VINYL VIEWS: WEEK OF 3/7/22
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 “Willis Adler” who seemed to think he would need my permission to stock his new book at the store. Silly Boy!
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Willis Adler is a local author and screenwriter who honed his storytelling chops working on the mean streets of Los Angeles (the studio system in the valley).
He recently published his first book (for sale now at Val’s!) called, This Band Will Save Your Life, which is the story of a teenage loner who finds his purpose when he’s chosen to join a mythical underground punk band that battles the forces of evil. A blend of horror, adventure and coming-of-age, as if Goosebumps graduated from junior high then went to high school in a John Hughes movie. It’s about figuring out who you’re meant to be while fighting all the things that scare you.
Willis likes to write stories about growing up so that he doesn’t ever have to and he thinks Val’s is one of the truly magical, timeless places on Earth that must be protected at all costs.
Artist: Holy Fawn
Album: Death Spells
I’ve been habitually listening to music for almost three decades and it’s still incredible to me that I can stumble onto something that isn’t like anything else I’ve ever heard before. There’s a duality to Holy Fawn that simply doesn’t exist in any other band. Their sound is haunting and heavy, beautiful and punishing; like someone kept Sigur Ros locked up in a pitch black basement somewhere until they started to go feral.
Since my book takes place in the Pacific Northwest, and the characters spend a fair bit of time in the gloomy, angry forests there, Death Spells is a record I would listen to almost daily to help me navigate the tricky tonal bridge I was attempting to cross.
While Dark Stone isn’t my favorite song on the album (Seer is, without a doubt), it serves as a worthy introduction. The record is also one that feels best consumed in order, as each song bleeds its energy perfectly into the next.
Check out the track Dark Stone
Artist: The Freeze
Album: Misery Loves Company
In thinking about what the punk band in my book about a punk band should actually sound like, I kept coming back to the era of that music that I’ve always thought was most interesting; the mid to late 80s. To me that’s when punk music stopped just being the thing it had always been and started to become all of the other things that it could be.
With their biting lyrics and big, ferocious guitars, The Freeze were just as integral a part of that evolution as much more well known names like the Descendents, 7 Seconds and Bad Religion. While Misery Loves Company isn’t their strongest overall record, it contains some of their very best songs and showcases what they’re capable of when they hit full throttle.
For anyone who’s a fan of Anything, Anything by Dramarama I would posit that Talking Bombs is its way cooler older brother who took it out one night in its crappy van to drink lukewarm Old Style tallboys in the strip mall parking lot where all the BMX and skater kids hung out.
Check out the track Talking Bombs
Artist: Graveyard Club
Album: Goodnight Paradise
I don’t typically listen to music while I’m writing but sometimes I like to put something on in order to try and trick the front part of my brain into feeling occupied so I can sneak around the back to get at the good stuff. Goodnight Paradise is an almost perfect record for that – nestled snugly in the sweet spot of dreamy, vibrant pop rock and nostalgic new wave – in that it captivates my attention while also allowing my focus to softly blur. Until It Hurts comes on.
It Hurts is a song that, after the first time I heard it, I was instantly mad because I hadn’t been listening to it for my entire life. I would have listened to it every time I decided to wallow in a bittersweet torrent of teenage heartbreak. I would have blasted it at every dance party. I would have listened to it on repeat on the way to my grandfather’s funeral. I would have played it at my wedding. Even after hearing it hundreds of times now I would still be more than happy to put it on repeat all day long, go to bed remembering it, then wake up and immediately start listening to it again.
I also may have created an entire scene and plot point within the book just so I could sneak it in as my own personal Easter egg.
.Check out the track It Hurts
I got some potentially really lousy news recently and I process stress via bathtub & playlist. I usually edit these down and over-scrutinize, but in this case you’re getting raw in the moment, hurt’s so good, bathtub sadness realness! Enjoy?
Artist: Betty Davis
Album: They Say I’m Different
This week for vinyl views, I decided to put my star-shaped sunglasses on and get a tad funky with my picks. Here are 3 of the most remarkable women of funk!
There are no women in funk as absolutely nasty as Betty Davis. Her flavor of funk is just absolutely filthy and uncut and will make your entire body groove uncontrollably. Every aspect of this album just absolutely kills, from Betty’s half screamed vocals, which bring so much energy to the pot, to the funky instrumentals, which make it impossible not to have a “funk face” while listening to it. This record is just excellent, and it is essential listening to fans of funk.
.Check out the track Shoo B Doop And Cop Him
Artist: Brides Of Funkenstein
Album: Funk Or Walk
Check out the track Disco To Go
Artist: Lynn Collins
Album: Think (About It)
How I discovered this record is a story. We got a copy of it at the record store, and neither Shayne nor I knew it. It had an ugly-looking promo sheet taped onto the cover (that I was later able to remove and put in the record’s jacket) that made us unsure if we were going to put it out, but I said we should look it up before getting rid of it. And when I looked it up, I saw that it was going for a relatively large amount of money, which Shayne thought was a fluke. So we decided to play the record for a bit to figure out its deal. We instantly were blown away by the music, but then something we didn’t expect to hear showed up. The record yells out, “It takes two to make a thing go right! It takes two to make it outta sight!”. Shayne and I both turned our necks around and stared at the record, and realized what this was. This whole record is James Brown produced funk bangers! I highly recommend checking this entire album out, but the stand-out track is Think (About It) just because of how many iconic moments that have been sampled over and over again exist on that track.
Check out the track Think (About It)
How Do I Order Music (Or Other Things)?
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 distributors every week. We sell records (as well as turntables), CDs, cassettes, 8-tracks, DVDs and more. 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!