Our playlist this issue starts with a story about a library – “whispering through the dusty aisles,” all magic and possibility. We continue by celebrating awe in Prototyperaptor’s dance anthem, via dedications to kindness from HAERTS and Natalie Merchant, and the burning fires of feeling in the form of love songs from Maggie Rogers and School of Seven Bells.
Grace Acladna’s recent London takes fire as a great leveller; while Sufjan Steven’s Prairie Fire That Wanders About is an epic celebration of the city of Peoria, Illinois. In amongst the foot-tappers we praise fortune tellers, stories and the importance of play, rounding off with Embers, Tracey Chattaway’s glowing lullaby.
- Library Magic – The Head and the Heart
- Awe – Prototyperaptor
- New Compassion – HAERTS
- Kind & Generous – Natalie Merchant
- Burning – Maggie Rogers
- Ablaze – School of Seven Bells
- Fortune Teller – Benny Spellman
- Here’s Where the Story Ends – The Sundays
- London – Grace Acladna
- Stories – Bill Withers
- Prairie Fire That Wanders About – Sufjan Stevens
- Come Out and Play – Billie Eilish
- Embers – Tracey Chattaway
The stories behind the music
Library Magic – The Head and the Heart
This Seattle-based outfit has been going strong since 2009 producing catchy and creative Americana, with irresistible pop and folk sensibilities. 2016’s Library Magic is taken from the band’s third album Signs of Light, and features beautiful harmonies that weave around a gorgeous and gentle melody.
Ablaze – School of Seven Bells
Written in tribute to ex-member Benjamin Curtis, who passed away in 2013, Ablaze is taken from the band’s fourth and final album, SVIIB, which singer Alejandra Deheza had started to write with Curtis. This powerful pop song celebrates the purity and strength of their friendship.
Kind & Generous – Natalie Merchant
With a straightforward message of gratitude, Natalie Merchant’s tender and affecting song of 1998 was taken from her highly acclaimed second solo album Ophelia. Merchant produced the LP herself, recording it at her home studio in New York.