The first live show I saw at an inside venue after the pandemic's onset was in June of last year. Squirrel Flower was playing a set at Chicago's Sleeping Village, which also featured Kara Jackson as the opener. She took the stage with an acoustic guitar and I'll never forget that performance, which was stained with so much dry humor and candid lyricism told through a honeyed, crimson voice. Today, the Chicago-based musician is releasing her first music since her 2019 EP A Song for Every Chamber of the Heart. The single is called “no fun/party" and it comes with a surreal Jellystone Robinson–directed video.
Her comeback single showcases Jackson gently plucking an acoustic guitar as she sings about the difficulty and cruel patience it takes to find love. "When searching for a reason, he could only find one / He said you're just no fun, you're just no fun / And if seeing you naked wasn't such a bargain / It would be a home run, it would be a home run," goes the following verse. "party" is even more barebones, like a dusty 45 you come across in an abandoned garage. You take it home and dance alone to Jackson's reassuring words and melancholic banjo strums.
"This song is for anyone that has felt like they didn’t quite fit the description for someone who can be loved, who struggle to stumble out of the house and show their face," Jackson posted about the song. "No fun is the fear and the funk of it all; party is the game plan: u can tell the world fuck u and be the life of the party in ur own room!" She also shouts out some big names in Chicago's music community that helped bring this song to life, including NNAMDÏ, KAINA, Sen Morimoto, and Macie Stewart.
Check out the video below, which pays homage to literary figures including Angela Carter, the Brothers Grimm, Carmen Maria Machado, and more.