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Vinyl Views is our weekly blog where we feature album recommendations from our store team (Shayne and Jaxon), and reveal picks from guest contributors. This week we explore the multiverse and are once again joined by that man of mystery, master of disguises, Gene Parmesan!  

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Gene Parmesan here, how ya doin’? Life has been tough for your favorite PI. It’s hard being a master of disguise when everyone is wearing masks everywhere. It’s even harder to tail a suspect, but I’ve been finding ways to keep myself busy. One avenue I’ve considered to help make ends meet is the music business. While it may seem tough to write a hit single, many successful artists leave their fans wanting more, but few actually capitalize on that. And that just may be my in road: sequels to popular songs!

Artist: Peter Schilling
Album: Error In The System

While David Bowie’s 1969 “Space Oddity” capitalized on the Moon landing, it left our protagonist stranded in space. The open ending left fertile ground for German synthpop wunderkind Peter Schilling’s retelling. While Bowie’s original is an all-time classic, Schilling found something special in his tense, suspenseful verses and soaring choruses, and found international success after translating it to English.

Check out the song Major Tom (Coming Home)

Artist: Murs
Album: …. The End Of The Beginning

Another way to capture the zeitgeist is to introduce a larger than life character, which the Digital Underground did with “The Humpty Dance” in 1990. While the public seemed to love the flamboyant Humpty Hump, he mostly disappeared into the limelight after his star turn in the film Nothing But Trouble. That is, until Murs invited Hump’s cousin Shock G to produce a song for his 2002 album The End of the Beginning. The result is “Risky Business,” which finds Hump let loose like the Cat in the Hat. As lasicivous as you may expect. 

Check out the track Risky Business

Artist: The Mystic Knights Of The Oingo Boingo
Album: N/A

Speaking of lasciviousness, the Beach Boys struck gold with 1965’s “California Girls,” which shares the group’s admiration for ladies from all over the Earth, and invites them all to join the band in their home state. So how do you step up from admiring a whole planet’s worth of women? Future film composer Danny Elfman’s logical conclusion was to sing the praises of women from the rest of the galaxy. While it never made it on to an Oingo Boingo album, it was a mainstay of their sets as they transitioned from a surrealist theater troupe (to a new wave band. 

…and don’t forget to stop by my favorite record store, Val’s Halla Records, to pick up a copy of my new cassingle: “Hang In There, You’re Rent Controlled”

Check out the track California Girls

Artist: Slowdive
Album: Pygmalion

This week I revisit some of the forgotten albums by a few of my favorite artists…


NS:  You insufferable HACK!

S: I beg your pardon handsome sir?

NS: Do you know any other bands?!  You’ve already done this album even!

S: Oh did I?  I guess I did.  Hmm, well what would you suggest then?

NS: Your primitive “Prime-Timeline” brain could never appreciate the nuance of “Nega-Music!”

S:  Try Me

Check out the track: Sadeness

S: Um, we have that here too? Solid song though.

Artist: The Cranberries
Album: In The End

S: Oh you’re definitely gonna give me hell for this one aren’t you? To be fair I had it plugged in before you arrived on my plane of existence.

NS: Wait, what is this? Did The Cranberries form as children in your timeline?

S: Sadly no, this is their final album released posthumously after Dolores passed.  It’s really great.


S: That… Didn’t happen there?

NS: NO!  I’m beginning to rethink my plans of conqueri… Relocating to your reality.

S: Yeah it kinda sucks.  Why the move?

NS: My research suggests your Earth is dog-friendly and I must find a home suitable for “Beefles, Prime-Ribs & WagyuLu.”

S: Oh jeeze, I feel ya man!  Let me know if you need any help!

NS: … Why would you help me?

S: That’s just “Bro-Code” man! No doubt we could make a killer moving playlist!

Check out the track: In The End

Artist: Scatman John
Album: Scatman’s World

NS & S: SCATMAN! (laughter)

S: See, we’re not so different you and I.

NS: I have way better facial hair though.

S: I cannot argue that.  Bring those pups by the shop sometime and I’ll have treats waiting!

NS: I might just do that. (whispers into microphone) “Call off the assault.”

Check out the track: Scatman’s World

Artist: That Same Street
Album: Demo

April is here, and that means spring weather is coming! So let’s talk about some happy and relaxing records to listen to in this beautiful time of the year.

This record just screams April. Look at this happy little guy on the cover. He is strumming his guitar, playing his happy little song. This album is some bright bubbly Japanese indie pop, that will make you feel good. The absolutely over-joyous (definitely not heartbroken) vocals may be hard to handle for some, so I will just give you a heads up about that. Don’t be foolish, and check out the first track, 女.

Check out the track


Artist: Sonic Dragolgo
Album: My Sweet Honey Bunny

This is an album that will give you some nice electronic pop music that will be sure to put a big smile on your face. It utilizes repetition to create amazing foot-tapping tracks. I would highly recommend this project, and lucky for you, they just remastered and rereleased it, making it easier to find, with it being on streaming services. This album is nice and relaxing and will calm you down if you have had an intense day.

Check out the track PONK


Artist: Merzbow
Album: Pulse Demon

This album is a bright and bubbly piece of classical-inspired neo-psychedelia. The first two tracks are amazing rhythmic suites, which reference all sorts of birds, which you may have guessed from the title. We then get Spiral Blast, an amazing interlude that sounds like getting blasted into space by a rocket. We continue this space feel through the rest of the record, and it feels like we are traveling through different planets. Check this one out! I would recommend listening to the first track: Woodpecker No. 1.

Check out the track Woodpecker No. 1

How Do I Order Music (Or Other Things)?

Val’s is now open again (safely)! Be sure to wear a mask and keep safe social distancing, of course.  Val’s halla has thousands of titles in its Online Store and we continue to add inventory everyday.  Can’t find what you are looking for?  Just let us know and we are happy to look through our off-line inventory of over 50,000 titles.  Also, we place orders with our record distributors every Monday, which means we see them in our store by Tuesday (most of the time).  We sell records (as well as turntables), CDs, cassettes, 8-tracks, DVDs and more.  To get started, you can Click Here to access the Online Store, or fill out the form below to let us know what you are looking for.

What About Delivery?

Val’s is offering Curbside Pickup and No-Contact Delivery Service to customers who live within a 5-mile radius of the Oak Park Arts District. Orders can also be shipped to customers outside that radius for a flat fee of $5.  Order as much as you want – still $5 shipping! Stay safe and be well!

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