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Vinyl Views is our weekly blog where we feature album recommendations f]rom our store team (Shayne and Jaxon) and reveal picks from guest contributors. This week we hear from filmmaker and musician, Shiloh Tumo Washington.  Lights, camera, action!

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My name is Shiloh Tumo Washington, and I am a filmmaker currently studying at Columbia College Chicago. I am also something of a musician as I play piano primarily but also guitar and trumpet. I now spend much of my free time studying theory in hopes of potentially recording some tunes of my own. Music informs a great deal of what I attempt to do with film, and it is an unavoidable fact that whatever I am listening to is most likely influencing whatever I am working on. Music is an immeasurably important presence in my life, and I owe a great deal to those who made and continue to make it a point to perfect their musical artistry.

Artist: Sam Cooke
Album: Night Beat

This is one of the albums that altered my perception of Sam Cooke vogue. I had never before listened to an entire album of his and I have yet to hear an album by anyone that I would put on instead of this with a free thirty-seven minutes. It is one of those perfectly curated collections that is hard to ignore.

Night Beat takes you through the complete trajectory of what we recognize as the blues; it also helps you realize the resonance of the tunes included on this brilliant tracklist. You show me a track on this record and I will show you the definitive cut of that
particular composition—many have sung and played these tunes, but none quite like Sam Cooke and the personnel who were vital in realizing this piece.

The chosen minimalist arrangement is the perfect way to realize these particular songs— on Lost and Lookin, it is just Sam, the bass, and some cymbals; and you will find yourself holding your breath. Tears come to my eyes hearing the radiance of Sam’s passion. It validates mine. Thank you, Sam Cooke!

Check out the track I Lost Everything.

To be completely blown away: Lost and Lookin.


Artist: Chet Baker
Album: Chet Baker Sings and Plays

This album, simply put, is no joke. Straight up magic and brilliance from the one and only Chet Baker. He puts words to some of the tunes I had only heard in instrumental form every great you can think of, but Chet’s inimitable interpretation of these same standards put to rest any efforts at comparison—which is rarely a good way to spend your time listening to music.

Just enjoy the consistency between Chet’s vocal intonation and the tone which arrives from the bell of his
trumpet and relax.

Check out the track I Wish I Knew.


Artist: Billie Holiday
Album: Lady Sings the Blues

There is not much I can say about this record that The Lady will not tell you herself, should you choose to put it on and hear for yourself. Her intentions are clearly stated with the first and titular track.

Another impeccable tracklist that explores various moods. Though the title implies that Billie is singing “the blues,” it would be wise to realize that what is being accomplished is far too
immense to be described with that one, imprecise word. I swear that you can hear that moment where her breath becomes music; you hear how she hits a note and hangs onto it as though it were the last one available, then do the same with the next, and the next.

Check out the track I Thought About You.

It is impossible not to invoke Miles Davis’ version: I Thought About You.

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 How To Beat William Zabka.

From: Shayne:

This week I’m dripping with nostalgia and bringing back one of the playlists I’m most proud of, “How To Beat William Zabka.”  Ian & I crafted this masterpiece years ago and it’s seen many different incarnations. I found 3 unique CDs, one laser-etched with Johnny Lawrence getting kicked in the face, and a hand-written note with potential song choices.  This playlist is custom-made to guarantee success in any and all endeavors, be it humbling a stereotypical 80’s bully or just doing laundry.  The proper mix is quite long and Spotify only covers so much, but enjoy this selection of highlights and be sure to thank me afterwards when you get a promotion or dominate the slopes!

Access the Spotify Playlist Here =>   

Team America World Police

Song: Montage.


Wet Hot American Summer

Song: Higher And Higher.


Stan Bush

Song: Dare


Joe Esposito

Song: You’re The Best Around


Bobby Brown

Song: On Our Own



Song: Young Hearts


John Cafferty 

Song: Hearts On Fire


Real Life

Song: Send Me An Angel


El Debarge

Song: Who’s Johnny.


Nikki French

Song: Total Eclipse Of The Heart


Artist: Jack Stauber
Album: Micropop

This album is a fun collection of really short songs – 99 in fact, averaging about 30 seconds each. They are all really catchy and have just enough substance in each to keep you hooked. Jack Stauber is a singer-songwriter who makes synthy indie-pop music, as well as a visual artist who makes very interesting music videos for his songs. He has contributed frequently to Adult Swim on Cartoon Network and has many interesting things for you to watch on his YouTube page. Check out the music video for the song Doctor off this album for an idea of the sound of his music and the style of his art. Sadly, this album does not exist on vinyl yet.

Check out the track Doctor


Artist: Spacemen 3
Album: Forged Prescriptions

If you are a fan of Hawkwind or The Jesus and Mary Chain, this album is for you. Its space rock and proto-shoegaze blend is quite addicting. It is noisy and melodic, chaotic yet organized. These songs float along from one to another, creating a hazy mist that makes the album feel like one piece, without feeling like one long song. The soundscapes of this album combine with the garage rock inspirations to create what The Velvet Underground could have sounded like if they survived into the 80s and 90s.

Check out the track Call The Doctor


Artist: Helmet
Album: Betty

This album is an Alternative Metal masterpiece. It has catchy heavy riffs, intense yet not too over the top vocals, and is overall able to balance intensity with accessibility. I feel this is a great record if you are looking to get into heavier music, as it blends alternate rock into the sound, creating a more accessible sound.  

Check out the track Vaccination

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?