Eagle Rock Gets a New Record Store, Chicago Style

Permanent Records has been an institution in Chicago for several years. Owners Lance Barresi and Liz Tooley recently relocated to California to set up a new location in Eagle Rock. The shop will be open for business starting June 1st, with a grand opening party taking place June 4th. Festivities will include live performances from The Cosmonauts and Francis Harold and the Holograms.

We spoke with Lance and Liz about the history of Permanent Records, their limited edition vinyl-only record label, and their motivation for moving to California.

TVD: What brings you to L.A.?

Lance: Liz and I have run Permanent Records in Chicago for about five years. We just wanted to get out of that climate and come west. We looked last time we visited and found Eagle Rock, which we loved as a neighborhood. The space kind of presented itself. So we’re starting Permanent Number Two June first.

TVD: Is someone else going to stay and run the Chicago store?

Lance: Yeah, we have a whole staff in place. We have a web store, and all of our mail order is done from the Chicago location for now. There’s a manager and four employees keeping that store rocking. I’ll be doing a lot of the buying from afar. Both locations will sell similar new products, whereas the used stock will be determined by geographical factors.

We stock mostly vinyl, but we carry CDs as well. A lot of rare things; lots of obscure, hard to find limited releases. We carry a few DVDs and cassette tapes, and a fair amount of magazines and DIY zines.

Aside from the stuff we sell, we’ll be hosting weekly in store performances by local and touring bands. The grand opening party June 4th will have The Cosmonauts, a local band that we’ve dealt with before. We put their debut EP out on our label. So they’re playing along with an L.A. based weird punk band called Francis Harold and the Holograms. Britt and Manda from Not Not Fun are going to be joining in some way. Manda wants to spin records, so she’ll probably be DJing for it. We’re still talking to a few other bands. So it should be an all day affair with freebies, giveaways, and all sorts of festivities. There will potentially be food, snacks, and free beer to those with proper identification.

TVD: What made you want to expand, in this economy where many stores are shutting down?

Lance: Our Chicago store has done well for the past five years, and it always gets better and better. Honestly, the expansion is just as much about the store doing well and Eagle Rock needing a good record store as it is about our desire to live in a nicer climate. We wanted to move here anyway, and this is what we do, so we figured, “why not just do it here?”

We were thinking about running the shop from afar and working from home. Then we stumbled across this storefront and a killer landlord who has been nothing but amazing for us. He’s got a wood shop a few doors down, so we’ve been able to go back and forth. It’s an ideal situation that fell into place, as opposed to us being astute business people. We have this feeling the store will do well here, and we found this space, so we’re gonna give it a whirl. The Chicago store will be able to pick up the slack for awhile, and we’ve already got some really good feedback from people here.

Liz: We love records, and getting to work with records is enough for us. Having live music in-stores combines two of our favorite things. We’re not high rollers, but we’re really happy with where our life is. The rent’s affordable and it’s a wonderful neighborhood. Since we’ve been here, we wake up smiling every single day.

TVD: Tell me about the record label.

Lance: We started in 2007 with an LP by our friend’s band Warhammer 48K. Those guys broke up immediately after we put the record out, which did not help sales at all. But we didn’t start a label to make money either. The guys from Warhammer went on to different things, one of them being Cave, a repetitive psychedelic rock band based out of Chicago. We put out their first record and their first split 10”. They moved on to Important and are now on Drag City.

After that we just started putting out things we liked that weren’t already on vinyl. We do vinyl only releases, no CDs unless they’re included with the package at the request of the band, although most of our releases are also available digitally.

Liz: We’ve done a lot. We’re up to 26 releases. We’re taking a small summer break to set up the shop.

Lance: Our first California release was The Cosmonauts, and they’re from L.A. It was weird doing that record before we’d even thought about moving out here, and now they’re our neighbors. Our next release is by a California based guy from Sacramento named Charles Albright. He does real blown out, lo-fi psychedelic punk. His new 7” is next on the agenda.

It’s mostly limited releases, 500 or less. Some of them have been repressed multiple times, and some have gone out of print.

Liz: It’s a labor of love on that end too. It’s cool after we’ve been selling records for awhile to help give back to some of the bands.

Lance: It’s worth it at the end of the day to get that shipment of finished records in the jacket with 12×12 physical artwork.

Liz: Hopefully they haven’t been smashed by UPS…

Lance: …which has happened more times than we’d care to talk about.

Liz: It’s been a wild ride. We’re interested to see what waits here in Los Angeles.

Permanent Records is located at 1583 Colorado Blvd., Los Angeles, California.

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