PERMANENT RECORDS 42ND RELEASE!!!!
The Chicago Triangle. A band as mysterious and powerful as it's name. There was rumor of an LP released in 1977. And gossip of a packed release show in a Wicker Park Church, where over hundreds of desperate fans came to see what Chicago Triangle meant for the future of rock n roll. Stories were passed back and forth. Vague memories of seeing them at various now extinct west side venues, long boarded up. A supposed local television appearance. Perhaps some radio play, but no one was sure. Though one common thread was this: they were a band that tore up any crowd they managed to get in front of with their psychedelic / progressive Latino hard rock.
And the murmurings, if they were true, held that this group, who had honed their chops in basements and garages, was more than just an unnoticed footnote or historical oddity, that the Triangle might've been the most important undiscovered band in the Chicago's overcrowded musical history.
The band emerged from the shadows in the same year and practically at the same time all those disco records were set ablaze at Comiskey Park during a White Sox / Tigers game. Coincidence, probably not. Chicago Triangle were five guys proving rock n roll was still something to be aspired to. Their self-released "Emergence" album on their own Dynamite label was their statement, their manifesto of the longevity and importance of rock n roll. Sublime and on fire. Sure to awaken those comatose ears of the late 70s that had supposedly seen it all. A mix of psych tinged progressive bent Latino rock that broke all the genre rules that were slowly calcifying. Searing fuzz guitar solos, soulful lyrics, haunting keys, phased drums, jazzy twists & turns, hard rock bravado, and whole lotta desire to be the next big thing.
But after constant gigging around the city for a couple of years and contemplating the release of a second LP, Chicago Triangle gave up. Rock n roll was in retreat. And everyone just moved onto the next next big thing.
Collectors pasted secrets back and forth about the LP for years. But no one knew whether it really existed or not. A ghost record. Even more obscure than all those Acid Archives obscurities - yet unapologetically worthy of unearthing. If it did indeed exist?
But then a copy surfaced. HOLY SHIT IT WAS TRUE, CHICAGO TRIANGLE DID INDEED EXIST! One quick listen was all it took to elicit to TWO important questions: One, why hadn't Chicago Triangle taken the city by storm? And why hadn't anyone tracked these guys down yet? Well a random find at the 2013 Austin(?!?) Convention and a little sleuthing later, and Permanent Records (with the help of Rob Sevier of the Numero Group) found the guys responsible for this mystical, bonehead crunchin', basement prog and asked them if they finally thought the world was ready. And thankfully they said yes!
So without further adieu let's introduce you to the band that was and is the Chicago Triangle. The missing link in the windy city's historic and winding musical history! Take it away, Plastic Crimewave of The Secret History Of Chicago Music!
"The Chicago Triangle are one of the city's most mysterious bands- for decades their 1977 lp was just a rumor, but Permanent Records found a copy and tracked the members down for an imminent vinyl reissue. They all grew up here (drummer Roberto Aguilera Jr moved from Texas in 1963, and singer /guitarist Jose Tarr Perez Inostroza arrived Puerto Rico in '65). And they got into music young: guitarist Dave Guereca played with his drummer brother, Felix; keyboardist Marvey M Esparza started accordion lessons at age 9, and Inostroza and Aguilera joined their first bands at 12 and 13. Aguilera met Esparza around 1970 and they started a group together in '75. Esparza was already a musical mentor to his neighbor Guereca; Aguilera knew Inostroza, nicknamed "Tarr Baby." Thus the Chicago Triangle were born, and soon they were gigging at proms, in clubs, at the Hubbard Street Murals, and on WCIU TV. The Triangle dropped their self titled debut LP on their own Dynamite label in 1977, and more than 500 people came to the release show at Annunciation Church on Wabansia. The album is a curious mix of ballads and whacked-out rock 'n' roll, with phased drums, Latin percussion, soaring vocals punky fuzz guitar. In 1978 the band recorded a 2nd album in Spanish for Rey Rubio (a popular Chicago DJ), but copies of it have proved even more elusive. The Chicago Triangle soon had to compete with disco (they got a disco ball and triangular PA speakers), but as Guereca put it "Disco Won." After the band split in 1981, Guereca switched to heavy rock; he currently plays in Felix, named after his deceased brother. Esparza has stayed busy with bands and a home studio. And Aguilera has been in several groups too, including the Juju Kings. Inostroza is the only member to leave Chicago; he played in Stryker in Florida, and after a car accident in 2008 moved to Michigan where he is still making music."
Private press records truly are the final frontier in record collecting. Just when you think everything has been discovered, archived, and reissued, and there's nothing more to be unearthed a gem like this pops up in the wild and blows minds. The context surrounding the discovery of this particular record and the aftermath are particularly astounding:
"It was early afternoon on day two of the three day record show in Austin, Texas. I was scoring a lot of great Psych and Soul LPs from a guy that had come from Oklahoma. He noticed I was making a fairly large stack and asked "Do you like Progressive Rock?" I replied "Yes, I do", then he showed me a record he had stashed behind his table. That record ended up being the record you are holding now. He said "I have this record and I can't find any info about it. Are you interested in it?" I gave it a listen and instantly had to have it. I asked the price and he said "It's not for sale, I don't know what it's worth." I got a little mad that he was taunting me with a record that could not be purchased but I kept my cool and began to talk random banter about Oklahoma. After a while, he told me that someone had offered him $500 for the record the day before and he declined it. He ended up getting a lot of offers but $500 was the highest. No one knew what it was, no one had ever seen. I told him I couldn't offer much because I didn't know the value. He told me to make him an offer so I offered $150. He said no, but that he would consider $200. He said "I could be selling you a $1,000 record." I replied with "I could be buying a $10 record!" After a while of debating we settled at $175. How I got the record for that was beyond me! A fellow record collector even told me, much to his dismay that he had offered $300 for the record the day before. I began to show the record to over 25 gnarly knowledgeable collectors from around the world. They all listened to it and were blown away, nobody knew what it was. Many were calling it "the find of the whole weekend." Two reissue labels (the label owners were at the show) instantly hit me up about putting it out. I was a little hesitant about that. People were offering to buy it off of me and pay more than what I paid. I almost wanted to be a collector scum and keep the record all to myself. I ran into Lance from Permanent at the show and started talking to him about the record. He listened to it and loved it. I decided to give Lance the info he needed to sniff out the band members because he was local to both Chicago and Los Angeles. Not only that, he's a super rad dude. I decided that great music needs to be shared and heard. I hope you enjoy this record as much as we all did. It was an honor to be a part of discovering it and bringing it to your ears!" - Alex Rodriguez (The Glass House Concert Hall / Record Store)
RIYL: Acid-Archives, Private Press, Bonehead Crunchers, Psychedelic Hard Rock, Basement Prog
BACK IN PRINT! LIMITED TO 300 COPIES!!!!!
In 2010 Expo ’70 bass/synth player Matt Hill went solo. His debut LP under the Umberto moniker is an analog masterpiece heavily influenced by the classic film score work of Goblin. From the moment you drop the needle, you’ll be transported to Italy as an extra in a vintage horror flick directed by Dario Argento. This is some of the most authentic sounding music of the “Giallo” genre we’ve ever heard. Time has shown that many others have come to agree. "From The Grave…" was previously only available as a hyper limited edition CDr and cassette tape via Sonic Meditations. We loved it so much we pressed it to wax, then repressed it to wax, licensed it to Burka For Everybody in 2011 for a single Euro-pressing, repressed again in 2013 and are now finding ourselves repressing this out-of-print gem once again!
Reviews of Umberto “From The Grave…”:
From aQarius Records:
"Doubtless many movie (and music) buffs would agree that Italian '70s and '80s "giallo" (horror/thriller) cinema, from directors like Dario Argento and Lucio Fulci, had soundtracks usually as evocative and inspirational as any visual aspect of the films, soundtracks which often stand as effective works of art all on their own. The scores by prog band Goblin being perhaps best known, influencing such modern day bands as Zombi and Crime In Choir. Now here's another, utterly blatant and most excellent example of Italian giallo soundtrack worship by a current artist: Umberto!
Umberto has a heavily synthesized sound, keyboards buzzing and droning and squelching, crunchily distorted or eerily ethereal, sounding at once like ominous Gothic organ music and also spacey futuristic electronica. Mechanical drumming plods along, propulsive beats adding to the menacing atmosphere. There's also plenty of fat disco synth-bass, and we bet folks into Italians Do It Better 12"s, or Black Devil Disco Club, or even skweee would get a kick out of this too, not just Goblin fanatics... but yeah Goblin fanatics (and John Carpenter and Zombi fans too) REALLY ought to check this out! Very cool, very creepy, and even at times kinda catchy-groovy…"
From Dusted Magazine (Patrick O’Donnell):
"Mining the classic soundtrack work of John Carpenter and Goblin has become a small cottage industry in recent times, with Zombi in particular making a career out of this niche genre. Umberto (a.k.a. Matt Hill, sometimes of Expo 70) has provided us with the newest example with From the Grave, an LP that skirts the edge of Soundtrack for an Imaginary Giallo territory. What saves the project from paling in comparison to his influences is the way Hill skillfully merges them – his songs are generally anchored by pulsing synths, and then layered with progressive rock keyboards. Much like Zombi, this ends up being danceable music, although Umberto generally eschews the harder edge of Zombi’s work. Hill also seems to have a judicious eye for doling out cheese, never letting his music enter into the realm of irony while clearly not taking things too seriously."
"Umberto’s From The Grave is the soundtrack to the 70′s Italian horror movie that exists only in your imagination."
"Another modern aritist whose creative heart beats somewhere around the year 1981, Umberto (a.k.a. Matt Hill, also known for his work with cosmic-rock unit Expo 70) draws inspiration just as heavily from the music of John Carpenter as from Italian horror soundtracks. Also worth noting: his debut full-length album From the Grave has the distinction of being the first album ever inspired by Juan Piquer Simon's splatter classic Pieces (or at least the first artist willing to admit it), so now you know exactly where this cat's coming from."