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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 OPRF senior, Jack Zylstra.  Let’s see what’s on his playlist.

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Jack Zylstra is a 17-year-old actor and musician. He currently attends OPRF as a senior and plans to graduate this June. You may have seen Jack perform at one of the many OPRF Theater productions or as a 4-year member in the OPRF Show Choir Noteworthy. Jack plans to spend a year saving up money and attending community college. Some of his favorite hobbies are of course collecting records, being in nature, and hanging out with friends. He plans to move to Los Angeles in the future to pursue his dream of performing.

Artist: The Grateful Dead
Album: Blues For Allah

Blues For Allah has always been a favorite for me. I grew up listening to a lot of Grateful Dead. My father is a true deadhead and I seem to be following in his footsteps as well. He always had this album on when I was a little kid. I have grown fonder of the album as I have gotten older due to the significance it had on the band. Blues For Allah was the band’s second most commercially successful album (following In The Dark). It was the return for the band’s second drummer, Mickey Hart, who adds some insane drum parts. The album highlights some heavy jazz and Latin influences, which is a big deal for the Grateful Dead because it shows how they weren’t restricted by their heavy folk and rock and roll foundations. This album means a lot to me because every time I put it on, I am still surprised by something new I didn’t realize before.

Check out the track Help on the Way/Slipknot.

Then try Franklin’s Tower.


Artist: Thundercat
Album: It Is What It Is

Who knew an artist with the same name as one of the best 80’s Saturday morning cartoons would make a great album! All jokes aside, Thundercat is rapidly becoming one of the best bass players in the business. This album came out during the height of quarantine life, when there wasn’t much to look forward to. I love this album because it came at a time when I needed something to obsess over. It is full of amazing surprises, with appearances from Steve Lacy, Childish Gambino, and Steve Arrington’s feature on the track Black Qualls. You will be hooked from the moment the first track plays!

Check out the track Funny Thing.


Artist: Chet Baker
Album: Chet Baker Sings

Cooped up in the house on a cold or rainy day? This is the perfect album for you. Chet Baker aka “The Prince Of Cool” earned a spot in the Grammy Hall Of Fame for this album. His seamless transitions from singing to soulful trumpet solos never disappoint. I love this record because the lyrics from various writers are perfectly expressed for the magic they are. This album also helps me stay productive with getting schoolwork done.


Check out the track That Old Feeling

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 GET OVER YOURSELF.

From: Shayne:

There is no such thing as a guilty pleasure! I can’t stress it enough. Nothing you could possibly ask me for is more embarrassing than my own collection. With that in mind, this week’s playlist highlights 10 songs that everyone pretends they hate but secretly sing along to behind closed doors. (Your mileage may vary).

Access the Spotify Playlist Here =>   

Eiffel 65 

Song: Blue.


Kylie Minogue 

Song: I Just Can’t Get You Out Of My Head.


Donna Lewis 

Song: I Love You Always Forever.


Lisa Loeb 

Song: Stay.


Natalie Imbruglia 

Song: Torn.



Song: Barbie Girl.


Mariah Carey  

Song: Always Be My Baby.



Song: I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles).


Celine Dion 

Song: It’s All Coming Back To Me Now.


Bobby McFerrin 

Song: Don’t Worry Be Happy.


From: Jaxon: This week I am talking about a few of those elusive records that I am on the hunt for. Out of print, limited releases and pricey. No worries, though, it is good to have a wish list, right?

Artist: Pencey Prep
Album: Heartbreak In Stereo

If you have read my prior Vinyl Views, you may know that I am a huge Frank Iero fan. Before his solo work and before becoming the rhythm guitarist for My Chemical Romance, Frank fronted the band Pencey Prep. CD copies of this album were available for hundreds of dollars and there was no vinyl pressing at all. And then, in Nov 2020, a limited vinyl pressing was finally released…and I missed it! It sold out within hours of it being announced. Ugggh!

The album Heartbreak in Stereo is a great Emo album with a harder edge to it. I would recommend it to anyone who likes this kind of stuff. 

Check out the track Yesterday.


Artist: The Apples In Stereo
Album: Fun Trick Noisemaker

This album is an extremely fun indie rock album. Its blend of bouncy low fidelity soundscapes with fun lyrics is irresistible. This is by far my favorite album by this wonderful band. The only problem is that these rarely come up for sale in the US, but I will keep looking (obsessively).

Check out the track Glowworm.


Artist: The The
Album: Dusk

This is an underrated album by an underrated band. It is packed with great songs filled with gloomy emotions. I would love to have a copy of this on vinyl, but the problem is that the release of the album fell in the middle of the CD era and it hasn’t been pressed since the 90s. So, there just aren’t that many copies out there. Hopefully, this album eventually gets the respect it deserves and is reissued on wax. In the meantime, I’ll stay on the hunt for an original (that I can afford). 

Check out the track True Happiness This Way Lies.

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?