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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 Left Handed Knives, whose new EP is available now!

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Left Handed Knives is an alternative/punk four-piece band from Corpus Christi, Texas that takes its inspiration from the golden age of 90’s west coast punk and pop-punk. Left Handed Knives combines that sound with lyrical content addressing contemporary issues. Their lyrics cover everything from lost love to government corruption. With quick tempos, crunchy guitars, vocal harmonies, and tons of energy Left Handed Knives has a driving sound with a passionate story told. They just released their self-titled debut EP and it can be found on their website, HERE at Val’s, or on all major streaming platforms.

Artist: The Matches
Album: E. Von Dahl Killed The Locals

Tyler (Rhythm Guitar/Lead Vocals):

The Matches hold an interesting place in my life. While I could go into the technicalities of production and unique elements of recording that their music has, I am going to rather discuss the emotional component to my engagement with the band and this album. So, let’s go back. It was 2004 and the summer before my 8th-grade year. My friends and I were headed to Warped Tour. There were many bands I was excited to see that day, Bad Religion, The Bouncing Souls, Guttermouth, etc., but one I had never heard of that a couple of my friends liked was The Matches. I didn’t give much thought to seeing them but was sucked into the day and went along with my friends to check them out on the Smartpunk Stage. I was hooked immediately. The album I chose, E. Von Dahl Killed The Locals had just come out on Epitaph, and they were playing all the songs off of it. After that moment, my fandom, and the rest, was history as they say. I admire The Matches because they built their community from the ground up. They created their L3 scene, Live, Loud, and Local, from nothing and they communicated with fans from across the country. From the days of MySpace to today, they have been creating music, art, and a connection. I also appreciate the growth they had as musicians throughout their discography. They have not been afraid to create music that is outside of the early 2000’s post-pop-punk genre and include new and interesting recording elements working with producers such as Mark Hoppus, Brett Gurewitz, and Tim Armstrong.  I enjoy every album from them. “The Restless” is the song off E. Von Dahl Killed The Locals that I chose, but they are all bangers. Ask me on a different day, and it could be any of the other songs. The 12 track album has intelligent lyrics, catchy melodies, and solid instrumentation. I have listened to this vinyl and CD on full volume many times, in fact, I think it’s best listened to that way. The Matches are still (somewhat) around today. Their lead singer Shawn Harris has lots of other endeavors worth checking out as well. He is now someone I consider a friend. We have met and hung out on occasion, and he borrowed equipment for a last minute local show we set up (something minor really, but something my 14-year-old Warped Tour self would not believe). Again, this goes back to community building and connection with fans and people. I cannot recommend The Matches enough! “The Restless” and E. Von Dahl Killed the Locals is an excellent dose of pop-punk. Give this song, album, and their discography a listen!

Check out the track Restless

Artist: White Denim
Album: Performance

Wayne (Lead Guitar/Vocals):

This offering from White Denim is a continuation of James Petralli and Steve Terebecki’s masterful heady song-crafting and maximized utilization of studio capabilities. White Denim, known for combining elements that range from soul into rock-blues riffs that sometimes run into avant-garde changes, has put forth an effort with Performance that fans will be very satisfied with. The hook-based choruses, which challenge the signature tension-based changes White Denim executes flawlessly, are in no short supply on Performance and very notable in the album’s title track. New persons to this Austin, Texas-based outfit will find this album as a very accessible introduction to the vocal stylings and production technique of Petralli and co. The album’s opening track “Magazin” Is a great attention grabber that settles into a pocket of bass-driven groove. Petralli’s vocals have a Lennon-esque tinge that allows the listener to process the euphony of production elements occurring in the song. As with most White Denim material, the layers presented to the audience in the songs of “Performance” allows for a ‘Choose-your-own-Adventure’ opportunity to buy into the song and production aspects that the band has put to tape.

Check out the track Magazin


Artist: The Interrupters

Album: Fight The Good Fight

TC (Drums/Vocals):

Wow! Ska is not dead! It has just had a massive mainstream revitalization courtesy of the powerful and provocative quartet- The Interrupters. Their latest full length, Fight the Good Fight, is easily one of the best in the punk/ska game in a very long time. Right from the get-go, the opening track, “Title Holder,” hits you square in the jaw with its nostalgic sound and masterfully produced hook, and “Leap of Faith” could have easily jumped off the writing desk of The Specials in the late ’80s! The lead single, “She’s Kerosene,” is nothing short of fire. Everything about this song, in fact, is red hot, the energized up-strokes and walking basslines, the four-way harmonies, the tight pocket drumming, and of course lead singer Aimee Allen and her perfectly raspy and aggressive vocals. The build over the bridge has me practically stage jumping before the final skank every time I hear it, and I often play this song two or three times in a row just to get my fill. “She’s Kerosene” is definitely a hit amongst hits on an album full of them. Fight the Good Fight is an album you will listen to from start to finish, then listen to again because you can’t get enough! 

Check out the track She’s Kerosene

Artist: Various
Album: Shaun Of The Dead

I’ve been harping on Jaxon & Trevor to watch these movies from day one, in honor of them finally (slowly) getting around to it I’ve decided to pay tribute to my favorite film trilogy this week.

A major part of my love for these films is how dense and deliberate everything is.  Everything you see and hear, every line of dialogue and yes every bit of music, informs the plot even when it seems unimportant.  This becomes more and more evident as Edgar Wrights star rose, with Baby Driver being basically a feature length music video and his next project being the delightful Sparks Brothers documentary.  For this entry I was tempted to highlight White Lines with zombie back up, but truly the centerpiece is Don’t Stop Me Now putting a hilarious button on a pretty great action scene following one of the films saddest moments.  It’s a buffet.

Check out the track Don’t Stop Me Now


Artist: Various
Album: Hot Fuzz

The music in Hot Fuzz is less overt than the others, focusing more on the tropes of the genre.  I’d call it restraint but that hardly seems the word when you’re sending up the likes of Bad Boys 2 and Point Break.  That said it still plays a substantial role, and this choice perfectly hints at the darkness beneath the smiling faces.

Check out the track Village Green Preservation Society


Artist: Various
Album: The World’s End

This one sadly seemed to miss a lot of people when it was released, I think partly because it was overshadowed by the higher profile This Is The End theatrically.  However it’s AT LEAST my second favorite movie full stop (I can’t see unseating Back To The Future.) Multiple decorations, articles of clothing, even some cosplay attest to my love of this film.  And the soundtrack is BANANAS! Stone Roses, Sundays, Beautiful South, Blur, Sisters Of Mercy etc. I had to go with Primal Scream here though as the song is used both as a mission statement at the beginning  and a triumphant button in the climax (also it’s a jam.)

Check out the track Loaded

Jaxon is switching it up this week with a custom playlist!  Check it out here or come into the store and listen to it in our Sounderator (tricked out 1940’s refrigerator that you sit in while enjoying a tasty selection of tunes).

From: Jaxon:

This week, as Valentine’s Day approaches, I decided to make a playlist of songs that my girlfriend and I have connected over. Music is something we discuss and bond over fairly often, and was something we connected about when we first met. Things like discovering our shared love for They Might Be Giants, among other artists, was something we discussed before we started dating, and music has continued to be something important to both of us. Here are 8 songs that we have connected over.

Access the Spotify Playlist Here =>   

They Might Be Giants

Song: The House At The Top Of The Tree


Mac Miller

Song: Blue World


Laura Les

Song: Haunted


The Avalanches

Song: Etoh


Thailboy Digital Ft. Ecco2k

Song: Baby


New Order

Song: Blue Monday


Charli XCX

Song: Claws


Machine Girl

Song: Hidden Power


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!

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