VINYL VIEWS: WEEK OF 5/31/21
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 Eddie Medrano!
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Father to three dogs and a soon-to-be-born human(!), Eddie Medrano was first introduced to Berwyn a few years ago when he stepped into the role of Talent Buyer and Production Manager at Wire (RIP). He now leads production at Chicago Humanities Festival, but has worked at several venues in the city, including Bottom Lounge, Reggie’s, and SubT. You might also see him
driving the Fitzgerald’s pickup truck around from time to time! He spends a good deal of his spare time watching baseball and listening to his ever-expanding
Artist: Emma Ruth Rundle & Thou
Album: May Our Chambers Be Full (LP) / The Helm of Sorrow (EP)
This project has been hitting especially hard as of late, as it reminds me of the last show I went to before the pandemic hit. While in New Orleans last March, I attended a Body show with openers Dreamdecay, Foie Gras
and local sludge enthusiasts Thou. The show was put on by Sisters in Christ, a record store owned and operated by Bryan Funck, lead singer of the aforementioned Thou. The next morning, I hit up SIC where I got to browse and talk about the local music scene. Check out Special Interest and Bryan’s side-project, The World is a Vampire. I was also told about a recently recorded project between Thou and Emma Ruth Rundle. (As a huge ERR fan, I don’t remember the last time I was this excited about a new band.) May Our Chambers Be Full & The Helm of Sorrow, released in October 2020 and January 2021,
respectively, is the melding of two radically different songwriting styles. What you get is a perfect blend of Thou’s louder, guitar-driven assault and ERR’s subdued, slow-burning approach. Hushed vocals erupt into tormented howls while 4 guitars provide an epic backdrop of sound and distortion, all without vying for your attention. It’s very exciting to see tours getting announced on the daily; only a matter of time before
these two come through Chicago. If you’re unfamiliar with this project or either of these artists, their cover of the Cranberries “Hollywood” should be reason enough to check it out!
Check out the track Hollywood.
Album: ･ ･－･ ･－ ･･･ ･ －･･ | － ･－ ･－－･ ･ ･･･
(aka) Erased Tapes 20・・—0
This next one is a bit of a mystery. Put out by record label Erased Tapes last year, this album was released with little promo or fanfare. Home to contemporary composers like Nils Frahm and A Winged Victory For The Sullen, this collection of songs is a perfect addition to their stellar catalogue. With hardly any information available about this release or the artists on it, the album challenges the listener to drop any expectations and approach with an open ear. There isn’t much to say about this record other than to let it speak for itself. After a year that brought isolation and an overwhelming feeling of detachment, it’s easy to find a sense of connection with the unique sense of mystery attached to this compilation. As a bonus, the song titles are written in Morse Code in case you’re really curious about what you’re listening to. I’ll give you a head start: “－－ ･ －･･ ･ ･－･･ ･－”is a track called “Medela” by Ben Lukas Boysen. The album only gets better from there! One of last year’s true hidden gems, this will finally see a proper vinyl release in June.
Check out the track Medela.
Album: Care For Me
Originally released in 2018, Saba’s Care for Me turned three back in April. While that’s normally not enough reason to hype a record, I simply cannot put this one down—mainly for the fact that it was just repressed on vinyl. As recently as March, first pressings were selling for upwards of $250 on Discogs, so I was stoked to see this thing repackaged just a couple of years later. (Take that vinyl flippers!!) Three years, and what feels like an eternity later, the album is as timely as ever. Care for Me offers a crucial view into an often-overlooked part of Chicago. Over the course of 10 tracks, Saba masterfully presents a first-person narrative of what it’s like to grow up in the Austin neighborhood. His delivery is fresh, clear, and concise, never letting up. From the first four words (“I’m so alone”) on the opening and standout track “BUSY/SIRENS” to the final notes on closer “HEAVEN ALL AROUND ME”, Care for Me paints a vivid picture of suffering and loss; yet, despite all the pain, you’re left with a sense of promise and hope. Clocking in at just over 40 minutes, this album is heavy, but a cathartic listening experience for any hip-hop fan. Don’t let the age of this record fool you, Care for Me is a timeless classic.
.Check out the track Busy/Sirens
Shayne is switching it up in 2021 and bringing us his custom playlists 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 Stage.
We’ve been hard at work readying the stage to once again welcome performers this summer to some capacity! With that thought at the forefront, this week’s playlist highlights a small handful of some of the incredible artists who have graced our stage over the years! Interested in playing? Shoot us an email with some info, we’re excited to get this place bouncing again!
This week I am talking about three great psychedelic records. So get ready to take a trip with me as we explore these far-out albums..
Artist: Psychic TV
Album: Allegory & Self
Psychic TV was first formed in 1982 by Genesis P-Orridge of Throbbing Gristle fame, and Alex Fergusson. While they take some elements from the members previous works, drawing from the rebellious spirit and avant-garde experimentation with them, it also sounds wholly unique. It brings in influence from pop music, creating this artsy yet dance-able sound that you could imagine hearing on an alternative radio station. This album is absolutely fantastic, and I can’t recommend it enough.
.Check out the track Godstar
Artist: Modest Mouse
Album: We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank
This is one of my favorite concept albums. It has a nautical theme to each song, following the crew of a ship, who die in each and every track. During this period of the band’s career, Johnny Marr, originally of The Smiths, became a full-fledged member and participated heavily in the creation process. The result feels quite fantastical and grand, but still mysterious and dark.
Check out the track March Into The Sea
This is a double album of remixes of some of the most iconic songs from legendary “krautrock” outfit, CAN. These remixes come from artists both obscure and reknowned, with the biggest names being Sonic Youth, who remixed the song Spoon, and Brian Eno, who remixed Pnoom. The record has a slight IDM and trip-hop feel to it, and if you put this in a playlist with Aphex Twin and Massive Attack, it would feel right at home..
Check out the track Vitamin C U.N.K.L.E. Remix
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!