Ben Ruby

Eight Artist-Curated Playlists to Ease Your Summer Soundtrack Woes

Whether you're cracking open a cold one or planning a road-trip, we've got you covered.

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Jun 7 2017, 5:39pm

Ben Ruby

In today's music streaming wars, there's been a noticeable recent shift in focus by major players like Apple Music and Spotify to curation. These companies have dedicated teams whose sole job is building perfect collections of music to fit listeners' every mood and activity. This trend has lead to these services offering sprawling playlists selected by boldface names. Now more than ever, it's easier for fans to find out what songs their favourite reclusive R&B star or festival-trotting DJ have on repeat.

We've already asked some of our favourite acts to tell us their song of the summer picks, but we also know you sometimes need something longer for your cottage trips and BBQ gatherings. To that end, we've rounded up eight of our favourite artist playlists, many of which are 24 hours or longer.

Whether you're grilling some backyard burgers or road-tripping down the West Coast, here's THUMP's recommendations for the essential soundtracks.


Who: Antwon
The Playlist: A SUMMER COOKOUT
Summertime Activity: Cracking a cold one open with the boys
Sample Songs: DJ Quik's "Pitch In On a Party" Brandy's "Sittin' Up In My Room," The Cranberries' "I Can't Be With You"
Why: While he's best known for penning some of the raunchiest rhymes to ever come out of California, San Jose rapper Antwon's collaborations with THUMP favourites like Crookers, Pictureplane, and Suicideyear are more than enough to qualify him for inclusion on this list. Heavy on Bay Area heroes including E-40, Keak Da Sneak, and Too $hort—not to mention plenty of buttery smooth 90s R&B—this playlist is perfect for tipping back a frosty beverage with the hombres.

Who: Caribou
The Playlist: The Longest Mixtape: 1000 Songs For You
Summertime Activity: Making walks to summer school classes more bearable
Sample Songs: Amerie's "1 Thing," NY House'n Authority's "Apt 2A," Tlahoun Gessesse's "Aykedashem Lebe"
Why: There's a new Daphni album on the way, but in the meantime, this YouTube "mixtape" (an incomplete version is also on Spotify) should tide fans over and provide a glimpse into the mind of Dan Snaith. Best enjoyed on shuffle, it's the equivalent of a History of Popular Music 101 course, albeit one you'll actually enjoy.

Who: Danny L Harle
The Playlist: HUGE PLAYLIST
Summertime Activity: Buying a condo in a popular neighborhood with a killer pool
Sample Songs: NSYNC's "Tell Me, Tell Me...Baby, Basshunter's "Bass Creator," Tinashe's "2 On" Why: True to PC Music's love of treacly pop of all stripes, the London producer has rounded up some of his favourite Top 40 hits, cheesy-but-catchy Eurodance, and more trolling left-field picks (Slayer's "Reign in Blood," anyone?) in one place.

Who: DJDS
The Playlist: BIG WAVE MORE FIRE
Summertime Activity: Road-tripping down the West Coast and hitting the Pacific Ocean surf
Sample Songs: Outkast's "Red Velvet," Arthur Russell's "That's Us/Wild Combination," Stevie Wonder's "Maybe Your Baby"
Why: Described by Kanye West's favourite LA duo as a "soundtrack to a TV show that doesn't exist," Jerome LOL and Samo Sound Boy's playlist is a sprawling but well-curated selection of trending rap, dancehall heaters, dusty gospel, and more. I stumbled upon this one recently while on an eight-hour Greyhound ride through the heartland of British Columbia, and can attest there's no better setting for appreciating Lana Del Rey's "Love."

Who: Four Tet
The Playlist: Trump's banned countries playlist
Summertime Activity: Fighting the power while dancing
Sample Songs: Martik's "Cheshmaye Tou," Naji Barakat's "Mutawal," Omar Souleyman's "Wenu Wenu"
Why: We wrote about this one when it first came out in January, but we're now half a year into Donald Trump's presidency, and the English electronic veteran's playlist (which was inspired by Syrian musician Omar Souleyman) still feels every bit as timely.

Who: GODMODE
The Playlist: GODMODE: WEEKLY
Summertime Activity: Impressing your music know-it-all friend
Sample Songs: Bjarki's "I Wanna Go Bang (Original Mix)," Forest Swords' "Panic," Young Dolph's "100 Shots"
Why: No matter where you live, you've probably got at least one friend who constantly rubs their so-called "superior" music taste in your face, and even the hot weather won't shut them up. Lucky for you, GODMODE founder and producer Nick Sylvester has your rebuttal covered, with a weekly updated collection of everything from ice-veined hip-hop to shimmering drone. There's also plenty of tracks by affiliates of the New York label including Bari, Well Being, and Yaeji, which you can familiarize yourself with before they blow up. Take that, Chad.

Who: Jamie xx
The Playlist: Played by Jamie xx
Summertime Activity: Experiencing your favourite outdoor music festival in your living room without the $12 beers or long washroom lineups
Sample Songs: The Beach Boys' "God Only Knows," Joy Orbison's "Hyph Mngo," The Durutti Column's "Otis"
Why: While the verdict is out on whether this playlist was actually made by Jamie Smith, or one of The xx's (presumably many) interns, it's secondary to the fact this one is chock-full of crowd pleasers and deep cuts alike. Ideal for those of you who want to dance to one of the producer's DJ sets without being surrounded by drunk, sweaty strangers.

Who: Kornél Kovács
The Playlist: my stick
Summertime Activity: Pre-gaming before the function
Sample Songs: Baba Stiltz' "Ja Rule," DJ Koze's "Don't Feed the Cat," Saint Etienne's "Only Love Can Break Your Heart (Masters At Work Dub)"
Why: This one is pretty self-explanatory—it's the contents of the Swedish producer's USB. If you're familiar with the Studio Barnhus co-founder's work (his debut album was one of THUMP's favourite records of last year), then you know the drill—expect Balearic disco, lo-fi house, and techno that will get the blood pumping.

Max Mertens is on Twitter.