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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’re celebrating Women in music and Women in business right here in the Oak Park Arts District!  Check out all the cool things happening for WOW! (Women Owned Works) this weekend!

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!

Even though Val’s is currently run by some guys, we will always honor the legacy of this store and its founder (it’s right there in the name!)  That said it feels appropriate to reach out to women in our community for input here!

Artist: Nilûfer Yanya

Album: Painless

Contributor: Stacy

(L’Institut Français d’Oak Park)

Nilûfer Yanya is a breath of fresh air in this spring of 2022. On her new album, Painless, she gives us catchy tunes that make you want to dance as well as some more soulful songs. Her guitarwork is clever and eclectic and feels “honest”, which is the word that comes to mind to describe the feeling of freshness I get when listening to her.

About L’Institut Francais d’Oak Park: Stacy Fifer, Ph.D, is an Oak Park resident who started l’Institut français d’Oak Park in 2016 after teaching French at the university level. Located in the Oak Park Arts District, l’Institut français d’Oak Park offers professionally taught, accessible French courses for adult and mature teen learners of French. L’Institut provides all levels of conversation courses, grammar and composition courses, and French and Francophone literature and culture courses in online and in-person formats.

Visit l’Institut français d’Oak Park in person at 11 Harrison Street, online at, on Instagram at institut_francais_oak_park, and on Facebook at @institutfrancaisoakpark.

Check Out The Track Stabalise

Artist: Emmylou Harris

Album: Wrecking Ball

Contributors: Kate, Kim & Laurel

(Bead In Hand)

About Bead In Hand: Shopping at Bead in Hand can be an overwhelming experience- so many beads, so many findings, so many choices and directions to go when creating your own jewelry- so we try to make the experience as laid back and enjoyable as possible. We know we’ve truly succeeded when customers are humming, singing along or even doing a little shimmy to the music coming over the speakers. We often walk around snapping and clapping ourselves. What do we listen to? Mostly, store-appropriate, middle-aged lady music! On CDs- some of which seem like they’ve been in the shop since it opened in 1993. We’re modern (wink, wink) and burn mixes too! Asked to name favorite female artists that we play at BIH, owner Kim Humphrey cites the Indigo Girls and Bonnie Raitt. Kate adds Carole King, Linda Ronstadt, Adele, Carly Simon, Ella Fitzgerald, Joni Mitchell and Cass Elliot. Laurel chimes in with Kate Bush, Suzanne Vega, Billie Holiday, Eilen Jewel, Dusty Springfield, Patsy Cline, Lucinda Williams and Etta James. Joann likes Nanci Griffith and Emmy Lou Harris- neither of whom we currently have on our CD shelf but can probably pick up at Val’s. When you drop in to shop, we hope you too feel comfortable enough to hum, sing or shimmy. Just don’t get too wild and spill your bowl of beads.

Check Out The Track Wrecking Ball

Artist: Indigo Girls

Album: Indigo Girls

Contributor: Caty

(Centre Physical Therapy)

The Indigo Girls self-titled album brings me back to my dorm days in college and hanging with all the women that shaped my life!

About Centre Physical Thearpy: At Centre Physical Therapy, we’re in the people business, which is why everything we do revolves around providing you better, more complete care. Our human-centered practice means that you receive hands-on care from professionals who are invested in your goals. We pride ourselves on a holistic, researched-based approach to your health, and have designed our practice to accommodate the needs of our patients above all else. In order to deliver on this promise, we ensure attentive communication and one-on-one guidance from our expert staff. Because we believe that you deserve to live a life that moves you.

Check Out The Track Closer To Fine

Artist: Sinead O’Connor

Album: I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got

Contributor: Laura

(The Buzz Cafe)

This album inspired my independence as I was nearing the end of college and making major life decisions.

Undoubtedly, Sinead spurred me to move away from everything I have ever known, to the great unknown–Oak Park!
About The Buzz Cafe
Laura and her husband Andrew founded Buzz Café in 1998.  Good food, great coffee, community and family are the foundations of this Oak Park treasure. For over 20 years Buzz Café has been a vibrant part of the Oak Park Arts District showcasing local art and music, serving as a community center and let’s not forget that delicious food and coffee!

Check Out The Track Jump In The River

Artist: Judy Collins

Album: Whales & Nightingales

Contributor: Ann

(Purple Sun Arts)

My favorite female Artist is Judy Collins who wrote calming but timely music and song in the turbulent late 60’s and early 70’s. My favorite album by her is Whales and Nightingales featuring Farewell to Tarwathie. While it’s a folktale about the whaling industry, it’s haunting music and actual whale songs speak to the soul of the times, with the social actions of the beginnings of earth friendly and peace movements. Attending De Paul University at the time, I was swept up in these movements which were life changing for me, having grown up in a sheltered small town in Wisconsin. If I remember correctly, as I no longer have this vinyl record, side 2 was all whale songs. 

About Purple Sun Arts:

Hi! I’m Ann Viernes, owner of Purple Sun Arts LLC at 142 Harrison Street in the Oak Park Arts District. I opened Purple Sun Arts in October of 2020 because I wanted to add to and be part of the beauty of the Arts District. My vision is to be an art gallery, studio, boutique, and creative learning center. I believe everyone has an inner artist within, and to aid in that discovery, I offer sessions in Cosmic Smashbooking, a fusion of art journaling and intuitive creativity, where we create from scratch a journal, a vessel to take home and continue the process. Part of my vision is to curate the art work of others, and now that the restrictive pandemic is morphing into a less restrictive endemic, my studio will finally be ready to display artist’s work for their friends to come and celebrate them in a public viewing.

@purplesunarts will celebrate WOW! March 19th with 10% off items with the color yellow, 11am-5pm.

Visit my FB page at Purple Sun Arts, Instagram and my webpage where you can register for Cosmic Smashbooking sessions.


Check Out The Track Farewell To Tarwathie

Artist: Mary Chapin Carpenter

Album: Come On, Come On

Contributor: Gigi

(The Actor’s Garden)

The album choice is tricky. Because my favorite song is not on my favorite album. (Shayne note: “We’ll allow it because it’s all great.”)

C’mon C’mon is my favorite album because it was the one my husband Dave and I listened to every day the first year we were married!  We didn’t really know her music very well, but we went to a concert of hers when we were living in Columbia, Missouri.  I think we got the tickets for free. The concert venue was about half-full and we couldn’t understand why because after hearing the first few songs we knew she was something special. Only a few months later, she was nominated for every country music award that year. Though I am still not convinced her music falls in the country genre.  All I know for sure is that she is my go-to music.

About The Actor’s Garden: Located at 909 S. Lombard Avenue, is about planting the seeds of interest in the creative soul in all of us. At The Actors Garden everyone has an opportunity to find confidence in themselves as they discover the joy of theatre and the community it builds .

Check Out The Track Down At The Twist And Shout

Artist: Diamanda Galas

Album: The Litanies Of Satan

Diamanda Galas is a true original.  A Goth icon, performance artist, activist, almost too many things to name!  Vocally she is a “soprano sfogato” which I can’t even pretend to have been aware of prior to this writing, but her dynamic range and refusal to follow norms makes for unique and challenging material whether it be opera, blues, etc.  It should be no surprise that over the years her distinct voice has been used to add a touch of flavor to several horror movies.

Check out the track The Litanies Of Satan

Artist: Mazzy Star

Album: So Tonight That I Might See

Hope Sandoval is right up there for me in terms of “celebrity crushes.” Taking over vocal duties for Opal when she was just a teenager, her angelic voice became the new bands calling card.  Despite being undeniably gorgeous and singing with a breathy, seductive style that is knee-buckling, she never liked the light of the stage apparently, preferring to perform in the dark and rarely addressing the audience.  I think there is a lesson in empathy there. You never really know someone else’s mind.

Check out the track Fade Into You

Artist: The Real Roxanne

Album: Romeo

I’m embarrassed to admit that I was somehow unaware of the “Roxanne Wars” until this record came in recently.  If like me you’re unfamiliar, this was kind of a big deal in the mid-80’s?  After the group U.T.F.O. had succes with their song “Roxanne, Roxanne” they were scheduled to perform on a radio program but didn’t show.  As a result, 14 year old Lolita Shanté Gooden suggested that she would make an “answer back” song and took on the moniker of Roxanne Shante.  In response U.T.F.O. promoted their own “Real Roxanne” with Elease Jack.  This feud even inspired a recent film Mahershala Ali and music by RZA?  How did I miss all of this?!

All that said, the track I’m featuring is the 12″ that brought it to my attention despite not being part of that storyline.

Check out the track Romeo (Part I)

Artist: Backxwash

I briefly mentioned this record in my favorite albums of 2021 list, but I want to give this one its spotlight and give it the complete write-up it deserves. Backxwash is making some of the most compelling modern industrial music, blending industrial hip hop and industrial metal. This album is brutally heavy and dark, with lyrics that deal with her experience as a black transgender woman. The grim distorted soundscapes create some of the most intense abrasive sounds that industrial has had in a while. I highly recommend this album to fans of the darker side of industrial hop.

Check out the track In Thy Holy Name


Artist: Helen Merrill
Album: Helen Merrill

I felt the need to accent my extremely heavy pick of the Backxwash record with a much lighter and smoother selection. This record is a masterful Vocal Jazz album. Helen’s voice floats over the Quincy Jones arranged music, with the beautiful trumpet playing of Clifford Brown accenting it. This record is a go-to when I want a jazz album to listen to and just lounge with. Her voice is just so soft yet so powerful, in a way that I am just in awe of. Check out the track Don’t Explain, and sit back and relax. 

Check out the track Don’t Explain

Artist: The Nurse
Album: Discography 1983-1984

I stumbled across this album on a list of hardcore punk records, and for some reason it caught my attention. The cover seemed incredible, and the brief description I read also intrigued me. The Nurse was an all-female hardcore punk band from Japan formed in the 80s. This is some astounding DIY hardcore and was a super cool find, and I would highly recommend checking it out. 

Check out the track Time Limit

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!

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