Hot Summer Spins

by | Jun 14, 2021

It’s getting hot out there. And that means it’s high time for some even hotter tunes to serve as your perfect summer soundtrack. The music nerds, AKA experts at local AFK Records, who have been “cheerfully slinging vinyl and books in Chic’s Beach for over 10 years,” were kind enough to share a few thoughts from their “unlimited well of opinions” on their picks for ultimate summer jams.

AFK owner John Brittell and his “rock star management team” Emily Hagerty and Dez Watkins told us they were excited about new releases this summer from artists like Brockhampton, The Offspring, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Weezer, St. Vincent, Lord Huron, Lana Del Rey, Kero Kero Bonito, Mitski and LiSA. Given the trend in recent years of secret album drops in the middle of the night, they say you can also expect a few surprises from big names.

But, when asked to select all-time summer faves, the AFK staff opted for a theme approach.  The best summer jams for, say, picnicking in the park or strolling on the boardwalk or grooving at the club. Check out their choices and start picking your own perfect summertime playlist.

—Leona Baker

Learn more about AFK Books & Records at or on social media @afkbooksandrecords.

Splashing at the Beach…

The Beach Boys
Endless Summer (1974)

For the record, California girls got nothin’ on Coastal Virginia girls, but regardless this is the quintessential album for beach Frisbee, volleyball, surfing and suntan lotion.

Grooving at the Club…

Donna Summer
On the Radio—Greatest hits Volumes I & II (1979)

Voted the album most-likely to get your “hot stuff” to the dance floor and compel you to strike a pose and point your finger to the sky. Hey, who left the cake out in the rain?

Camping Among the Live Oaks…

Lucinda Williams
Car Wheels on a Gravel Road

While not quite the Louisiana bayous, hiking through Back Bay or the Great Dismal Swamp sets the stage well for this classic Americana album.  Watch out for ‘gators.

Picnicking in the Park…

Marvin Gaye
What’s Going On

You really can’t go wrong with enjoying Mother Nature while listening to one of the greatest voices of all time singing her praises and imploring us to protect her (and each other).

Cruising with the Top Down…

Purple Rain (1984)

On a Purple Rain summer road trip, baby YOU are the star.  Keep searching for that purple banana and never let the beautiful ones get you down. Sing on rock star!

Strolling the Boardwalk…

Lauryn Hill
The Miseducation of Lauryn
Hill (1998)

We double-dare you pop a boombox on your shoulder and stroll down the boardwalk without sparking a grinning, dancing flash mob. Can’t. Be. Done. Can’t.

Cookout with the Kin…

Hitsville USA: The Motown Singles Collection (1992)

104 (count ‘em) movin’ and groovin’ songs, guaranteed to make you ask for seconds of grandma’s pasta salad. Hey, Jimmy Mack, when you comin’ back? (With my hot dog.)

Ollies at the Halfpipe…

40oz. to Freedom (1992)

Ska-punk skatepark grooves? Duh. See the big sun on the cover? Packed with more than 20 tracks, originals and covers including the reggae-inspired anthem “Smoke Two Joints.”

Loungin’ on the Porch…

Bob Marley and the Wailers

While you may not be able to legally experience everything this classic Jamaican album has to offer until 2024, this jammin’ record will always satisfy your soul.

Stargazing in the Night…


After a day of sweltering fun, plant yourself in the cool grass and gaze at the cosmos backed by Sade’s sweltering soft soul and jazzy blues.

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Categories: Archive | Current Scene
Tags: music | summer

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