Review: "BBQ Trax" via Dirtybird

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Dirtybird records is going back to its roots, both conceptually and musically, with the release of “BBQ Trax.” One of the most forward-thinking and well respected American dance labels, the dons Barclay Crenshaw (aka Claude VonStroke), brothers Christian and Justin Martin and Worthy began the outdoor party that ultimately spawned the label in 2003. Since then, their unique ghetto-booty-tech-house sound has captivated crowds around the world, garnered tours, full albums, even an imprint (deep techno charity label, Mothership, where all proceeds go to a music school for kids in Detroit).

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“BBQ Trax” is a fresh 4-track EP with work from Nick Monaco, Justin Jay, A1 Bassline and a collaboration between Shadow Child and James Talk. None of the artists featured are dirtybird virgins; everyone has worked with the label prior. While there are perhaps no peak-time bombs on this sampler, that would be missing the point. When dirtybird says 'BBQ Trax, they mean quite literally tracks that would be perfect for any self-respecting summer day: sunshine, steak sauce, pool vibes galore.

Justin Jay's “Femme Fatale” uses a fun vocal chant and gently swirling builds to make the decent into trademark booty bass all the more powerful. Nick Monaco's drum-n-bass referencing “Don't Hate, Create!” has a similarly lush sound, with more breakbeat rhythms and old-school house sound—a really useful tool from transitioning to straight up 4/4 beats to something a little more complicated. A1 Bassline keeps it simple, but gets low with his “Daft” take on modern deep house. “Comb Over,” by Shadow Child and James Talk, is perhaps the highest energy track of the four, easily taking the BBQ into the club.

The dirtybirds are growing up, and with their new maturity seems to come a reprieve from the need to constantly release bangers. These BBQ Trax will definitely come in handy Labor Day weekend and the unanimous decision of these tracks not to hop on any bandwagons will keep them playable for years to come.