Skip to content Skip to footer


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 NOEL DIVAD who will be performing here February 19th!

Scroll down to read this week’s album picks or start shopping!  Sign up now to be a part of our Vinyl Views family and be the first to hear about new releases, store events, and exclusive promotions.  Looking for a prior week of Vinyl Views?  If so, CLICK HERE!

20 years ago, I picked up an electric guitar, and haven’t looked back since. For some, it’s a phase. For me, it’s a way of life. From the cosmic whimsy of Pink Floyd, to the brooding melancholy of Nirvana, from the righteous riffs of Jimi Hendrix, to the dark vibes of Ministry. I am a 4th generation guitarist who believes that if Rock is dead, then I’m a proud zombie. After spending a decade in the Chicago Industrial scene in a band called Grainshifter, me and my drummer, one DJ Michiels, have retained a touch of the electronica element, but have gone back to our Rock roots. Some might call it prog, some might call it alternative, I call it the meaning of life

Artist: Nine Inch Nails
Album: The Fragile

This double album dropped at a very important time for me. I was just learning how to play guitar, and the instrumentation on this record really broadened my views on what songs could be, especially considering the music of the time. No one else in 1999 was making music quite like this. Off-time signatures, cello, jazz piano, and the fiercest guitar tones and danciest syncopated beats ever recorded. My favorite track on this album is actually an instrumental, “Just Like You Imagined.”

Check out the song Just Like You Imagined

Artist: Tool
Album: Lateralus

Just like the above, this album hit me in a very musically developmental stage in my life. When I first heard “Schism” on the radio, I thought it was a bit long. Where the hell is the chorus? But after repeated listenings, it just gets deeper and more poignant. The whole record does. This is what I put on when I’m having a shit day and I need to meditate and chill out. Songs like “Parabola” and “The Patient” are great for that, but today I’m gonna go with the 11 minute epic “Reflection” as my favorite. I swear this song makes me feel the touch of God.

Check out the track Reflection

Artist: Smashing Pumpkins
Album: Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness

I gotta show some love for a Chicago band! Although at the time this was released, I was an 8 year old living in Miami. Like my other two picks, This album shows an ambition that can not be denied. The guitar tones Flood got on this record are ridiculous. I read somewhere that they did over 100 guitar tracks on “Thru the Eyes of Ruby.” The music video for “Tonight Tonight” forever altered the course of my life. Years later, I’d discover the George Milies film it was based on. My favorite track on this album is the hauntingly romantic “Galapagos.”

Check out the track Galapagos

Artist: Angelo Badalamenti
Album: Twin Peaks Season 2

Coming one step closer to completing my Twin Peaks collection, we recently got our hands on this beauty released as an RSD exclusive during the unfortunate time when I was unable to order such things. While this is certainly not my favorite of the lot musically it’s maybe the best in terms of presentation.  I may have scandalized some folks with my guttural groans upon opening it up.  Beautiful blue and green records, a super cool promotional flat, a giant book filled with photos (no doubt I would have torn Sherilyn Fenn out for my wall years ago.) The tail end of the album includes an odd coded voice-over that Jaxon discovered was originally a hidden track on the CD that would lead you to a website with yet another hidden track!  Such Lynch-y goodness! But truly the centerpiece of this delicious collection is the original version of James Hurley’s seminal classic “Just You.”

Check out the track: Just You


Artist: Bit Brigade
Album: Mega Man II

Making music seems plenty hard to me as is but Bit Brigade increases the difficulty in a fascinating way. Covering the awesome 8-bit video game soundtracks of our sugar cereal soaked youth in face melting guitar riffs would be plenty, but then to have a member play the game through perfectly while the band performs said music LIVE?!  That takes confidence.

Check out the track: Dr. Wily’s Castle

Artist: Asylum Street Spankers
Album: God’s Favorite Sampler

I could have included this last week when discussing “claimed store copies” as this non-album promo came to my attention that way.  I’d never heard of them before but the name certainly got my attention. What I discovered was an outrageously fun country/blues/novelty band that clearly know how good they are and just want to have a good time.  Understandably praised for their live shows, they disbanded in 2011 and I never had the pleasure to see them cause it really looks like it would be a blast.  From Gilbert & Sullivan to Tom Lehrer to Animaniacs to Outkast to this right here, I simply can’t resist a good patter song!

Check out the track: Beer

Artist: Your Arms Are My Cocoon
Album: Your Arms Are My Cocoon

This album is definitely an example of a record that took a few listens to truly click with me. It blends Bedroom Pop with Screamo in a unique way that feels super new. Instrumentally it’s much softer than the majority of emo, with clean guitar tones and super dreamy floaty atmospheres, but this creates a huge contrast with the painful screeches that make up the majority of the vocals. This contrast felt kind of off putting to me at first, but it grew on me, and now feels super interesting and unique. If you are into this style of music, I would highly recommend checking out the track Illinois//alberta

Check out the track Illinois//alberta


Artist: Guitar Fight From Fooly Cooly
Album: Soak

One of my favorite artists that you probably haven’t heard of is Heccra, and his influence on Guitar Fight From Fooly Cooly is fairly clear. I am super excited to see new bands finally build from the unique sound that Heccra had pioneered over half a decade earlier. This album plays into trying to give off feelings of nostalgia, even though it only came out a bit over a year ago. This record is a super fun listen and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is interested with what is going on in the underground emo scene.

Check out the track Middle Of Night Middle Of Night


Artist: Lobsterfight
Album: Pink, Black, And Orange in The Corners

This record is one of the more abstract pieces from this newest wave of emo. Sounding like a DIY produced American Football inspired Acid Trip, it’s sloppy in all the right ways. It feels very personal, and is the kind of thing that only could have been able to find an audience in the internet age, as it is quite niche. With a lot of artificial sounding distortion, it sounds distinctly modern, and only could have been made in this modern era of DIY music production.

Check out the track MOONPIE! (biggerstaff)

How Do I Order Music (Or Other Things)?

Val’s is now open again (safely)! Be sure to wear a mask and keep safe social distancing, of course.  Val’s halla has thousands of titles in its Online Store and we continue to add inventory everyday.  Can’t find what you are looking for?  Just let us know and we are happy to look through our off-line inventory of over 50,000 titles.  Also, we place orders with our record distributors 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?