Some of the fire and water damage at Golden Dagger
Some of the fire and water damage at Golden Dagger Credit: Courtesy Donnie Biggins

Independent Lincoln Park music venue, bar, and coffeehouse Golden Dagger (previously known as Tonic Room) suffered damage from a fire on Friday, November 26. Owner Donnie Biggins says an employee on-site called him just after noon that day to report she smelled smoke. “Luckily no one was really buying coffee. The tenants upstairs weren’t home,” Biggins says. “Most damage has been done from putting it out.” The Golden Dagger’s back wall, floor, and ceiling suffered enough water damage for Biggins to shut down the venue. He expects it to remain closed for the entirety of December while he rebuilds and reassesses, and he intends to reopen as soon as possible (the venue has shows on its calendar for the Tomorrow Never Knows festival in January, but their fate is uncertain). Biggins launched a GoFundMe to help with Golden Dagger’s recovery, and he says he’ll pass along the proceeds to its staff; the fundraiser is already almost halfway to its $50,000 goal. “I’m extremely grateful for the support that we have received—every venue has reached out to me in some form,” he says. “I just want to express gratitude as much as I can.”

Anatomy of Habit Credit: Courtesy the artist

Despite the occasional lineup overhaul, Anatomy of Habit have remained consistently powerful for the band’s entire 13 years—their crushing blend of industrial, doom metal, and shoegaze have established their place among the leading practitioners of heavy music in Chicago’s underground. (Anatomy of Habit’s current roster, which consists of front man and sole constant member Mark Solotroff, guitarist Alex Latus, drummer Skyler Rowe, bassist and lap-steel player Sam Wagster, and scrap-metal percussionist Isidro Reyes, has remained steady since 2018.) The band haven’t released any new recordings in seven years, but Solotroff says they’ve now got two full-length albums in the can—and the first, Even If It Takes a Lifetime, will drop on Friday, December 10, with cassette and CD versions available through Anatomy of Habit’s Bandcamp. On Wednesday, December 8, the band will celebrate with a release show at the Empty Bottle, opening for Human Impact and Child Bite.

The new Anatomy of Habit includes the band’s shortest song to date, “A Marginal World,” which runs just under seven minutes.

Gossip Wolf already loved Chicago four-piece Man-Eaters and the wonderfully trashed mid-70s hard rock on their 2020 debut album, Gentle Ballads for the Simple Soul, so it was a pleasant surprise to learn that their lineup includes members of local hardcore acts Cülo, Tarantüla, and Bleeding Gums. That makes leather-jacket stompers such as “Taste Concrete” even more convincing! On Friday, December 3, Virginia label Feel It Records will drop the band’s sophomore full-length, Twelve More Observations on Healthy Living—its lead single, “Communal Cortege,” roars like a souped-up Trans Am stuffed with heshers on their way to see AC/DC.

The video for “Communal Cortege,” which premiered November 16

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