Monday, March 25, 2013

Permanent Records Update 3.25.13

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LP - Bil Vermette - Katha Visions - Original Sealed Stock - $29.99 - BUYbuy - LISTEN listen

Words can barely begin to describe the excitement of finding one copy of this private press rarity, let alone a whole box direct from the distributor STILL SEALED FROM 1984!  Thanks to a tip from our ol’ buddy Steve Krakow (aka Plastic Crimewave) we visited Bil Vermette (a recent “Secret History of Chicago Music” subject) himself at his lovely home in Berwyn recently to buy some of his rare Krautrock records.  When we arrived at Bil’s place, we were stunned to find an incredible collection of LPs and singles of various genres, and COMPLETELY FLABBERGASTED when he dusted off a whole box (25 sealed copies) of his own privately pressed record from 1984!  In case you’ve never stumbled across this one before, it’s Bil’s sole LP release and it rarely surfaces in the wild.  Bizarrely enough, these sealed copies are the first we’ve ever laid eyes on here at Permanent, and this will probably be the last we ever see.  In short, this record is RARE!  And Bil doesn’t have many copies left.  The only other box he had in his possession was not full and he said he was hanging on to them for sale at future live performances – which are also quite infrequent.  So here’s your (likely) one and only shot at owning a sealed / mint copy of “Katha Visions”.
Even if this record wasn’t incredible, which it just so happens to be, we would’ve jumped at the chance to offer these up to y’all.  Fans of all things SYNTH absolutely must hear this LP.  Bil is a synthesizer aficionado and it shows.  The first track on the “dark side” is “Mountain Funeral”, an aptly titled ambient synth dirge if there ever was one.  The title track ventures into territory that was likely influenced by Terry Riley and could’ve easily been an influence on Bitchin’ Bajas.  It’s a repetitive, layered, and soothingly long centerpiece to the album.  “Long Trail Down” closes out the A-side with effects that sound like seagulls floating over the top of the layered synth chord drones and melodies.  It’s an easy track to get lost in, but then again, so is this whole record.
The “light side” (aka Side B) begins with “Morning Dance” an upbeat number featuring the first appearance of synthetic rhythms.  Up to this point, “Katha Visions” has been completely instrumental, but “Someday Soon” features the only appearance by guest vocalist Dan Cooper.  Cooper’s voice is melancholic and robotic, which fits in with the rest of the track perfectly.  “Staircase” sounds like a long-lost John Carpenter horror flick theme while the album’s closer “Opposites Attract” is the curveball track on “Katha Visions”.  It includes the first and only appearance by Bruce Walters, an old high school chum of Vermette’s.  Bruce disrupts the synth-clusiveness of the record with some soaring guitar lines that have us wondering what else he was up to around this time.  We could also see Moon Duo doing a pretty bitchin’ cover of this one. 

The cover photos on this idiosyncratically private press-style jacket were taken by another old boyhood buddy of Vermette’ named Larry Spivack.  According to Bil, he “was looking for B&W shots of trees reflected on water and Larry nailed it.”  We agree.  The packaging matches the goods.

When I asked Bil if he wanted me to include any particular info in the review of his LP, he mentioned that “Katha Visions was recorded in the summer of 1984 over 3 weekends, six hour sessions. From midnight to 6am.”  We find the late-nightiness of the recording palpable.  We think you’ll agree.  Need we say any more?
These 25 copies won’t last long and we wouldn’t recommend sleeping on this once in a lifetime opportunity.  As a matter of fact, you’ll sleep easier knowing this record is tucked safely away in your collection.
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LP - Moonrises - Frozen Altars - $14.99 - BUYbuy - LISTEN listen

CAPTCHA gives us the sophomore effort by local psyche merchants Moonrises!!!!

Moonrises' self titled debut (cassette on Priority Male/LP on Logan Hardware) blew our doors off so yeah, we were freaking stoked to crack the shrink on this bad boy.  And "Frozen Altars" finds the group moving their sound ever further into the cosmos.  Libby's groaning organ is providing walls of melodic gurgles, Plastic Crimewave's blistering guitar bonanzas are fully in tow breathing fire and splitting atoms and Ben's frenzied drumming is harnessing everything together while reaching for the outermost edges of sanity.  The dual female/male back and forth vocals give it just the right amount of human touch as the music spirals into psychedelic swirls of fractal-tinged mesmerizing infinity.  Certainly Recommended.

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LP - Subtle Turnhips - Meal - Import - $21.99 - BUYbuy - LISTEN listen

Good things come to those who wait - 3 years since their great album "Terd" on Hozac, French freakazoids Subtle Turnhips are back with another hot mess of a platter entitled "Meal", this time courtesy of Pouet Schalleplatten! This time around the Turnhips have dialed back the ugly and heavy vibes that permeated "Terd" and gone for straight-up weird, rockin' with a ramshackle urgency that has Nikki Sudden written all over it! Imagine if sonic brothers in arms The Pheromoans wanted to rock a bit harder, but not too seriously.  It's a gorgeous mess of Mark E. Smith meets Desperate Bicycles or Wire and we're spinning the SHIT out of it over here at PRex H.Q.! We snagged a few of these bad-boys direct from the label, but they're not likely to stick around too long, so get in the lunch-line and drop "Meal" on your tray! RECOMMENDED!

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LP - Low - The Invisible Way - Loser Edition -  $14.99 - BUYbuy - LISTEN listen
CD - Low - The Invisible Way  - $9.99 - BUYbuy - LISTEN listen

20 years going strong for Duluth, MN slow core purveyors Low and they have returned yet again to deliver their Sub Pop released latest.  We'll let the Sub Pop folks direct you to "The Invisible Way":

Low has explored each and every nuance of slow heart breaking sonics over the course of two decades.  From sloth paced depression dirges to free floating repetitious drone glory to breathtakingly beautiful vocals to r'n'r full volume bombast and all points in between Low have carved out their own special niche in the music world.  And now with their latest Jeff Tweedy produced album "The Invisible Way" they've pared things down to gentle acoustic guitar pieces and startlingly affectionate piano passages whilst Mimi and Alan's combined dual vocals lead the listener into some seriously heart warming territory.  "The Invisible Way" is the sonic equivalent to warming yourself next to the fireplace after coming from the cold.  Recommended.

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LP - Campfires - Tomorrow, Tomorrow - Limited to 150 - $11.99 - BUYbuy - LISTEN listen

Ultra-limited new album from Chicago ex-pat Jeff Walls' recording project Campfires released by Brooklyn label Fire Talk!!!!

"Tomorrow, Tomorrow" is a languid affair, hearkening to, yes - Msr. Davies' maudlin tunesmithage circa "Muswell Hillbillies", but we're also hearing influence of the indie-Americana of Woods and the warbly, broken tape-recorded bedroom pop of Tim Presley's White Fence (plus a dash of Sebadoh in there too). Snappy tunes with memorable melodies and hooks galore! Limited to 150 copies and housed in hand-screened LP jackets - these are gonna be gone in a flash - guaranteed! RECOMMENDED.

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LP - Love Chants - Love Chants EP - $15.99 - BUYbuy - LISTEN listen

Mad Nanna and Xwave duders have teamed up to make some tunes that are decidedly different from either of their main groups and this lovely little 45 RPM 12 inch EP on Quemada Records is the resulting document by Aussie act Love Chants.  Love Chants mine the slow and melancholy territory of Dirty Three, Codeine and Rex with loose percussion, crippled guitar strums and barely there vocals to create some 90's-esque un-rock.  Something akin to a frown faced Dead C too depressed to turn up the volume but instead wallow in the steadily unspooling well of sadness.  Recommended.

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LP - Colleen Green - Sock It To Me - $11.99 - BUYbuy - LISTEN listen

Colleen Green has upped her game with her Hardly Art debut and evolved her sound to the essentials making sing-songy California bedroom pop tunes that will insure the sun still shines overhead.  She's taken the equal parts Tiger Trap, The Muffs and Trio and condensed it down to drum machine powered sugar-high pop glory.  Recommended.

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LP - Useless Eaters - Hypertension -  $11.99 - BUYbuy - LISTEN listen

Seth Sutton has taken we listeners on a thrilling ride since his cluster-bomb of 7-inches on Goner/Shattered/Goodbye Boozy/Mastermind back in 2009, ranging from blown out scummy garage-rock a'la Reatards to more refined DIY punkage (as evident on his recent 'C'est Bon' LP). "Hypertension" is his latest and he's moved on from bedroom 4-trackery to recording this full-length in an actual, for-real studio and the difference couldn't be more striking! What "Hypertension" is missing from the loaded "lo-fi urgency" of previous records it makes up for in making the listener aware of what a crack songwriter Sutton has become - tunes like the title track "Hypertension" and "Shapes Of A Mannequin" crackle with an unexpected foundation in new-wave missing from (or not as evident in) previous tunes! Everything is just BIGGER here - the sonic palette is expanded, and Sutton's tunes are just plain BETTER. Includes a digital download and an insert too! Another killer record from one of the more interesting talents out there - we are behind this one for sure! RECOMMENDED!

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LP - Ritchie Venus And L Stevie McCabe - My Precious Thing - Import -  $27.99 - BUYbuy - LISTEN listen

The incomparable New Zealand outsider musician Ritchie Venus reissued here, in a rarely documented collaboration with Steve McCabe of The Axemen! Unwucht Music (who also reissued Venus' "Rocking To The Grave" in 2011) is responsible for uncovering this precious thing, so we're sending much thanks their way!

We were BIG fans of Unwucht's previous Venus release, so it should come as no surprise that we were waiting on this one with bated breath, and it does NOT disappoint! The tunes here are perfect examples of the casual collaborative relationship these two fellas had - the off-the-cuff nature of the recordings (taped in various situations like a radio broadcast, or a performance rehearsal) adds to the immediacy and allure. These were songs recorded for fun and under ZERO pressure and it shows - Venus and McCabe are loose and clearly enjoying themselves.

Let's examine Side A: "My Precious Thing" sounds like Royal Trux trying their best to cover Thee Headcoats from a semi-competent drug haze, while "Rebel Blood" is a self-admitted Bob Dylan-cum-Axemen dirge-fuckery! Side B kicks things off with "Angelina" - a sweet ballad that somehow simultaneously reminds us of The Everlys and Daniel Johnston. The EP closes out with "Bleeding Heart", a smoldering pop tune with swagger to spare! As with all Unwucht releases, this one's criminally limited (200 copies bros), so if you're thinking about this one, don't think too hard or it may be gone!! Unwucht-ly RECOMMENDED!

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LP - Hum - You'd Prefer An Astronaut - 180 Gram White Vinyl - 2012 Reissue - $28.99 - BUYbuy - LISTEN listen

Major-label debut from Champaign, Illinois' Nineties success-story, Hum! After two indie label releases under their belts in '91 and '93 the band was signed to RCA and recorded this smash hit, buoyed by the success of the lead single "Stars", licensed by SRC Vinyl and reissued and remastered for a new generation of not-just-for-alt-rockers!

Hind-sight is finding us looking at this album with a touch of nostalgia - these guys worked hard, toured a lot, got signed and had a hit - it's the dream of many a working musician. Hum rocked the soft/loud dynamic, significant of their time, but with a sincere melancholic/cathartic delivery, which in turn fully supports their authenticity (which is questionable for many lumped in "alt" bands of their time).  One of our favorite elements of Hum, was their sound was fueled from outer-space. True space-rock, without ever sounding classically "space-rock". These dudes had a thick heavy fuzziness grounded in on-the-sleeve sadness and out-of-this-world dissonance. We imagine Hum cultivated their sound in a space-soup consisting of Ride, Dinosaur Jr., Spacemen 3, Codeine, and the Pixies. Reissued here on gorgeous 180gm white vinyl (first time on vinyl since it's release in '95!) and housed in a gatefold jacket - Recommended!

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2xLP - Lee Hazlewood - Trouble Is A Lonesome Town - $25.99 - BUYbuy - LISTEN listen

All these Lee Hazlewood reissues coming through the shop are filling up our shelves and getting plenty of facetime with our collective turntables and now we get another dose of Hazlewood magic.  This is where it all began, his first album "Trouble Is A Lonesome Town", intended to be an album of songs that other more established artists could borrow from turned out to be a fine collection that sounded best when performed by Hazlewood's warm baritone.  These 10 cuts of country tinged AM pop are pure Hazlewood through and through and they are just a glimpse at what was about to become one of the most legendary American songwriters of the 20th century.  "Trouble Is A Lonesome Town" is an album of supreme storytelling songs about fictional drifters and down and out characters from all walks brought to life with acoustic guitars, swelling harmonica and Lee Hazlewood's unmistakable soothing baritone croon and subtle humor.  Super Recommended.

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LP - Strange Forces - I'd Rather Listen To The Bloody Birds - Import - $19.99 - BUYbuy - LISTEN listen

Strange Forces Indeed!!!!  An Australian band that moved to Germany that started a heavy instrumental psychedelic group that get's its record funded by a "grow your own" website called Magic Mushroom Shop?  Oh yeah.. this is gonna get tons of spins round Permo-HQ.  This release is a quintessential Permanent record, it's got fugged up 3d-ish artwork and the lysergic sonics coming out of our speakers are of the most ear pleasing psychedelic variety.  "I'd Rather Listen To The Bloody Birds" is grooving through the acid vision cosmos with driving beats, melodic bass lines, effect drenched guitars creating future primitive instrumental head swirlers from start to finish.  Strange Forces are squinting the sounds of acts like White Hills, Disappears, Camera, The Telescopes and Swervedriver and concocting their own brand of fungus minded psychedelia, a sound that conjures the depths of the mind with a heaping helping of VOLUME.  Crank this sucker and stare at your hand for a few hours.  .. wait... did that chair just move? Supremely Recommended.

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2x7in Set- Navastrau - Vergess Mir Nit And American Fitness - Original Dead Stock 2x7in Set - $42.99 - BUYbuy - LISTEN listen

In anticipation for the forthcoming Navastrau anthology cassette release (which will feature unreleased material) on Alona's Dream Recordings, the ADR folks have dug up some bonafide original wax copies from little known Chicago New Wave act Navastrau.  These things are in perfect "like new" shape and the tunes within are ear pleasing pieces of early 80's Chicago art rock at its finest. 

On early Chicago punk label Disturbing Records, arguably thee earliest punk label in the city, Navastrau features members of south side Chicago legends The Cunts ( nee' The C*nts) and even a pre Ministry Al Jourgensen on guitar on a couple tracks.  We're hearing some "Here Come The Warm Jets" era Brian Eno, a little of fellow Chicagoans DA, some Pere Ubu, Flying Lizards and even a touch of The Stranglers.  Navastrau would have fit in nicely with the Ralph Records camp for sure.  These can only be obtained as the pair and the chances of these coming back around are slim at best.  We have the last copies that we know of so act fast and add these two amazing singles to your already bitchin' record collection.  Mega Recommended.

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7in - Negro Spirituals - Black Garden b/w Ancient Trees - $4.99 - BUYbuy - LISTEN listen

Great, blown-out futurepunk from this mysterious Wisconsin outfit, and the debut release on the newly minted record label, 'A Wicked Company', started by the guy who ran Vertical Records (a Nineties label responsible for hot shit platters by Royal Trux, Cop Shoot Cop, Sebadoh, Merzbow and more).

We're hearing the siren-blaring, fried circuit-bending punk madness propagated by the likes of Total Control, Tenement, and Mechandise ALL OVER these two tunes, but the bros in Negro Spirituals give it enough "oomph" from the 'American Dairyland' to give it it's own personality! Would halfway expect this one to be on Sacred Bones - it's not is it? Nope. The future is now. Limited to 500 copies, so don't sleep.

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7in - Energy Gown - I Watch The Sun - $4.99 - BUYbuy - LISTEN listen

Chicago's Energy Gown have self released their vinyl debut, a single with 3 cuts of fuzzed out experimental psychedelia.  Fried and tremeloed guitars bristle and burst with surges of cacophony while a primitive thump keeps things in line.  Wailed vocals and tambourine shakes add in some flavor to the drone-y haze.  The whole thing plays out like a Nuggets rave-up on a bad trip straight to brown acid-ville.  Which in our book is a good thing.  Mid-tempo alchemical mantras of late night lysergia is the power one gains when they wear the Energy Gown.  Hopefully this local troop are hard at work on a full length cuz we are jonesin' for our next fix.  Grab your copy of "I Watch The Sun" and get lost in limitless realms of your mind. Supremely Recommended.

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7in - Bridesmaid/Sun Splitter - Split - $4.99 - BUYbuy - LISTEN listen

The Bastard Sloth Records label has let loose a split release by two of modern times heavy hitters: Columbus, OH's Bridesmaid and Chicago,IL's Sun Splitter. Bridesmaid is a trio sans vocals.  Their instrumental doom pummel is akin to a pachyderm skipping through your house, i.e. heavy as hell, damaging and unrelenting.  Two basses dance around each other with low end melodies battling for groove and domination while the drummer skitters quick tempoed tom fills batter and crash with neck breaking snare cracks and power house bass bumps.  If you run into Bridesmaid in the wild, be sure to tell them Ancient Steve says: "What's up?!"  Sun Splitter, also a trio, used to call Columbus home but have since moved to Chicago's south side to hone their brand of psychotic noise dirges and wall of ferocity doom-gaze.  Two guitars cranked to "yer mama" provide deafening yet melodic drones of buzzing down tuned distorted hypnosis while a drum machine berates listeners with chest rumbling bass blasts and eye shaking snare assaults.  But the real secret weapon is the heavily effected vocals spewing paranoia and all things unnerving floating in the miasma.  Truly terrifying shit indeed. We get 1 track from each group and both are sure to keep you flipping this 7 many times over.  Definitely Recommended.
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Tape - FNU Ronnies/Shearing Pinx - Double Rainbow In Hell - $6.99 - BUYbuy - LISTEN listen

Shearing Pinx in-house label Isolated Now Waves lay a fucking doozy of split tape on our asses. 

FNU Ronnies unleash 3 cuts of destructo noise punk that is art damaged magic to say the least.  Lo-fi blasts of strangled guitar and broken drums awash with slicing waves of white noise hiss and side closer that is a mutated mid-tempo cough syrup garbled collage of nightmare indie dirge.   Shearing Pinx come out of their corner swinging with some mega lo-fi feedback drenched avant brain bruisers.  Nary an actual song structure is even attempted here but rather unhinged clatterings and walls of ear splitting noise via mutant guitar work and drum blasts that only eventually settle into a menacing repeato riff that uncoils at a tension building pace. 

If you like weird "WEEIEIEIERRRDD" then cop this tape pronto and crank you ghetto blaster til the speakers start to buckle.  Get high!  Recommended.