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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 long time friend of the store, Heather Frey.  Let’s see what she is listening to.

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Shall we begin at the beginning? My name is Heather Frey, I am 43, grew up in Oak Park, and I am a third generation Oak Parker currently residing on the Northside with my fella and our amazing kids. I am a graduate of Columbia College Chicago, focusing on radio and audio production. I have worked at various radio stations in the city and burbs including: WLS, WXRT, WKXQ, WCPT and more. I am currently the Network Traffic Director for Alpha Media Chicago/Milwaukee, a cluster of several radio stations ranging from Joliet to Kenosha. I have been going to Val’s halla Records for as long as I can remember. It started with vinyls, then cassettes, CD’s and now back to vinyls — beautiful, glorious vinyls. I bring my kids to the store when I can, but also use it as my little escape. When I need a break from daily life, nothing beats walking the aisles, visiting all my friends, and breathing in that smell…you know the one I mean, that record store smell. It was on such an escapade that Shayne approached me to write this, so here it goes.

Artist: Bob Marley & The Wailers
Album: Legend

I pick albums based on the mood I am in, on the kind of day I have had. And let me tell ya, Monday wasn’t a good day. So what album do you listen to on a bad day? My Monday answer was, the very popular best-of compilation, Bob Marley & The Wailers: Legend. After a very stressful day of normal working life, Mom life, and pandemic life all rolling around together…those reggae beats sounded like a warm ocean breeze. As soon as I put it on, my shoulders decompressed and amongst all the negativity, all the headlines, all the noise…I heard positivity. I heard a little wisdom through all the information. No Woman, No Cry made me feel seen, Three Little Birds let me know that every little thing is going to be alright, and Get Up Stand Up reminded me I have a say in my day and the world around me. So bad day be damned, we have work to do. This is an album that can run you up and down the gauntlet of life while never leaving the beach.

Check out the track No Woman No Cry.


Artist: The Rolling Stones
Album: Some Girls

Anyone who knows me would literally be floored that I am not talking about The Beatles. I have a Yellow Submarine tattoo, and they are really a huge part of the person I am today. But that’s not just because of their body of work, it’s the onslaught of other artists they exposed me to. If you’re a young teenager reading about The Beatles, then another name inevitably comes up…The Rolling Stones. I was about 16/17 years old when I got Some Girls, a Stones album like no Stones album I had ever heard before. It was sexy, it was sultry, it was dancy, it was twangy. What is this whirlwind of guitar riffs and drum beats?! Mick’s voice is just so, English, rock, bluesy with a mild raspiness that curls a young girl’s toes, what am I hearing?! Love my fabs, but this is different and from the ‘70’s, this is a musical step after flower power, after Woodstock and these guys are still at it! It grabs you from the start with Miss You and it’s haunting hook of Mick hitting the high notes, and then Keith just slays you on the guitar When the Whip Comes Down, his blues rhythms and rock riffs blend so seamlessly it flows over you like electric water. Then, one of my absolute most favorite Stones songs of all time, Beast of Burden, a song so sexy you feel a little naughty listening to it. Seventeen-year-old me didn’t quite get the message, but 20, 30 and 40 plus-year-old me sure did – this song has only become sexier and more satisfying with time. 

Check out the track When the Whip Comes Down.


Artist: Louis Jordan
Album: The Best of Louis Jordan

My final album is a staple of my childhood, played on the regular by my Dad. It’s an album I grew up listening to and has stayed in constant rotation ever since, The Best of Louis Jordan (1975). A collection of Jordan’s many hits, it’s early jump jazz at its finest, with rhythms that make you want to dance, lyrics that get you falling over laughing and each song is a vivid walk in Louis’ shoes, whether they be moving fast, slow, or are full of holes. Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens was a family favorite, as well as Saturday Night Fish Fry, swinging music with boogie-woogie beats under some of the funniest lyrics you have ever heard. The music is fun and fresh sounding even though it’s over 50 years old. You can hear that timeless energy and horns clearly on the swinging part-scat jam Five Guys Named Moe. Louis also shares valuable life lessons bound with blues and humor with the songs Beans & Cornbread and What’s The Use of Getting Sober (When You’re Gonna Get Drunk Again)? From start to finish the album is a jazzy joy of popular music from the days just before rock n’ roll was born, but it sure doesn’t sound like it.

Check out the track Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens.

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 AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT.

From: Shayne:

This week I’m highlighting a few incredible artists who re-invented themselves to wild extremes over the years. Alex Chilton, Scott Walker & Mike Patton.

Access the Spotify Playlist Here =>   

Alex Chilton 


Box Tops 

Song: The Letter.


Big Star 

Song: The Ballad Of El Goodo.


Alex Chilton 

Song: Volare.


Scott Walker 

Walker Brothers  

Song: The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore.


Scott Walker 

Song: My Death.


Scott Walker 

Song: Jesse.


Mike Patton 


Faith No More  

Song: Epic.



Song: Spider Baby.



Song: Strangers On A Train.


Mr. Bungle 

Song: Squeeze Me Macaroni.


From: Jaxon: For this Vinyl Views, I am talking about industrial bands that are offshoots of other bands.

Artist: Death Spells
Album: Nothing Above, Nothing Below

This is a duo that features Frank Iero, who I have talked about many times, and James Dewees (the keyboardist from The Get Up Kids). This project is a harsh, fast, aggressive blend of Industrial, Techno, and Hardcore Punk. The vocals are extremely distorted, the music, in general, is blazing fast, and everything is super loud.  

Check out the track Why Is Love So Disastrous?


Artist: Lard
Album: The Last Temptation Of Reid

Lard was an offshoot of Ministry, which features Jello Biafra of Dead Kennedys fame on lead vocals. This album has the thrashy industrial guitars of Ministry with the comedic lyrics of Jello Biafra laid on top. There are so many great songs on this album that I love. But if I had to feature one, I would recommend Mate, Spawn, and Die.

Check out the track Mate, Spawn, and Die.


Artist: Nailbomb
Album: Point Blank

This is one of my favorite industrial metal albums. It has a heavy thrash element which stems from the fact that this is an offshoot of Sepultura. If you are looking for some great metal jams, I would give this album a listen. 

Check out the track Blind And Lost.

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?