Perma Return with New Album “Fight Fair”

I have a friend named Zac who is a musical genius. Anything he touches in the music world becomes incredible. Instruments, songwriting, composition. The dude literally has talent in every aspect of music – except vocally, which isn’t to put him down, because he’ll literally be the first to mention it. But he married a woman who is a vocal mastermind. Everything they work on together is infinitely better than it would be if they were separate. All this is to say that my other favorite musical couple, as well as people who share this same relationship to music, Max and Sherri Bemis, have just released their second album under the name Perma.

You can stream Fight Fair on Spotify.

Perma released their first album, Two of a Crime, in 2013. If you’ve been paying attention to Max this year, you’ll know that he laid Say Anything to rest and is focusing on other aspects of the creative world, specifically writing comics. Sherri is still continuing with Eisley, as well as being an artist, wife and mom to their three kids. (She’s also a hero of mine.)

They released their latest album, Fight Fair on their 10th anniversary, which basically just solidified even more how much admiration I have for this couple. They’re very open about their life, and to watch them make it through the ups and downs and still have so much love and passion and respect for each other is beautiful.

Fight Fair is no Two of a Crime by any means. Since 2013, Max and Sherri have had two more kids, and released five albums between both of their respective bands. The album tells a story of a marriage that has aged. It’s aged like fine wine, of course, but the album sounds significantly more mature than Two of a Crime does. There’s a lot more grit and agression to be heard. It’s aptly named because even though they fight with each other and things aren’t perfect, they still fight for each other every day.

by Nadia Paiva

kiel_hauckNadia Paiva has been a music enthusiast since she can remember. Going to shows is her main pastime. The other is being upset when she can’t go to shows. This is her first official venture into writing about music. You can follow her on Twitter.

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Perma release “Little Light” music video, announce album reissue

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Indie pop act Perma (Max Bemis of Say Anything and Sherri DuPree-Bemis of Eisley) have announced the reissue of last year’s debut album Two of a Crime. Slated to drop April 15 on Rory Records, the reissue will feature one brand new track and three bonus live tracks.

Additionally, the band is debuting their music video for Little Light at AltPress.

Tracklist:
1. Two of a Crime
2. Little Light
3. Wishbone
4. Let’s Start a Band
5. Remedy
6. You’re Welcome
7. She Chose You
8. The Bat and the Cave
9. No, Dear
10. Torch Song
11. Tangled Up
12. Deluxe
13. Little Light (Live at Pandora)
14. The Bat and the Cave (Live at Pandora)
15. Two of A Crime (Live at Pandora)

Posted by Kiel Hauck

Say Anything’s roaming inspiration

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Max Bemis has been busy lately. This year alone, he’s written comics, released an album with his wife under the name Perma and reportedly recorded half of the songs for the new Two Tongues CD with Saves the Day front man, Chris Conley.

Most importantly, though, he’s been working with Say Anything, recording the new album for 2014. Say Anything is, to say the least, an erratic band, verbally poetic, biting and viciously honest, which is why their next album titillates me so damn much.

I feel like Bemis has slightly lost his edge. The music from Is A Real Boy… is unfiltered punk, heavy themed and powerful. In Defense of the Genre held tight to those reigns, mixing in a slew of new sounds and genres that not only pushed the boundaries of the band, but the ideas behind the it as well: recovery, self exploration and confirmation. The music itself sounded bare boned, as though not much was done to the sound after the recording; what came out of the instruments is what made it onto the record.

But the self titled album is where it started to lighten up. The guitars didn’t carry such heavy riffs and the lyrics took the form of catchy pop, instead of the dark self introspection of the last albums, and partially carried over to Anarchy, My Dear. “Admit It Again”, a sequel to SA’s iconic song, “Admit It!!!” from their most recent album is a bridge connecting the old and new styles, however it doesn’t have the same bite, almost feeling like he’s holding back from really digging deep at the scene, as the song is meant to.

What’s important here though, is that while most bands would lose their fan base with the slightest change (punk to more pop, the removal of most swears), it tends to make Max Bemis stand out as an artist. While the darker, heavier music is planted as influenced by his time battling bipolar disorder and drug abuse, the poppier side and far less dramatic part of the band’s discography is the healing.

Say Anything’s most recent songs have hints of the heavier aspects of their music, but never commits fully. It’s a true sign to the fact that Bemis himself is in a good place and committed to his art even if the inspiration may not be coming from the same place.

As his first child was recently born, the direction of the new album is something that I can’t stop obsessing over. It’s a curiosity to think of the pop rock with the hidden melancholy and where he’ll be lyrically with a whole world of new inspirations coming from a life that is obviously happier and under control.

It’s rare to be able to see a band transition inspiration from a place of darkness to a positive surrounding, while maintaining to spirit of defiance and defense of taste. But in a sense, that’s the essence of what Say Anything is: the statement of what music is artistically, attacking the basic models of musical inspiration from outside angles for both the sound and lyricism.

With the tilt of the pop punk genre towards positivity and less depressive, teenage heartbreak, I can’t wait to see Max’s take on it from where he is today, not only as a master of the industry, but as a performer who lives to defy expectation and continuously reinvigorate the very scene that he grew from.

by Kyle Schultz

kyle_catKyle Schultz is the Senior Editor at It’s All Dead and has worked as a gaming journalist at Structure Gaming. He lives in Chicago and yells at the rain on occasion. He also wants to play you in FIFA.

Review: Perma – Two of a Crime

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Ben Affleck was right: marriage is work. For some reason, that phrase causes our culture to bristle in all of the wrong ways. Perhaps it’s because of linguistic folly that we associate work as a bad term, when surely there is more than one kind. Of course, the opposite response, to paint marriage as an infinite walk in the park, is just as misleading. Instead, the concept falls somewhere in the grander, much more mysterious middle – a commitment wrapped in fear, hope, frustration, and joy.

All of this is what makes Two of a Crime, the debut album from Perma, so beautiful and remarkable. The band consists of Max Bemis (of Say Anything fame) and Sherri Dupree-Bemis (of Eisley) – a married couple of four and a half years and proud parents for just under one. The project itself began when the two met and shared song ideas back and forth during the early days of their relationship, but has blossomed into something much more serious and complete as time has passed.

The title track has served well as an introductory lead single, displaying the cute idiosyncrasies of the couple, but it’s merely a primer for what’s to come. “Little Light” follows the upbeat lead track with a soft acoustic tone, but it’s here that the album begins to shine. The song itself is a letter of encouragement sung back and forth between the couple as Sherri’s soft, saccharine vocals contrast Max’s gruff, thick sound, creating an honest and real performance.

“Let’s Start a Band” is a an upbeat affair, featuring one of the catchiest choruses on the album, while rock track “You’re Welcome” picks up the pace even more. While the bouncier tracks are certainly fun, it’s when the two slow down that things get really interesting. “She Chose You” is a soft number that consists of the affirming words many of us long to hear. Max is essentially singing to himself, until Sherri’s vocals interrupt to force the point home – despite the flaws, despite the past, he’s the one.

The quiet guitars on “The Bat and the Cave” serve as a backdrop to a song of completion, referencing the couple’s love of comic books and displaying the deep sense of togetherness they strive for. It’s moments such as this that you feel as though you’re eavesdropping on songs that weren’t meant for your ears, but you feel a connection nonetheless.

Two of a Crime is a wonderful story of a couple at the beginning of their journey, fighting for joy and looking hopefully towards the future. The work involved in a marriage encompasses all of the moments, good and bad, that make the relationship what it is and molds the people involved for the future. The danger lies in dismissing those moments and failing to be present within them. The two capture this on “Torch Song” as they sing, “There goes my life / At the speed of light / I’ll spend it with you”.

While Two of a Crime may not be a “perfect” record, it truly shines in its ability to celebrate the imperfect. Oddly enough, that in itself is quite a metaphor for marriage – even in all of its complexity and amidst its flaws, it is truly a wonderful thing.

4/5

by Kiel Hauck

kiel_hauckKiel Hauck is the editor in chief at It’s All Dead. Over the past decade, he has been a contributor for multiple online and print publications and was most recently an editor at PopMatters. Kiel currently resides in Indianapolis, IN with his imaginary pet, Hand Dog.  You can follow him on Twitter.