Every year a million different things happen in LA, sometimes U2 plays the Bowl, other times a much beloved punk band returns to their old stomping grounds. But there’s some events that don’t pop readily to mind. This past Saturday we swung by one of those events to check out the new location of Permanent Records – a place that is changing the game by taking everyone’s two favorite things, shopping for music and drinking beer, and putting them in the same place.
Permanent Records isn’t the first place to do this, but they might be the most genuine. See, most record stores with bars in them have an eerie corporate feel, like the records sections at Best Buy and Barnes & Noble, there’s something sterile and unsettling about them. Searching for records should feel like a search, some kind of hunt, and while in our modern lives are predicated on convenience, sometimes it’s nice to step into a record store that encourages exploration over immediately finding what you want.
The setup of Permanent Records is rather unassuming, both internally and externally. Outside, there’s a single decently sized sign indicating the existence of a record store, but it doesn’t particularly pop out among the other similar signs in the area, and stepping in it’s easy to see that it was recently converted over from a diner or a small bar. You first step into the bar area, which is a clever trick, records may not interest everyone, but a bar is always a crowd pleaser. Plus now that you have a bar in a record store, you’re at least guaranteed good music.
That’s all to say nothing of the wonderful selection that they have at their store. You may not find too much (though there is some) in the way of modern day indie rock, they have a monstrous selection of ’70s and ’80s rock that would make even the most dutiful of collectors blush. Add to that the meticulously curated metal and experimental sections, and you’ve got yourself a store that you could spend more than a few hours in, and find a bunch of new music you’ve never heard of before. At the front of the store, near the register, they also have a “rare records” section. It’s rather inconspicuous at first but as you begin to fan through the records first prints and test pressings jump out at you, practically clamoring for a collector with a little extra dough to spend on a talking piece and an excellent record.
On top of all this, the staff was helpful and delightful. Los Angeles could use more things like this, much of what is new to the city lately can’t shake its clean, overly corporate feel. And though records are invariably hipster, this shop feels like a home. So stop on in and grab a drink, and look for some records. Hell, they had a Fuck Buttons single I thought I’d never find – so maybe they have everything you’re looking for too.
Location: 1906 Cypress Avenue, Los Angeles, CA