Cover art for the This Might Be Healing cassette. Credit: Courtesy the Artist

Chicago indie singer-songwriter Nayla Jungheim knows that putting her own needs first is the best defense against a cruel and indifferent world. She made her new debut album, the lively and big-hearted This Might Be Healing (self-released digitally and available on cassette via Solidarity Club), using largely acoustic instrumentation as a retort to people in her circle who consider such stripped-down music to be trad, staid, and unremarkable. Jungheim handily demolishes that criticism: cuts such as “Note to Self” and “Any Questions?” share the melodic muscle and nervy drive of fully electrified pop-punk and emo anthems. The acoustic approach also allows Jungheim’s subtle gentleness to come to the fore more easily. On “How to Deal With Everything,” she sings straightforwardly about mental instability, gender dysphoria, and emotional vulnerability, and her airy, unornamented vocals exude a comforting tenderness. On the chorus, she implores her listeners (and herself) to pull it together by repeating the word “breathe,” letting it pour out of her mouth like syrup from a bottle—it’s as calming as a guided meditation exercise.   v