Best Supplemental Reading by an Avant-Pop Artist

Jimmy Whispers's Summer in Pain zine

Critics' Picks

Former Light Pollution main man James Cicero has hit upon something special with his new solo project, Jimmy Whispers. He sings sincere songs about love and loss with just a chintzy organ recorded straight to an iPhone, and what the music lacks in fidelity it more than makes up for in unself-conscious heart, blissful melodies, and enchanting hooks. He's finished an album, but you can't get it just yet—a proper release is in the works. Cicero plays out often enough, though, that the tunes will stick with you till his next show—and you can still walk away with a copy of his Summer in Pain zine. It builds on themes that also turn up in his music, in his stage banter, and in the crude "Summer in Pain" street art he's plastered around town: there's a collage about Chicago's gun violence, a letter to a woman selling a wedding gown via a flyer, doodles of sharks, non sequiturs about finding inspiration in sadness, and an image that superimposes Cicero on a photo of Phil Jackson, Michael Jordan, and Scottie Pippen. Summer in Pain is pretty scatterbrained and not always easy to understand, but it feels entirely earnest—which makes it a great companion to Cicero's songs.