Talkhouse Playlist: Songs for End Times from Wax Idols

Psychedelic Turkish pop, visceral new wave and more for a tranquil post-human universe.

Feel like the world is ending around you? Oakland-based four-piece Wax Idols put together this playlist just for you with eclectic picks from each member of the band. Give it a listen, make sure to check out their new album American Tragic, and catch the band on tour in late March and April.
–Dave Lucas, Talkhouse Marketing Manager

It feels like the world is ending lately, so here are some songs we’d like to take with us into the ether…or use to help us survive the apocalypse:

Suzanne Ciani – “The Second Wave: Sirens”
Ciani’s compositions melt fear and anxiety away completely. This track especially embodies how I imagine the tranquil post human universe. -Peter

Syd Barrett – “Late Night”
The way Barrett disregards the concept of instruments playing together is psychedelic and fantastic. Any instrument or voice could start at any time and at any tempo in this one and it would still work. How does he do that? -Peter

Thomas Dolby – “Radio Silence”
Dolby’s hit song “She Blinded Me with Science” is terrible. It’s the only flaw on the album The Golden Age of Wireless. “Radio Silence,” on the other hand, takes the new wave thing and makes it sound new again. Also the vocal harmony coming out of the bridge is a mildly terrifying, which is pretty all right with me. -Peter

Perfume – “Miracle Worker”
This rules. Don’t be scared of the saccharine pop music from the East. Just put on Perfume and cover up all your bad feelings with good feelings. -Peter

Julian Casablancas – “11th Dimension”
One of the best damn songs written in the last ten years, hands down. It never gets old (I honestly listen to it almost every day) and the lyrics are a straight-up sociopolitical manifesto about the search for compassion and understanding in the face of a twisted, vampiric world that seems to want nothing more than to steal your soul and wage war.  -Hether

The Cleaners from Venus – “The Jangling Man”
This song embodies a lot of the feelings I have right now about the state of politics and the world, the poverty and hopelessness I see all around me… on the news and sometimes within my own life. It was written in England during Margaret Thatcher’s reign and Martin Newell (the man behind the curtain) is one of the best lyricists I’ve ever come across. His ability to craft songs that are equally melancholy and hopeful is a rare quality. Throw this on and sit with the absurdity of the world. -Hether

Nina Simone – “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood”
I can hardly imagine what it must’ve been like for Miss Simone to exist as herself in her body, especially considering the obstacles of her time and the fact that she was a true visionary in an industry that hardly let women in at all… let alone an intensely outspoken, politically minded black woman. What I relate to in this song is her desperation to be viewed with a fair lens: as the emotionally complex, highly creative and driven woman that she was, a woman who struggled with mental illness (she was bipolar) and did her best to be aware and loving toward others without having to compromise herself, her vision, her convictions. Very empowering. -Hether

Selda Bagcan – “İnce İnce Bir Kar Yağar”
Just gonna post the lyrics translated from Turkish to English and let this beast of a song speak for itself:

Flaked snow falls upon the poor
Why the faith is not taking the poor’s word
We’ve starved to death, come now sir please

Some are member of the parliament, some are governors, it’s forbidden for us to get paid
I can’t stand your fake pose anymore
We’re doomed, education to us, roads to us, life to us,
Come now sir, please, please, please, please, please please…

Why is it so hard to build new roads,
To build schools, to restore life
please, please, please, please please…
Why isn’t Urfa like your Istanbul?
Poor Maraş, dry Urfa, what about Diyarbakır?
We’re doomed, we’re dead, a drop of water
Come now sir, please…

We’re dead, send a letter, come now sir,
please, please, pleas, please, please please…
Why is it so hard to give lands,
To love, to know oneself
please, please, please, please please…

We weren’t born as lords, my friend,
Let’s live together, don’t think I’m upset with you,
I’m doomed, don’t be seperated, come now, brother,
please, please, please, please, please please…

Why is it so hard to give lands,
To pay debts, to know oneself,
please, please, please brother please…

Scott Walker – “My Death”
Yes, this is a cover… and what I think is the best version of this song (sorry, David and Jacques). I feel like there is no better way to herald the apocalypse than listening to a song about coming to terms with and reflecting on the finality of death. There’s something so simple, almost biblical in the cadence as Scott repeats “my death” over and over again. -Rachel

Rowland S. Howard – “The Golden Age of Bloodshed”
I want my post-apocalyptic world to be the physical incarnation of this song. Raw, jarring and bleak… infused with a touch of humor. -Rachel

The High – “So I Can See”
So whenever the earth finally decides to reject humanity, I feel like I’m the type of person that will retire to her cave, chill and make no plan of action… be depressed and acquiesce. The almost dissonant bass line dancing around this otherwise dreamy tune matches the lyrical theme of isolation. -Rachel

The Cure – “One Hundred Years”
It truly doesn’t matter if we all die! This song is so visceral, so indescribably sick. -Rachel

The Sound – “Longest Days”
This has been my number-one commute-to-my-soul-crushing-job jam for years. Something about the sass in the bass line and the enduring sympathetic misery in the vocals and the lyrics are all I need to keep going, ever. -Marisa

Robert Palmer – “Hyperactive”
We all know Robert Palmer can write a catchy tune about girls, but this one is my sentimental favorite. “She puts her makeup on at 6 a.m./She goes to work, then gets home and puts it on again.” If that’s not a survival lyric, I don’t know what is. -Marisa

The Midnight Oil – “The Dead Heart”
Midnight Oil is one of my favorite Australian bands, and that’s really saying something. Nothing like a confrontational, chart-topping single about the non-recognition of indigenous people in first world countries to remind me that we have always and will always need music as a collective consciousness. -Marisa

Kylie Minogue – “Can’t Get You out of My Head”
I just can’t get u out of my head, can your lovin’ distract me from my existential dread? In all seriousness, no human is spared the illusion that romantic love can save us from The Bad Feelings. And for me, no one has ever stated this with more joie de vivre than her majesty Kylie Minogue. -Marisa