Hospital Bracelet Credit: Matt Petrygal

In 2018 Chicagoan Eric Christopher launched Hospital Bracelet as a solo act: they began by releasing a couple of loose singles, whose disarming mix of overcaffeinated, looping acoustic guitars and tender, showstopping vocals bore fruit with 2019’s Neutrality Acoustic EP. They’ve since recruited bassist Arya Woody and drummer Manae Hammond (of synth-pop duo Oux) to turn Hospital Bracelet into a full band. The trio’s new debut full-length, South Loop Summer (Counter Intuitive), draws even more deeply on the supercharged energy Christopher brought to their solo acoustic material, most obviously on new versions of two songs from Neutrality Acoustic. On South Loop Summer, Hospital Bracelet strap a rocket to “Sour OG RPG,” intensifying the song’s frenzied spirit while maintaining their own firm composure. The tight, muscular feel that Hammond and Woody bring to the music helps make Hospital Bracelet one of the brightest emerging bands in town. “Sheetz vs Wawa,” which balances airy guitar against a tidal wave of a chorus, is already on my list of 2021’s best emo songs.   v