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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 Brett Miller of Killer Robots!

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Brett Miller (aka Killer Robot Brett, KRB, Brett Devol) is a founding member, bassist and backing vocalist for KILLER ROBOTS, a two-piece rock band consisting of bass and drums. 

KILLER ROBOTS recently finished filming a music video for their latest song “Cooler By The Lake” at Val’s Halla as well as other iconic Chicago locations. The song provides an honest, sarcastic and tongue-in-cheek perspective on Chicago. “Cooler By The Lake” was written as a rock/pop tune with a killer bass riff and a sing-along chorus that hopefully will get stuck in your head (in a good way).

Check out KILLER ROBOTS on SoundCloud and be on the lookout for more KILLER ROBOTS music, videos and other exciting stuff.


Artist: Scorpions
Album: World Wide Live

With live music happening once again, my thoughts go back to the first show I experienced, The Scorpions. It was the 80’s, heavy metal was ruling the scene and you were either in it or against it. Concerts were general admission and you could literally fight your way to the front row. I walked out of that show with bruises on my chest from the barricades at the front of the stage, ears ringing and a drumstick that Klaus threw to me after hitting his cowbell a few times.  Luckily for me (and countless others), that tour was captured on the double album World Wide Live. With this album I am able to relive this time in my past that helped form who I am today. If you like live hard rock albums, this is a really good one. Make sure you pick it up on vinyl, as the CD could not hold all the songs. And there are some awesome photos on the album jacket and record sleeves.

Check out the track The Zoo.

Artist: Jaco Pastorius
Album: The Birthday Concert

From the perspective of this bass player, Jaco’s playing on this album is mind-blowing, moving, inspirational and, dare I say, life altering. Jaco has been crowned as one of the greatest (if not the greatest) bass player of all time for good reason.

The Birthday Album highlights Jaco’s chops, spirit and magic. When listening to this album I can picture Jaco on stage with his fingers effortlessly traveling up and down that fretless neck not missing a note or a phrase. I can’t help but get up and move (and play a bit of air bass) during the first track and the last track makes me feel like saluting and crying at the same. It is a musical journey from beginning to end. Beyond the music, Jaco’s story is a cautionary tale of untreated mental illness that burned out a brilliant light before it was time. RIP Jaco. Know that your music lives on.

Check out the track  Soul Intro/The Chicken.



Artist: Alice Cooper
Album: From The Inside

The father of “Shock Rock” collaborates with the other half of the rocket man (Bernie Taupin) after a stint in a mental institution. “Benny And The Jets” meets “Dead Babies”. “Candle In The Wind” meets “Cold Ethyl”. I could not create a more bizarre and better cocktail.  Critics be damned. This album engages and entertains me every time I pull it out.  Opening the double gatefold album cover reminds me of when album cover art mattered and added another dimension to the listening experience. The songs are so catchy that after years of not listening to it I can drop the needle and know every lyric. It takes me back to my room as a kid listening to it and being transported into yet another Alice Cooper universe…only this time the universe was something he actually experienced. This makes From The Inside all the more disturbing and thoroughly fascinating. 

.Check out the track Inmates (We’re All Crazy)

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 Torture The Co-workers.


From: Shayne:

This week’s playlist is dedicated to the songs I love that drive Jaxon & Trevor up the wall, from Monster Ballads to 90’s dance music.  When Jaxon takes too long to pick something to play, the countdown starts before I drop the needle on Wilson Phillips!

Access the Spotify Playlist Here =>   

Wilson Phillips

Song: You’re In Love.


Amy Grant

Song: Baby Baby.


Mr. Big

Song: To Be With You


Paula Abdul

Song: Rush Rush



Song: Jellyhead


Vanessa Williams

Song: Save The Best For Last


Toni Braxton 

Song: Breathe Again


Shania Twain

Song: Man! I Feel Like A Woman



Song: I Love Your Smile


Mr. President

Song: Coco Jambo


Artist: Los Saicos
Album: Demolicion: The Complete Recordings

Los Saicos were a really cool garage rock band that formed in the mid 60s in Peru. Their sound totally emulated the punk energy that the bands that followed them would have, including intense almost screamed vocals, fast tempos, and crunchy guitars. This is a collection of all of there songs, which were originally only released as singles. This is one of the first albums that come to mind whenever anyone asks me for either garage rock or Spanish rock recommendations, and I feel like it deserves more recognition than it gets. So I decided to put it in a vinyl views, in attempt to put at least a few eyes on this hidden gem.

.Check out the track Demolicon


Artist: Mahavishnu Orchestra
Album: Inner Mounting Flame

Jazz fusion is a genre that I have a very mixed opinions on. Many of the albums under the jazz fusion umbrella I find kind of cheesy, and struggle to get into. This record, on the other hand, I love. All of the musicians here, especially John McLaughlin, are absolutely phenomenal, and every single note feels perfectly executed. Listening to it feels like a fantastical adventure in some Middle Earth like land. Everything just sounds so grand and epic. I would highly recommend this album to anyone who isn’t familiar with it at this point.

Check out the track Noonward Race


Artist: Strawberry Switchblade
Album: Strawberry Switchblade

Strawberry Switchblade were a new wave duo that came out of the Glasgow alternative and punk scene in the 80s. Many of their peers in the scene had a more dark sound, but theirs had a more bubbly sound to it. This album is a synth pop masterpiece, and is extremely underrated. If you are into 80s synth pop or new wave, you have to check this out.

Check out the track Since Yesterday

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?