With so much uncertainty in the world, it’s no wonder people seek out escapism. It’s this longing for an alternate reality that also drives the Baltimore band, Tomato Flower. The songs on their debut EP Gold Arc imagine a different world, or a “sustainable paradise” as drummer Mike Alfieri puts it. Stylistically, their hazy experimental pop conjures up comparisons to bands like Crumb or Broadcast. For this playlist, the band put together a soundtrack to their own utopia. Check it out, below. Gold Arc is due out February 11.
—Keenan Kush, Talkhouse Director of Operations
Chic — “At Last I Am Free”
Pivoting between major and minor, loss and liberation — mourning a world that has passed and looking clear-eyed to the future.
Red Sea — “East & West”
An inquiry into the limits of selfhood and the human being itself with a look toward what lies beyond. A fragmented, futuristic digital bossa straining the limits of pop songwriting.
The Supremes — “Up the Ladder to the Roof”
Yearning for transcendence and endless love inside a lush pop song.
Horse Lords — “Fanfare for Effective Freedom”
Radical political orientation coupled with complex, insistent grooves. Pointing rock music toward something beyond itself.
Denise Darlington — “War No Right”
A call for peace that imagines collectivity and utopian futurity in a bright, compact reggae single.
John Cage — “In a Landscape”
An expanse of utopian harmony, floating freely toward another world.
The Coup — “Kill My Landlord”
Reflections on history and material reality in an urgent call to transform the world.
Sham — “Holy Death”
Celebrating the fragility and beauty of life and the expanse of the other in a swooning bed of nylon guitars.
Judee Sill — “The Phoenix”
Piousness transforms back and forth from doubt — hopeful vectors that the devil’s forces somehow lose traction.
The Orb — “Little Fluffy Clouds (Cumulo Nimbus Mix)”
Pal Joey remixes The Orb to lay out a lush and heavenly house cloudscape.
Chris Weisman & Greg Davis — “We Won’t Survive”
A transcendent pop song lost somewhere in the forest amid birdsong. Collapsing worldly dualities, life and death itself, into a pastoral dream.