VINYL VIEWS: WEEK OF 2/8/21
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 the daddy/daughter duo of Jay and Addie Zawaski.
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We are thrilled to have the amazing father and daughter team of Jay and Addie Zawaski join us as guest contributors for Vinyl Views this week.
Jay Zawaski: I am an Executive Producer at 670 The Score in Chicago, the author of “The Big 50: The Men and Moments that Made the Chicago Blackhawks,” and the host of two podcasts…The Madhouse Chicago Hockey Podcast and The I’m Fat Podcast. I also host an online country music show for Gimme Country. I’m on Twitter @jayzawaski670 or you can find everything at linktr.ee/jayzawaski.
Addie Zawaski: I am 10 years old, I live in Homewood IL. I play piano, violin, and sing in choir. I also like to play softball with my friends.
My favorite place to go on vacation is Nashville, Tennessee. I have been to the Country Music Hall of Fame twice and have met Sarah Shook, Chicago Bandits softball player Courtney Gano, and someday hope to meet Dolly Parton and Kacey Musgraves.
Artist: Dolly Parton
Album: Coat of Many Colors
Addie: I chose this record because Dolly Parton is very special to me. Her impact on the world has been incredible, and it seems like people are just finding out about her contributions now. This record, and especially the song, Coat of Many Colors, perfectly define Dolly Parton as a person. She grew up poor, and her parents didn’t have money to buy her new clothes, so her mother gathered some rags, and made a coat for Dolly. Even though some kids made fun of Dolly’s coat, she loved it, because it was made with love and care by her mother. In Dolly’s eyes, no store-bought coat could be more valuable.
Dolly’s positive outlook on the coat and on life in general, is inspiring to me.
Check out the track Coat of Many Colors.
Artist: Tori Amos
Album: Under the Pink
Jay: 1994 was a difficult year for me, personally. As a sophomore in high school, I found myself struggling with who I was and who I wanted to be, and often those things didn’t agree with each other. That summer, I spent a lot of time with my friend Kate, a natural musician and a lover of music most teenagers didn’t listen to at the time. She introduced me to Harry Chapin and several other artists of the sort, but there was a new artist she wanted to play for me. She hit play on Tori Amos’ Under the Pink record, and, as cliche as it sounds, that was the moment everything changed for me. While I know Tori was not writing a record for a 14-year-old privileged white kid from the suburbs, that’s how it felt. It was really the first time I had heard aggression and frustration and fear expressed in an artistic and graceful way. Before this record, I turned to heavy metal bands (many of which I still enjoy) to get my frustrations and emotions out, but it never really seemed to work for me. It was a momentary burst, usually followed by a very low drop. Tori Amos’ records changed my musical trajectory for the rest of my life.
From the opening notes of Pretty Good Year, the record’s opening track, I was hooked. It’s unquestionably beautiful music, but halfway through the song, Tori lets out an abrupt, “Well…hey…what’s it’s gonna take for my baby to arrive,” delivered with fury and frustration, then everything immediately calms down again. That was all it took. These bursts of fury happen all over the record, and often just after you’ve let your guard down a bit. In ‘The Waitress,’ Tori wails, “But I believe in peace, bitch,” moments after lulling you into a false sense of security from the song’s droning and slow intro.
One of the “hits” from this record is ‘God.’ As a kid who grew up Catholic, hearing the lyrics, “God, sometimes you just don’t come through,” resonated heavily. But at 14, it was a feeling I felt I needed to hide away and never ever dare express aloud. Tori did it for me.
To this day, when people ask me what my favorite record is, Under the Pink is the response.
Check out the track Pretty Good Year.
Artist: John Prine
Album: The Missing Years
Jay: I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I’m a relatively new fan of John Prine’s. I don’t know what took me so long, but I like to say, “I found John Prine when I needed him most.” I was 39 or 40 (I’m 43 now), happily married with a kid, probably dealing with a mid-life crisis of sorts. I’ve had the same full-time job since before I graduated college. The security is great, but I found myself wondering what was next for me. Is this all my life is going to be? I was also dealing with a recent and tragic loss in my life, and just felt sort of stuck in neutral. John Prine has a way of turning a phrase in such a clever way. There are times where I’ll catch a lyric for the first time and laugh, or sigh, or just say…huh…out loud. Prine’s music being so relatable, so funny, so down-to-earth, really helped me, the 40 something suburban dad, feel not so alone.
I could have chosen any Prine record, really, but I chose The Missing Years because it features my favorite Prine song, ‘Everything is Cool.’ It’s become my centering song over the last few years. Whatever my mood is, I can put this song on and get back to neutral, or as Prine calls it, ‘The Valley of the Unconcerned.’ In fact, right after I heard this song for the first time, I saw this story in Pitchfork. The author describes how, like me, this song is a bit of a shapeshifter, fitting life’s happiest and saddest moments somehow simultaneously. That’s the magic of John Prine’s music.
Check out the track Everything Is Cool.
Artist: Dolores O’Riordan
Album: No Baggage
Surprise, surprise! I will champion this entire discography. Solo or otherwise. Something about that voice will always cut through to me. People sleep on the late Cranberries albums & don’t even realize Dolores made more. “Apple Of My Eye” appears on both solo albums and is a great song both times. This is the one for me though.
Check out the track Tranquilizer.
Album: His N’ Hers
We all agree that Jarvis Cocker is the definition of sexy right? I sure hope so cause otherwise, this will not track. This album seems to be when he realized it and went all in! It’s not as poignant as “Different Class” or my fave, “This Is Hardcore”, but this is Pulp at its horniest & angriest. Makes for a lotta mixtapes.
Check out the track Pink Glove.
Everyone has had plenty of opportunities and encouragement for Souvlaki. Stopping there is foolish. Pygmalion is somehow dreamier? This album is what bubble baths sound like.
Check out the track Blue Skied An’ Clear.
Artist: The Microphones
Album: The Glow, Pt. 2
This album is a Lo-Fi masterpiece. It may not be the cleanest album as there are audible mistakes and many other blemishes. These things simply don’t take away from the listening experience. If anything they somehow add to it. The Glow, Pt 2 flows beautifully from droning sounds to driving beats, from being quite sparse and pretty to extremely noisy. To properly experience this album, you really need to listen to it in its entirety, but if I had to pick a song, I would choose the opening track, I Want Wind to Blow.
Check out the track I Want Wind to Blow.
Artist: The Chocolate Watch Band
Album: The Inner Mystique
This album is a really fun listen. The Chocolate Watch Band was a Garage Rock/Psychedelic band beginning in the 1960s. The first half of this album contains a lot of really spaced out middle-eastern inspired tracks, layered with reverb. It is quite relaxing and a lot of fun. But this sound does not outstay its welcome, because the second half of this album, while still being layered in reverb, is more garage-rock inspired, with many covers that almost every garage band takes a stab at. I would HIGHLY recommend checking out the cover of Bob Dylan’s Baby Blue.
Check out the track Baby Blue.
Artist: Tyler the Creator
I would put my money on this album being dubbed as a “classic” when we look back from the future. It is a quintessential break-up album and probably my favorite hip hop album released in the past 5 years. I cannot recommend this album enough. It has fantastic features, production, and is my favorite recording created by Tyler.
Check out the track What’s Good.
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!