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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 hear from guitarist, Kyle Catrambone as his band Summer Drive releases new music.  Check it out!

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Kyle Catrambone is a School of Rock Oak Park alum and guitarist. Whether he’s singing to himself in the car or playing to a crowd of hundreds, music has always been a source of comfort and community for him. Now 20 years old, he is finally releasing music with his band Summer Drive. Their debut EP was released on January 14th, 2021 and he couldn’t be more excited.

Artist: Car Seat Headrest
Album: Twin Fantasy

If I had to pick one album that got me through my teenage years, this would be it. There are actually two recordings of this album, the first from 2011 and the second from 2018. Don’t ask me which one I like better because I think they both have their places. Being a young, gay kid somewhat in the closet, I found a lot of comfort in an album that expressed so many of the intense emotions that come along with being in a relationship while still in the closet. The emotional arc of this album is perfect. It goes through the butterflies, the confusion, the euphoria, and the heartbreak of first love. It also addresses the concept of self and the way others view us so differently than we view ourselves. In the 2018 recording, the many moving parts and little details make for a fully immersive listening experience. In the 2011 version, the more stripped down and simple versions of each song evoke a feeling of strong, raw emotion.

Check out the track Beach Life-in-Death.


Artist: Talking Heads
Song: Little Creatures

I often turn to this album when I’m in need of a good mood. This is an album to move to for sure, even if it’s just a little foot tap or head bob. The bouncy and almost playful energy in each song just makes me happy. I’ve always appreciated Talking Heads for the complexity and yet simplicity of their music and this album is an amazing example of that. Every note feels intentional and also natural. David Byrne is such an interestingly strange guy and it comes across here with all the little extra noises and peculiarities he adds.

Check out the track Stay Up Late.


Artist: Slow Hollows
Album: Atelophobia

I took my younger sister to see this band for her birthday a few years back and was instantly in love. These guys really know how to play with emotions. They’ve found a way to write songs that somehow invoke a sense of calm and happiness while also bringing an undertone of sadness, defeat, and even a bit of anger. Each track experiments with different combinations of these emotions to confuse and comfort your mind at the same time. I love the guitar tone on this whole album as well. It’s got a softness to it, but still packs a punch with just the right amount of attack.

Check out the track Nerves.

Shayne is switching it up in 2021 and bringing us his custom play lists each week.  Check out here or come into the store and listen to them in our Sounderator (tricked out 1940’s refrigerator that you sit in while enjoying a tasty selection of tunes).

Shayne’s playlist this week is titled: MONSTER BALLADS

A quick shout out to Ian, who is a malfunctioning ATM when it comes to playlist ideas! (spitting out gold). It’s been well established that I love “Monster Ballads” but we’re all sick of fake news, so it’s time for some truth in advertising. These are the REAL monster ballads.

Access the Spotify Playlist Here =>   


Song: Mothra.


The Five Blobs 

Song: The Blob.


Rob Zombie 

Song: Dragula.


Blue Oyster Cult 

Song: Godzilla.


Bob Mcfadden & Dor 

Song: The Mummy.


Edgar Winter Group  

Song: Frankenstein.


The Cramps 

Song: I Was A Teenage Werewolf.


Roky Erickson 

Song: I Walked With A Zombie.


Artist: Nico
Album: The Marble Index

What the Stooges were for punk, Nico was for goth. This album is dark and gloomy. Nico’s ghost-like vocals shine through the darkness. This album has a beauty to it. Just listen to it, I won’t be able to capture its greatness with words.

Check out the track Frozen Warnings.


Artist: De La Soul
Album: 3 Feet High and Rising

This album is pure Hip Hop gold. The fact that this album is not on streaming services, and not in print in any format, feels odd. This is probably my favorite old-school hip-hop album. The samples on this album give it a very bouncy vibe.

Check out the track Eye Know.


Artist: Mr. Oizo
Album: Analog Worms Attack

This album was the debut full-length album from the French producer Mr. Oizo. It primarily uses analog equipment (as the name suggests) to create a high energy, electronic album. The song titles are nonsensical and the album art is amazingly weird, yet cool. This feels like a high-energy dance record, but it is stripped down to the basics. 

Check out the track Smoking Tape.

How Do I Order Music (Or Other Things)?

Val’s is now open again (safely)! Bring a face mask and we will sanitize your hands on the way in.  Social distancing, of course.  Val’s halla has worked hard over this quarantine period to launch its Online Store which has thousands of titles for you to choose from.  We will continue to add inventory everyday, but just let us know what you are looking for!  We are happy to look through our off-line inventory of over 50,000 titles to see what we have for you.  Also, we place orders with our distributor 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!

What Are You Looking For?