Protagonists in the early 1980s Credit: Brooke Budach Larm

Though they were around for only a few years in the early 1980s, Naperville punk band Protagonists did a lot in that brief lifespan, recording a tape with legendary engineer Phil Bonnet, releasing a seven-inch on the label run by fellow suburban warriors Reaction Formation, and rocking venues across the city and suburbs—not bad for high school kids! On Friday, July 24, local reissue label Alona’s Dream will drop 1983-1985, which compiles buzzing, new-wave-inflected jams from both Protagonists releases as well as basement demos and live cuts. Their themes will sound familiar to anyone who’s been a suburban teen: Mondays suck, and having a crush on somebody usually sucks, but fish sticks (when prepared and served correctly) are among the most delicious foods on Earth. Preorders of the vinyl pressing come with extra goodies, including stickers, postcards, and a poster.

Gossip Wolf first heard local three-piece Gosh Diggity on the 2019 EP Banana Brains, whose charmingly threadbare indie rock mixes dinky drum machine and plasticized keyboard with gentle vocal harmonies. On July 1, Gosh Diggity self-released another EP Bedtime for Bonzos, which adds a little muscle to their tender, sweet-natured sound. “I’m Afraid of Hating Everyone” is about resisting isolation and despair, not embracing them.

Last week, local punks Le Tour dropped S/T 2020, whose five songs were destined for their third full-length, which never came out. The band played their last show in 2018. “The emotional aspect of the music and performances had always been a strain on me, and I came to the realization that I was happier just making music for myself,” says guitarist-vocalist Patrick Campbell. The songs on S/T 2020 channel Le Tour’s anxieties about unchecked police brutality, encroaching fascism, and festering white supremacy into rambunctious rippers that elevate their air of haggard exhaustion into a righteous heaviness.  v

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