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“Hello, Boils & Ghouls! SPOOPY VINYL VIEWS is our CREEPY blog where we feature album recommendations from our SCREAM TEAM”  – SHAYNE “THE SKINWALKER” & JAXON “STILL AT LARGE”, and also from our GUEST UNDERTAKERS.

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Hayley is a Chicago-area theatre director and actor. She is a graduate of Illinois Wesleyan University with a BFA in Theatre Arts. She’s been seen at such theaters as The Factory Theater, First Folio Theatre, AstonRep, The Mammals, Focal Point Theatre Company, Illinois Theatre Center, LiveWire Theatre, Prairie Fire Children’s Theatre and Rogue Theater, among others. She has also directed at First Folio Theatre, Babes With Blades Theatre Company, Focal Point Theatre, and others. She is the Artistic Director of Babes With Blades Theatre Company and Advising Artistic Consultant for First Folio Theatre.

She’s an odd, loud soul who loves Halloween, gothic makeup looks, her spouse Scott Leaton and her dog, Special Agent Dale Cooper.

Artist: Coven
Album: Witchcraft Destroys Minds & Reaps Souls

Picture it! Chicago, 1969. You and your mellow hippy friends are in Old Town, about to go see some local folk bands. You slide into a smokey club, expecting the latest clone of The Weavers. Instead, you get a proto-Stevie Nicks crying out stories of magical women oppressed by and taking revenge against, small-minded men. You’re surrounded by skulls, pentagrams, and hellfire. Instead of the dulcet tones of The Kingston Trio, you get occult rock a year before Black Sabbath releases their first album. Congrats, my hippy friend, you just learned that Witchcraft Destroys Minds & Reaps Souls. You just met COVEN.

Coven’s first album was an early victim of “Satanic Panic”, due to its very occult themes and the fact that it came out around the same time as all that Manson Family business. The label pulled this album from the shelves very quickly and distanced themselves even faster.

Is this a perfect album? Oh, dark lord, no. But it is a great album to have around this time of year. It also deserves so much credit for committing to (and possibly believing in) the Black-Magic themes that other, male-fronted bands of this time just sort of tiptoed around (looking at you, Led Zeppelin). 

Check out the track Black Sabbath.


Artist: The Cramps
Album: Songs the Lord Taught Us

F**k me. I love The Cramps.
I could probably end the summary right there, but Shayne knows where I live, so….

For those unfamiliar with the band – a pair of nerdy weirdos who loved comics, obscure records, and b-movies met while hitchhiking, fell in love, got married, picked cool new names (Lux Interior and Poison Ivy Rorschach) and started a band. A classic love story.

I’ve heard some folks try to disparage The Cramps by saying “they’re just a cover band”. Those people are not worth my time or yours. Is there some stuff they did that, in retrospect, wasn’t in “good taste” or “a good idea”? For sure. But their blend of blood, sex, and camp on top of some slinky, junk-shaking riffs just brings me joy. I went with their first album, Songs the Lord Taught Us because it probably has the most, and best, Halloween-themed songs per capita of their albums. Also, as a former catholic, the album name always gives me a giggle.

Check out the track I Was a Teenage Werewolf.


Artist: Goblin
Album: Suspiria

As my Grandma used to say, it ain’t Halloween without Italian prog-rockers hissing at you.

Alright. So, once upon a time, an Italian progressive rock band was approached by a director of awesome, bloody, hyper-colorful films (who also has some MAJOR issues with women). His name was Dario Argento. He wanted that band, known as Goblin, to provide the soundtrack to his upcoming film Profondo Rosso (a much different movie than the similarly titled film Porco Rosso. Do not make the mistake I made.)

After these guys cut their teeth on this first soundtrack, they were more than ready when Argento asked them to collaborate on his next film: Suspira. It is a tale of ballet school and ancient witch gods and, like, frankly…. The plot doesn’t matter. To me, the movie is all about the visuals, mood, and the music. This movie wouldn’t be half the film it is without Goblin’s creepy, shrieky, clashing, haunting score. And the fact that songs from this soundtrack hold their own as spooky ephemera, without the movie’s visuals, speaks volumes to Goblin’s understanding of tone as well as their skill as musicians.

Apparently, Goblin toured through Chicago a few years back, playing this soundtrack in full. I missed that show, and it haunts me….

Check out the track Suspiria (Originale).


Artist: Aqua
Album: Aquarius

Yes, THAT Aqua and no this isn’t that album. Another tip o’ the hat to Cristina for educating me on how much damn fun this group is beyond “Barbie Girl.” While quite successful elsewhere they were relegated to “One Hit Wonder” status here, which is truly unfortunate since that’s far from their best song. There’s nothing to make fun of when you realize the schtick is intentional. 

Check out the track Halloween.


Artist: Jack Kittell
Album: Psycho

Originally written and recorded by Leon Payne (who wrote for the likes of Hank Williams among other legends) this song was a complete obscurity until Jack Kittell covered it delivering the definitive version 5 years later. Even then the success was arguably more a result of Dr. Demento favoring it (a badge of honor anyone should be proud of.) And demented it is! How this song ever came into existence is a mystery and that it got a remaster THIS YEAR blows my mind!

Check out the track Psycho.


Artist: Throbbing Gristle
Album: D.o.A. The Third and Final Report of Throbbing Gristle

Of course Throbbing Gristle would make an appearance here! I appreciate that Jaxon (Still At Large) was gracious enough to save them for me. TG were pioneers in every sense and so far ahead of their time we still haven’t caught up to them 45 years later. This track from their second album “Third and Final Report”, following “Second Annual Report” (it’s a whole thing) is arguably the most horrific song ever recorded. The lyrics are taken from actual correspondence from a doctor about a severe burn victim who was so terribly disfigured that much of the staff couldn’t stomach it. Cheery stuff!

Check out the track Hamburger Lady.

Artist: The Misfits
Album: Static Age

This album has an interesting backstory. The recording of the album was funded because Capital Records used the name “Blank Records”, a name owned by the Misfits for a Pere Ubu record. The legal battle was eventually settled by Capital Records giving The Misfits recording time. The album was initially scrapped and wasn’t released until the 90’s, more than 20 years later. It would have been their debut album, but instead, it is one of their later albums.

I could have picked any album from their discography for Halloween, but Static Age is my favorite. There are some amazing horror-inspired punk songs on this album, such as “Teenagers from Mars” and “Return of the Fly”. But make sure to check out the track “Hybrid Moments”, one of my all-time favorite punk songs.

Check out the track Hybrid Moments.


Artist: Soft Cell
Album: Mutant Moments

Almost everyone is familiar with the song “Tainted Love”, and the album it comes from, Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret. It is one of the best new wave albums of all time. But people often overlook their early work, and that’s a shame. It falls into the category of the dark, slightly industrial side of new wave. This entire EP has a slightly spooky vibe to it. Check out my favorite song from this great EP, Metro MRX.

Check out the track Metro MRX.


Artist: Death Spells
Album: Nothing Above, Nothing Below

This album is for all of you people just getting into industrial, or anyone looking for something new (and amazing). While sounding more like the entry-level industrial bands, it is still quite interesting. It uses very bouncy, yet aggressive synthesizers with extremely distorted vocals. Death Spells gave the album interesting dynamics by including some sweet and pretty interludes to offset the darker moments. The lyrics are straight up dark and the album cover is creepy making this a perfect Halloween selection. 

Check out the track Hell All-American.

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.

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