Fran drops an elegant new single about loneliness and estrangement

The Reader has praised Maria Jacobson, leader of local indie-rock project Fran, for her “taut, serene singing” and for her well-written songs, which are “sharpened by a pristine elegance even in their noisiest moments.” In the years since Fran’s 2019 debut album, A Private Picture, Gossip Wolf has only become more enraptured by its supple songs—and more than a little curious about how post-pandemic material from the band might address the social isolation of a world ravaged by COVID-19. According to Jacobson, Fran’s sterling new single, “So Long,” which dropped via Fire Talk Records last week, is “about the gulfs that form in relationships: feeling distant emotionally and then trying to correct it with physical distance. It was written in a time of a lot of solo camping.” Just the kind of metaphorical resonance this wolf was hoping for! Fran plan to ramp up their gigging in the fall, and so far they’re scheduled to play Thee Best Western Block Party on Saturday, October 1. 

The video for “So Long,” directed by Nazlı Dinçel, Britany Gunderson, and Maria Jacobson

The past three years can’t have been easy for Tone Deaf Records. Even after Illinois lifted most of its COVID mitigations in June 2020, Tone Deaf proprietor Tony Assimos continued to monitor infection levels across the city so that he could shut down in-store browsing when they spiked. Well into 2021, he delivered vinyl orders by hand whenever he closed his doors to shoppers, keeping in touch with the community the shop had created. Because Tone Deaf has cleared those hurdles, though, its free third-anniversary party on Saturday, September 24, will feel even sweeter. It’ll certainly be sweet for music fans! Local bands Lifeguard, Sick Day, and Salisman will play live in the Portage Park store, and a host of rad labels, including the Numero Group, Trouble in Mind, Drag City, HoZac, and Sooper, will sell their wares from booths in the backyard. Congrats, Tone Deaf! Here’s to many more!

Chicago discovered local DJ and producer Justin Demus (aka justindemus) in early 2020, when he released a footwork track sampling the 2019 South Korean film Parasite—but Gossip Wolf is proud to have been hip to him even before that. Demus spins frequently at the Whistler in Logan Square and Ludlow Liquors in Avondale, but seeing him in person isn’t the only way to hear what he’s been up to. On Thursday, September 22, Demus drops his seventh EP, Rapture (his first release in four years that’s bigger than a single), via the Jujuka label run by New York-based producer Julia Govor. Its groove-forward tracks foreground Demus’s affinity for industrial music and his knowledge of Chicago dance—“The Clapper,” for example, accompanies an anxious darkwave synth with bubbling juke percussion that’s bright enough to turn the bad vibes on their head.

The cover art for Rapture was created by Berlin-based Paulo Brandao Melo.

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