Jackie Hayes
Jackie Hayes Credit: Courtesy the artist

Jackie Hayes left behind a devout Christian upbringing in Waukegan to move to Logan Square at age 19 and pursue her music career on her terms. As a frequent opener at Schubas and other local clubs, she refined her attitude-heavy vocal melodies supported by simple, sludgy guitar lines and loose hip-hop drums. Hayes worked at a grocery store through the pandemic, and her new EP, There’s Always Going to Be Something, captures the malaise of young adulthood while depicting the residual burnout of a year without live music; though she’s just 22, she recently told NME that the pandemic left her “missing the drive and motivation of my younger self.” On “omg,” her voice curdles into a sneer as she sings, “It’s just not as fun as they advertised.” The song might be about failed romance or creative frustration or self-isolation—the lyrics are ambiguous, but her disappointment and disillusionment are crystal clear. The track “have fun,” set to a midtempo beat perfect for terrestrial rock radio, recalls Iggy Pop’s famous desire to, well, “have some fun”—it exudes the power of simple pleasures. The production on There’s Always Going to Be Something is by Billy Lemos, who also worked with Hayes on her previous EP, and he cleverly mimics the lineup of a full rock band. “Material” is generally sparse, but it blooms into overwhelming layers of feedback, solos, and barely scrutable vocals. Hayes’s lyrics describe a struggle to escape the past, but the energy of the song’s conclusion suggests that a breakthrough may just be a matter of turning up the volume on your guitar amp a few notches.  v