VINYL VIEWS: WEEK OF 02/15/21
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 musician and guitar tech, Max Dombrowski. Let’s see what is on his playlist.
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Max Dombrowski is a Brookfield-born music lover. He is the former owner of recently closed Stonegrove Guitar in LaGrange and still services guitars for clients in the Western Suburbs, including Grammy-winning songwriter Jim Peterik (Ides of March /Survivor). Max’s main music project, Twin Jones, just released a split-screen quarantine-style video of an unreleased song written for their upcoming second album.
Album: Star Wars
As far as sonic experimentation goes for the band, nothing has gelled so spontaneously as this album, which is really saying something considering they’ve always gone out of their way to make each album sound unique. Known for their experimental sound, especially from Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, Star Wars’ form and structure ebb and flow whether you’re ready or not.
Admittedly, this album took 8 or 9 listens for me to get to the point of being ready for the next song to hit. From the doppler-esque intro through “Random Name Generator”, ending in “Magnetized” (one of what I consider the band’s best ballads), the album is a force of nature.
Check out the track Random Name Generator.
Artist: Derek & the Dominoes (Eric Clapton)
It is seldom understood how this album is the fruits of George Harrison’s “All Things Must Pass” triple record, not only on the disk 3 Apple Jams, but as the band forming the nucleus rhythm section for nearly the entire record. Clapton found these players bailing out of Delaney & Bonnie Bramlett’s band. Organist/pianist Bobby Whitlock co-wrote most of the originals on the record, and his imprint is probably what makes this album stand out amongst all of Clapton’s work.
Armed only with a ’56 Stratocaster and a 50’s “tweed” Fender champ amplifier (which coincidentally was Tweedy’s main amp used on Star Wars), Eric lays it all on the line. The Islamic poem-influenced title track, the acoustic tabla-laden “I Am Yours,” as well as the cover of “Have You Ever Loved a Woman” are equally devoted to Harrison’s first wife Patty Boyd.
This is admittedly a record I delved into as a budding guitarist, but I love it most as a vinyl hoarder, having bought many different versions of it, from original pressings to remasters, to the 1990 anniversary CD set. This is less of a “Clapton is God” and more of a “Please Gawd, have mercy” kind of feeling for an album. An even then vintage blues/R&B statement, it was a time capsule homage of an already-gone era, made mostly on equipment far past its prime.
Check out the track Anyday.
If you want to hear something so crazy it makes everyday life seem absurd, give Pujol a spin. having already heard his prior album, “Kludge,” I was not as surprised by the abrupt layout changes of the album, but by the spacing of what I thought was humanly possible. Granted, the hardest thing to wrap your head around while listening is the deft tape-speed manipulation, so if you’re into the Beatles’ wacky stuff then you’re in good company. And don’t get me wrong, the album isn’t all smoke and mirrors. His band is as tight on stage as they are on the record. It’s a total Nashville quality control thing, and if you want proof you can try to find their Third Man Records live album, lathe-cut live at 45 RPM.
This stuff is like punk rock for graduate students, beyond philosophical and unapologetically to-the-point. Like in 6-minute super-charged social media vent “Funky Magus,” which flows straight out of the previous tight rocker “Sleepy Doni” Didn’t read the syllabus? Better look up the lyrics on Pujol’s website! They might have a slight variance due to the media shift from song to page. While “Kludge” has a very condensed and layer-cake style, Kisses is very vast while still being brief in the way it crams information. Probably another that you need to hear a number of times to fully appreciate.
Check out the track Sleepy Doni
Then the track Funky Magus.
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 BRUSH UP.
I planned on “Brush Up” being just a working title for this playlist. The theme is songs I had memorized at one point or another (it’s well known that I can’t resist a “Patter Song”) but fell out of practice with during, well, life. Then I remembered that Val had tasked me with “Brush Up Your Shakespeare!.” All these years and she’s still taking me to school.
Album: Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!
Devo NEEDS to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. It’s as simple as that. They are such a fun and unique band, and this is my favorite album from their discography. It’s a zany blast of goofy rock that puts a smile on your face. Their unique blend of goof-ball antics mixed with what I guess is punk music is on full display. I really love their cover of the Rolling Stones Satisfaction because they have morphed this classic song into something wholly different. Check out this classic album!
Check out the track Satisfaction.
Artist: Fela Kuti
Album: Fela Kuti & Ginger Baker- Live!
I believe that Fela Kuti would be a really interesting (and deserving) addition to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. As the pioneer of Afrobeat, he beautifully merged traditional Yoruba and Afro-Cuban music with funk and jazz. This specific album is truly amazing. Fela is joined by drummer (and cofounder of Cream) Ginger Baker. It perfectly blends Fela’s funky African-inspired rhythms with Ginger Baker’s masterful rock drumming. The live energy captured here is fantastic, and it is one of my favorite Afrobeat albums. You can feel the joy that these masterful musicians are feeling as they jam out for long stretches. Check out the song Ye Ye De Smell.
Check out the track Ye Ye De Smell.
Artist: New York Dolls
Album: New York Dolls
The New York Dolls would be a very interesting choice for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. While they never attained much commercial success, their first two albums, New York Dolls and Too Much Too Soon were cult classics. Decked out in spandex and platform boots and bringing a new brand of hard rock that would be hugely influential to the glam rock and punk rock movements that would follow. Their debut album is a high-energy hard and crunchy bunch of catchy rock songs. I would highly recommend you check out the song Private World, which is just great.
Check out the track Private World.
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!