Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Saturday, September 30

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Feature Fri Aug 22 2008

What's Going Down at (and On) Permanent Records

We always remember the person in our lives that first introduced us to the album that has stayed with you for the rest of your life. The parents who always played The Who in the morning. The high school best friend who insisted you immediately start listening to The Doors. That lifetime pal who casually brought up last year (don't be ashamed), "You know, I'm surprised you don't listen to more Rolling Stones."

Lance Barresi talks of his last two years as if he stumbled upon it like someone making him listen to Abbey Road for the first time. While it was of course not as simple as popping in what looks and feels like any other album, Lance treats it like waking up to a dream come true, rising with his first cup of coffee to find he is co-owner of both a record store and a budding new independent label, both sharing a name that makes you want to hug it for its sincerity, Permanent Records.


Permanent Records the store opened in October 2006 in its now prominent spot in Ukrainian Village. Co-owners Barresi and Liz Tooley stock the shelves with a range of everything a fan like them would want to see in their friendly neighborhood record store, from the newest indie releases no one else has to strange underground psychedelic that, well, you've been waiting for a friend to introduce you to. It's almost as if they treat the store as the reincarnation of the first time they stumbled upon The Wall, a tireless effort to ensure everyone who walks in actually enjoys the results of their time spent there as much as they do.

Permanent Records the label was coupled with the original idea of the store, and came to life only shortly after in the beginning of 2007. Their first release was a vinyl edition of a self-released CD by Warhammer 48K, a dark psychedelic group from Lance and Liz's hometown of Columbia, Missouri. The album, An Ethereal Oracle, was "something we really loved, and wanted to see it on vinyl," says Lance with child-like sincerity, more the passionate music savant with a skill than the entrepreneurial maven taking a snatch at an opportunity.

As real fans of the scene, Lance and Liz take their active role both seriously and appreciatively. The store and the label are the manifestations of their desire to not just accept what is released in the music world, even the small indie one, but instead actively ensure that what they want to hear and what is being released and sold are one in the same. Since before the label's inception, they have been driven by a desire to both document the local scene as well as bands they thought deserved a pressing. "You know, we sell bands from all over the world. There are great bands here we should be selling," Lance says of how it all came to be.

The label's projects come about with a smoothness of the "Come As You Are" bass intro that nonchalantly undertones Permanent Records' daily activities. The bands are less chosen as they are run into as the right project. The local aspect is invaluable to the owners, who meet with their bands anywhere from bars after hours to right in the shop itself. "When you're dealing with something as important and personal as an album," states Lance, working face-to-face with the artists means everything.

Current and future releases as of now all come from recent Chicago transplants from Columbia, Missouri, much like the label heads themselves. The label's second release from Cave, who already earned a 12-inch pressing from the label, is a split 10-inch with California Raisins, simply called Cave/California Raisins Split EP. It's set to be released early this fall. September also holds in store a special 10-inch EP with etching on the back from the band Cacaw called Get A Brain.

The store itself has grown from its beginnings to become more than just a store, but a self-described "community space," holding movie screenings and weekly in-store performances by both local and touring bands. Liz and James try in everything they do to provide outlets that don't already exist for the community. "The shows are early and all-ages, which is great because a lot of these bands play 18+ shows and bars." Every April the store hosts a listening party for Zaireeka, the four-disc set by The Flaming Lips intended to be played all discs simultaneously while a "crazy" video component is shown in the background. "We always love that," laughs James. And the in-house cat that shares its name with the album? Zaireeka is as chill as the store and its owners. "People can browse records here, listen to records, you know, shoot the shit, chat about music, records, politics... whatever."

And of course, the store itself helps with distribution. Permanent Records sells "a pretty big chunk" of their label's releases through the store. "The store gives us more credibility as a label, and the label makes the store more legitimate," Lance muses as he brings up other significant store/label combos such as Rough Trade, 99 Records, and formerly Reckless Records.

James and Liz come off as very content with their current position, not pushing too hard and not taking anything for granted, either. On where their sights are set for the future, Lance says, "We continue to keep an eye out for anything we think deserves a vinyl pressing," but they continue to love their sister projects equally. "That's like asking me which one of your children you love more." Always ready to roll with the next new chance that comes, if the label ever does take off and "if we started selling 10,000 records?" contemplates Lance. "Well, it'd be like any job promotion. You don't turn that down."

Permanent Records' next in-store is this Saturday, Aug. 23, featuring Partee Shark. That show is free, all ages, and starts at 5pm.

Permanent Records is hosting their second anniversary party Saturday, Sept. 6, at the AV-Aerie, 2000 W. Fulton, Ste. 310, featuring Black Ladies, Cacaw , Bellafea, Three Eyed Skull and Lazer Crystal.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records

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