My summer playlist: Laurence Thomson, chief creative officer, McCann London
A view from Laurence Thomson

My summer playlist: Laurence Thomson, chief creative officer, McCann London

Yes, we know it's nearly October, but it really was hot back in July, wasn't it? Laurence Thomson draws summer to a close with the last of the playlists.

Summer 2018 was off the scale, weather-wise.

And music-wise – with seemingly every car and bedroom window in the capital jammed wide open for the duration, blasting out a cacophonous soundtrack into the sticky air.

With a view to keeping the summer vibes going (and a nod to having written this list for Campaign before the leaves starting drifting form the trees), my playlist is a mix of styles and genres, old and new, that have been coming to my ears, both intentionally and otherwise.

For a start, jungle is back, don’t you know.

There are loads of jungle nights springing up again. And there’s currently a retrospective exhibition of original jungle-era music and fashion to check out at Selfridges, curated by Saul Milton, of Chase & Status, and Wavey Garms.

Here are some standout jungle tracks that I’m starting to hear again after all these years… 

Fire by Prizna featuring Demoltion Man is a nailed-on classic. 

This Way by Skanna from 1994 is a more chilled, D 'n' B-esque take on jungle. You can hear the Balearic influences. And there’s even a Soul II Soul lyric sample in there, if my ears don’t deceive me. Nice tune. The drop gets me every time. 

Rinse Out by DJ Hype & Ganga Max from 1995 is heavy, bro. 

Of course, it’s not all been about reliving summers past. There’s plenty of fantastic new music pushing up the temperatures… even if the London weather didn’t get the memo.

Songstress Greentea Peng is a talented one to watch from south London, with a spaced-out, spiritual vibe that evokes the sultry urban summer nights perfectly.

Grime is young urban London’s signature sound and D Double E is part of its royalty. Check out his live video on Tim & Barry TV. In fact, check everything on Tim & Barry TV while you’re at it… 

If I had a pound for every time I’ve heard Jumpy by Ambush pumping out of a car stereo this summer, I’d have enough to cover the bar tab of our next creative department night out. Probably. A summer ’18 grime anthem for sure that could keep the heat on throughout autumn, too. 

Octavian is too broadly influenced to be considered a grime artist. But he’s been tearing it up this summer with Little

Another newcomer making a (made-up) name for himself is Jimothy Lacoste. What started out as a bit of ironic non-rapping quickly gained Jimothy a massive cult following on YouTube, then a record deal, a line of merch, a sold-out UK tour and a rammed-out Reading Festival appearance with 10,000 people screaming his name. Check this (and his other releases)… 

Idles by Danny Nedelko. Idles are one of hottest band on the festival circuit right now. Great, catchy raw energy. Love it. 

This track, Glue by Bicep, is just about the best club track of the past 12 months. A real rave culture throwback. You’ll probably recognise it when you hear the unmistakable drum kick and bassline…  

Another songstress making waves, this time from Birmingham, is Mahalia. This laid-back take on R&B, Sober, is infectious…

There are certain artists that no summer playlist can be without. Here are a few of my staples…

It just wouldn’t be summer without Roy Ayers on the turntable/tape deck/iPod now, would it? I’ve chosen Everybody for this list, but take your pick… 

And I doubt BBQ season would ever be quite the same without a bit of Chaka Khan serenading me as I serve up my burnt offerings… this is Ain't Nobody.

Nas – Life’s a Bitch. What a choooon this is. Easy, melancholic, with smooth vocals by Nas and AZ over a deep and lazy bassline. And then, just when you think it can’t get any cooler, it’s topped off by a sublime trumpet solo by jazz musician Olu Dara (who also just happens to be Nas’ dad). 

The Clash are as west London as the Notting Hill Carnival. We take our urban melting pot of music genres for granted these days. But until The Clash started combining dub reggae and punk rock, it was a pretty unheard-of musical approach. Admittedly, Ghetto Defendant is one of their less celebrated numbers, but it’s fantastic. Complete with monologue from Allen Ginsberg, no less. And Joe Strummer at his brilliant, plaintive best… 

The sound system culture that inspired The Clash is still going strong. Here are some dub classics to make any summer garden party shake.

Soldier and Police War – Jah Lion and Junior Murvin


Big Youth – Hell is for Heroes

Now, let’s cross our fingers for a resurgence of that Indian summer weather for us to enjoy this playlist to…

Laurence Thomson is chief creative officer at McCann London