J. Fernandez Credit: Courtesy of Forcefield PR

In our new era of mellow Chicago indie rock, when Whitney’s gentle “country soul” has earned praise from Elton John and Paul Cherry’s incandescent yacht rock rakes in Spotify streams by the millions, I wonder why the tender tunes of J Fernandez haven’t earned him headlining sets in the city’s biggest rooms. Fernandez’s second album, November’s Occasional Din (Joyful Noise), is one of 2018’s best overlooked releases by any Chicago artist; its charming, airtight songs hark back to 60s vocal pop, and he delivers them with exacting mastery and a loving touch. Fernandez exudes such a pleasant calm that even the postapocalyptic society in the spookily anxious “Volcanic Winter” feels a little less bleak.   v