Permanent Collection Nothing Good Is Normal LP

Technological advances have made “solo studio projects” a thing of relative ease, taking the one-person band far, far from the traditional realm of one-person bands. Obviously there’s the purity of vision aspect, and on records like Nothing Good Is Normal I swear that you can hear it without even knowing the source—but there’s also something to be said for the process of trading ideas and approaches and influences that sets the group experience apart from a “recording project.” How does that relate to Oakland’s PERMANENT COLLECTION, started as a side-solo project of YOUNG PRISMS’ Jason Hendardy in the early ’10s and then evolved into a full band before deconstructing back into a solo project for Nothing Good Is Normal? Well, it helps and it hurts. The streamlined melodic punk by way of hard driving high energy grunge is killer, like the best early Sub Pop tracks all fuzzed out and with no boring rock bits—it’s great, like Yerself Is Steam, but on speed (that’s a MERCURY REV record from like 1990ish—it’s really good). The vocals, however, are ever-present and serve as a distraction more often than not—overly treated and laid over the entire mix like a blanket that suffocates more than it comforts. I’m being overly critical, perhaps, because the songs and the approach are familiar and everything is very well executed. Ultimately, if the ’rona-reality is that we are going to have a lot more “solo studio projects” in our music listening lives, then I could settle into this pretty nicely.