Isabel “Izzy” Olive of Half Gringa Credit: Courtesy the artist

Gossip Wolf has been following the work of local singer-songwriter Isabel “Izzy” Olive, aka Half Gringa, since she was still calling her project Tin Silos in the mid-2010s. Since adopting the Half Gringa name, Olive has been on an incredible hot streak: her 2017 debut, Gruñona, earned a spot in the Reader’s sprawling list of the best Chicago albums of the 2010s (it tied for 36th place with a couple dozen other records), and last year’s outstanding Force to Reckon likewise received rapturous praise from critics and fans. On Tuesday, August 31, Olive dropped her first new music since that 2020 LP, an achingly tender ballad called “Sevenwater.” Half Gringa will embark on a brief east-coast tour later this month, which will include the pandemic-delayed record-release show for Force to Reckon; it’s Saturday, September 25, at Lincoln Hall, with support from Andrew Sa and Niika. 

The Half Gringa single “Sevenwater” is the band’s first new music since the 2020 LP Force to Reckon.

Excellent Chicago zine The Sick Muse, which chronicles the city’s underground music and arts scenes, has launched a video series called Bedroom Music. Each episode of its first season will feature a local artist giving a tour of their bedroom, answering a few interview questions, and performing a cover of a song from the zine’s playlist of “bedroom music” (that’s “bedroom” in the “baby-making” sense, not the “lo-fi DIY recording” sense). That season kicked off last week with Angel Bat Dawid, and it will continue through December with the likes of Ariel Zetina, LeSage Williams, and SuperKnova. The Sick Muse plans to post new episodes on its site each Thursday, and a freely downloadable PDF of the zine’s latest issue, number 14, is already available—it includes a remembrance of defunct Logan Square DIY space Situations by future Bedroom Music performer Charles Joseph Smith.

Angel Bat Dawid’s entry in the Bedroom Music series includes her distinctive improvisations woven into a cover of the SWV song “Use Your Heart.”

Chicago R&B has been getting some much-deserved love from the press lately—last month, for instance, Evan F. Moore published a scene snapshot in the Chicago Sun-Times. Up-and-coming vocalist Ro Marsalis announced himself as a vital local voice last week when he dropped the album Space(s). Marsalis’s lighter-than-air tracks float with the help of a handful of guest MCs and singers, including Southpaw Swade, Ausar, Josi Green, and Gold Haze.

Space(s) consists of ten tracks, including its intro and outro.


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