled orchestra and it served to announce the singer to the world. The modern theme coupled with the old-timey vocals, Lana started out as an indie goddess and something of a cult pop star. While she has evolved as an artist and evolved more into the pop style, it is hard for indie fans to take away the soft spot that she created in our hearts as a result of “Video Games.” She has become an iconic musician in this generation but still has her roots in indie. 

Courtney Barnett – Avant Gardener

Courtney Barnett is no doubt one of the most brilliant lyricists and storytellers and this is evident in this story about her struggle with breathing. She is cut out of the same fabric as notable names like Dylan and Cohen. On Avant Gardener, Barnett takes her talk-singing storytelling to another level and it is no surprise therefore that this served as her breakout single. Ranging from her pop culture reference with her Pulp Fiction line to the clear brilliance in her lyrics, Barnett has only gone further up from “Gardner” and made herself into one of the biggest indie acts. 

The National – Bloodbuzz Ohio

If you’re from Ohio, then this song would drive you into a patriotic spirit. Bloodbuzz Ohio, which is the first single from their fifth album, High Violet is an anthem that has attained perfection over the years. It is built on a fast turning drum beat and features lead singer Matt Berninger’s signature cryptic words and deep croon and easily ranks as one of the best musical compositions that have come from this band. It is therefore not surprising that the band has caught the attention of critics and they still have a massive audience even after ten years in the game. They’re not relenting and it almost seems that every year, there’s a new critically acclaimed The National album. 

Big Thief – Mary

This musical ballad comprises the best vocals from Adrianne Lenker. It stands at the emotional center of Capacity, the breakthrough record from Big Thief. This song is simple and centered around beautiful piano sound while being highlighted by a sweet organ. Lenker has a way with words and practically weaves magic here.  

The storytelling isn’t in any way overwhelmed by the music around and this is why her solo work is so good. Lenker easily flies high as a musician and songwriter and the combination with the band only further accentuates the ability. This combination of talent and ability is why this band is definitely going to be around for a while. 

Arctic Monkeys – Do I Wanna Know

Alex Turner has always been known for his way with words. Transforming a phrase into clever little lines over punk rock riffs/garage rock. However, AM was where the band morphed from young indie rockers into a fully formed arena rock band. The riffs all through AM remind you of guitar legends from way back and the song’s subject matter, as well as the lyrics, are just as clever always. This is particularly evident on the hit single “Do I Wanna Know,” where all the points mentioned come together to make one cool song. It is a breakup song about some guy who just wants his ex back but he seems to crave for her more late at night. This is where this song exhibits the pounding drums and its blues riff, with the perfect combination of lyricism and swagger. This is truly a brilliant song. 

Radiohead – True Love Waits

To start with, Moon Shaped Pool is just about the most depressing album in all of Radiohead’s illustrious career. It is one that is filled with loss and dread. The band has forever been warning that if we do not do better, we would lose our planet as well as the beauty that we have always taken for granted. 

Moving on to Pool, Radiohead has seemingly given up on sounding the warning over and over again and is settling into the reality of the fact that all that they warned about are gradually coming true and hope is pretty much fading. Coming to this reality may also have been helped along by Thom Yorke’s breakup of his long-term partnership with the mother of his children and her death from cancer just six months after. 

Getting close to “True Love Waits,” this is a song that has been long coming and gives us a glimmer of hope. It can be interpreted as the fact that love conquers all or maybe it is advisable to hold your loved clones close and let them know how much you care about them whenever you can. Nobody knows what tomorrow holds after all. 

Spoon – Inside Out

Over the years, Spoon has become indie veterans and this has brought a unique sense of maturity to them. While this is not to claim that they weren’t previously mature, however, there is a maturity that comes with years of making music. New tunes from Spoon have a form of sleekness with the sound centered on a looped rhythm that is perfectly set up for an angelic harp solo in place of a guitar solo. This is something that Spoon would have never done in their early days. This in addition to lyrics that do not talk about being dragged into bullshit, and that maturity is there for all to see. 

The Bottomline 

This list features some of the best indie songs of the decade as well as some that remind us of what the ’80s were like. However, you can be certain that at the end of the day, these are beautiful songs that you can play at your summer bbq party and they would be thoroughly enjoyed.