Chicago band Diagonal do mid-90s shoegaze so well they might have a time machine | Gossip Wolf | Chicago Reader

Chicago band Diagonal do mid-90s shoegaze so well they might have a time machine 

Plus: Save Money rapper Sterling Hayes talks mental health on a new mixtape, and Bad Sons throw down an EP of classic street rock.

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click to enlarge Diagonal at Schubas in May 2018 - AARON EHINGER
  • Diagonal at Schubas in May 2018
  • Aaron Ehinger

Gossip Wolf is convinced that psychedelic Chicago six-piece Diagonal would've been stars in the UK if they'd been around in the mid-90s. Fans of the Verve and Spiritualized might want to dig through their back issues of NME and Melody Maker to make sure these folks aren't time travelers! Their debut album, Tomorrow, combines hazy waterfalls of shoegaze guitar, serious pop hooks, and "guy howling in an empty cave" vocals. It drops Monday, July 2, on local label Midwest Action, and that night Diagonal play a free show at the Empty Bottle with Plastic Crimewave Syndicate (led by Reader regular Steve Krakow), Texas psych-rockers Lake of Fire, and local stoner-doom unit Black Road.

Last month Save Money rapper Sterling Hayes dropped his SideFX mixtape, where his raw performances build on the themes and sound of his dark, turbulent 2016 full-length, Antidepressant. For this one Sterling and longtime producer Spanish Diego called in a team of Chicago rappers, producers, and singers, including Smoko Ono, Kami, Via Rosa, Malcolm London, the Mind, Papi Beatz, and Teddy Jackson—Chance the Rapper even appears on "Drowsiness," bringing some uplift to a track about struggling with depression. On Friday, June 29, Sterling throws a free (albeit belated) release party at the Virgin Hotel on Wabash, where he'll be joined by the Mind, Elz the DJ, DJ King Marie, Qari, and DJ Such n Such.

Chicago's Bad Sons play fast, melodic street rock that's as classic as a biker jacket bristling with safety pins. Their new seven-inch EP, Cry Tough, is the musical equivalent of a hard-luck punk spiking up his Mohawk and carving his ex-sweetheart's name into his arm with a broken beer bottle—not that Gossip Wolf would know what that's like! You can buy a copy when they play East Room on Sunday, July 1, with New York punk troublemakers Nancy and Austin goon squad Trouble Boys. They're surprisingly nice!  v

Got a tip? Tweet @Gossip_Wolf or e-mail gossipwolf@chicagoreader.com.

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