VINYL VIEWS: WEEK OF 2/22/21
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 two amazing kids, Maeve and Franklin. You don’t want to skip this one!
Shayne and Jaxon reveal some of their all-time favorite tribute albums.
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Maeve and Franklin Moses are students in Oak Park. They are the artists and entrepreneurs behind Shine Comics. You can view their work at http://shinecomics.weebly.com. Their favorite musicians are Michael Jackson, the Ramones, Journey, and Warren Zevon.
Their father, Josh Moses, can help you sell your software company. At one time he went to a lot of shows.
Maeve: I enjoy this album a lot and there are many great songs by Nirvana. I would like to say that some of the words sound like he’s saying “I’m a speedo.”
Frankie: Or “A potato.”
Maeve: It’s very hard rock and the drummer does a very good job staying on the beat, especially since Nirvana’s songs usually go very fast.
Frankie: Most of the songs I know, like In Bloom, Come as You Are, and Smells Like Teen Spirit. They’re very hard rock.
Maeve: It’s very tragic how the lead singer (Kurt Cobain) committed suicide. I think he would still be making very good songs if he was still alive.
Frankie: When he’s singing the songs, he often yells.
Maeve: I think that on record (or CD) it is much better because you don’t have to be looking at your phone all day to switch the song.
Dad: I bought this album on tape from Val herself back in 1991. She wanted to sell me Bleach as well, but I didn’t have the money (tapes were $12 if I recall). That was at the old South Boulevard location.
Frankie: My dad used to have it on tape. Now we have it on vinyl and CD.
Maeve: When my dad had the tape and my mom had the CD, it got stolen [dad: possibly during a car break-in in Hyde Park in 1999] and just yesterday we got a new CD of the album.
Dad: The kids pick up on a lot of the things that resonated with me when this album first came out: the fact that you can’t tell what Kurt is saying (I remember trying to listen to the lyrics with headphones on and writing them down with a pen), that it’s a very hard, clean sound compared to the G’n’R and Boyz II Men I was listening to (I think Use Your Illusion I&II came out maybe a week before Nevermind?), that he shouts rather than sings, and that, of course, his death was so monumentally tragic. A great album for kids – hard, fast, not the same level of parental oversight challenge you’d get with In Utero or Bleach. Good clean production from Butch Vig that makes the album accessible (and that I loved when it came out, then decided I hated, and now love again). Since we’re being asked to pick a song, I always loved On a Plain. I like when Cobain is stripped of his irony and getting right after the human condition.
Maeve: People should definitely get this album.
Frankie: It is great.
Check out the track On a Plain.
Album: Best of Blondie
Frankie: My favorite song is One Way or Another. It’s a fast song.
Maeve: I think that Debbie Harry has quite the voice and is sort of another Joan Jett. You can tell the drummer is a little bit off the beat. He was later the Ramones drummer [as Elvis Ramone – he was also the drummer for the Romantics]. I really like that it’s really easy to hear the lyrics on most songs.
Frankie: I like Call Me. It’s my second favorite song. And then Heart of Glass.
Maeve: It’s a very disco-y song.
Frankie: [One Way or Another comes on] This is my favorite song of all time.
Frankie: Heart of Glass kind of has a weird beginning. It’s like “beep, beep, beep, beep.”
Dad: Maria is my favorite Blondie song. Hands down. All-time great song. The way Debbie Harry almost growls through the verses and then just lets it go on the chorus…
Maeve: Maria is a very rock song. It’s a very Blondie-style song. There are bells in it.
Dad: This is also the song that made me comment on Clem Burke’s drumming, there’s a little break where he’s Keith Mooning it all over the place, way off the beat. Which I like, it gives the song personality but did cause me to comment that he doesn’t quite have the chops of a Clyde Stubblefield or Topper Headon. Maybe Tommy Ramone. The things the kids remember…
Frankie: Blondie is more like the Ramones than they are like Journey.
Maeve: It’s sort of a mix for some songs between Ramones and Journey.
Dad: I was 10 years too young to get Blondie growing up. I knew Heart of Glass but that was about it, which was the song the cool kids said was their sellout disco song. I later sort of came around to them through The Bad Plus, which did a great jazz cover on These Are the Vistas. When Maeve started getting really into music, we brought them into heavy rotation because Debbie Harry is an uncompromising, strong woman and as a parent, you should confront the misogyny endemic to rock music. We’ve tried to introduce Joan Jett (limited success), Tina Turner (mixed success, Ike-related challenges), Sleater-Kinney (so far a dismal failure) for the same reason. Better success with Motown (including, of course, Tina Turner). Have also considered Fleetwood Mac as a candidate.
Check out Frankie’s all-time fave One Way or Another.
Frankie: The beginning of this song  is sort of like alien talking.
Maeve: Prince is the guitarist. He’s so good, and he’s pretty much tied with Eddie Van Halen.
Dad: Prince, definitely the better dancer.
Maeve: I wish I could see one of his concerts. A couple of months ago, my dad showed me when he did the Superbowl in the rain. He used it as a great opening for Purple Rain. Almost like he liked the rain.
Frankie: I like Prince. My favorite song on this album is Little Red Corvette.
Dad: All-time classic.
Frankie: What’s a Corvette?
Dad: It’s a really fast car.
Maeve: It’s definitely one of the best ever. I personally, even if it’s not on this album, prefer Let’s Go Crazy. Some kids on my block knew what Let’s Go Crazy was but didn’t know who Prince was. I think some people need to hear more music. There’s a lot of albums that I will definitely introduce to some of my friends. Bowie’s Young Americans, Rocket to Russia, maybe some Nirvana.
Frankie: Maybe Nevermind.
Dad: This song makes me think of seeing some random cover band in Nashville doing it at like 10 am on Saturday morning. It’s clearly the song of the album. Maybe the song of the decade, so putting it up against, like, Lady Cab Driver isn’t really fair. Although that song is pretty unique in the Prince canon for having the big bassline.
Maeve: I notice that Prince is not afraid to say what he thinks about everything in a song. But he tends to stay on the same subject, like a lot of his songs are about girls or whatever.
Frankie: This song [Automatic] always has this mmm, mmm sound [speaking about the keyboard hits].
Maeve: Sometimes I wonder if Prince and Michael Jackson had a sing-off, mixed with a dance-off.
Dad: They did – with James Brown. CLICK HERE to check it out.
Maeve: [watching the video] James Brown sort of looks like Michael Jackson’s mom.
Dad: I was not in the Prince camp growing up, which is stupid. My two primary Prince-related touchstones were Batman and Phish’s live cover of Purple Rain (including a vacuum cleaner solo by John Fishman). It wasn’t until years later that I came to realize that Prince is the greatest. Maeve has been more of an influence on me than I have on her in that regard.
Hear the aliens talk in 1999.
Album: Schoolhouse Rock! Rocks
This silly collection of Schoolhouse Rock! songs performed by the most 90’s collection of bands is an absolute blast! These songs were already earworms in the original cartoon but here I’d argue they become even more infectious. While it’s all pretty great, the standout track for me is Three Is A Magic Number, which was one of the last things released by Blind Melon before the lead singer’s untimely death.
Check out the track Three Is A Magic Number.
Album: For The Masses
As a huge fan of Depeche Mode I wouldn’t have expected to like cover versions of their songs, and yet somehow everything here works, some I arguably like more than the originals (blasphemy I know.) Particularly Hooverphonics version of Shake The Disease. I frequently go back and forth on which version I prefer. That said, it can’t rightly be my song choice because the sheer madness of Rammstein doing Stripped in what sounds like phonetical English is just delightful.
Check out the track Stripped.
Album: Blue Skied An’ Clear
If my love of Depeche Mode was a potential hindrance to appreciating cover versions, imagine my reluctance to a Slowdive tribute album! You don’t mess with perfection! However, this collection from Morr music completely nails it. The label largely included artists with an electronic and ambient sound and the aesthetic is perfect for capturing Slowdive’s dreamy quality.
Check out the track Crazy For You.
Album: Silver Monk Time
I talked about the Monks in one of my very first vinyl views, where I talked about the band’s history, so I will keep it brief. The Monks were a group of 5 American G.I.s stationed in Germany, who made one killer garage rock album. This cover album sees many artists, including The Raincoats, Silver Apples, Psychic T.V., Faust, and The Fall just to name a few, cover some classic Monks tracks. This collection was made to go along with the documentary talking about the band’s fascinating history, called Transatlantic Feedback, which I would also highly recommend.
Check out The Raincoats version of Monk Chant.
Album: Fifteen Minutes: A Tribute to The Velvet Underground
This one doesn’t need much explanation. It’s the Velvet Underground. Its Nirvana, Swervedriver, Echo & the Bunnymen, Ride, and many more. Enough said.
Check out Nirvana’s cover of Here She Comes Now.
Album: Virus 100
This album is a great tribute to the legendary Dead Kennedys. The bands range from the extreme metal of Napalm Death, to the Crunchy Grunge of L7, to the goofy rockabilly of Mojo Nixon. My only complaint on this album is that the band Chemical Warfare did not cover the song Chemical Warfare, which is a missed opportunity. But all of these songs are interesting interpretations of the originals.
Check out L7’s cover of Let’s Lynch The Landlord.
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!