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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 Barbie Army who will be performing at What’s Blooming on the 21st!

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Barbie Army were a groundbreaking 80s all-girl punk band in Chicago. A YouTube algorithm brought their music back into public awareness and Berlin-based NoPlan Records released an LP of 19 original songs written between 1986-1990. From the official website: “Barbie Army’s performances were a cross between a pyjama party and a case of raging menstrual cramps. Primitive enthusiasm drenched their sound of fuzz-guitars, bass and drums– at a time when synthesizers dominated the airwaves. They sang three-minute power-chord songs of heartache, alcohol and other concerns of the modern woman. In the  late 1980s, they played Chicago, Wisconsin and Indiana and also two short tours of the South. They also performed at a number of Chicago Blues bars as a “Punk Rock Freak Show.”  They set Barbie dolls’ heads aflame and enjoined lawmakers to abolish the Tampon Tax. They were featured in Maximum Rock-n-Roll magazine at a time when few women were playing electric punk rock. When Courtney Love and the Veruca Salt girls still wore training bras, the Barbies were pathbreakers in Chicago.”

Artist: Ohmme
Album: Parts

Liz Writes:

I’ve been listening to a Chicago band Ohmme, fronted by Macie Stewart and Sima Cunningham. They are a guitar-based rock band that can swerve from noise to beautiful harmony, or sophisticated songwriting to ripping off a guitar solo. It’s great to see younger Chicago women finding their own musical path. Seeing them live in a couple weeks and they are always great.

Check out the song Parts

Artist: The Linda Lindas
Album: Growing Up

Ellen Writes:

It’s interesting the stuff that’s coming out of L.A. now: Billie Eilish and the Linda Lindas are both from northeast L.A. neighborhoods where a lot of my real estate business is… Kind of alternative hoods comparable to Bucktown or Pilsen 30 years ago. Interesting from a “passing the baton” sort of perspective: like an inspiration for young girls who aspire to be musicians or rockers nowadays. Jean adds: I hear the Muffs here, and such a great tribute to Kim Shattuck who was life-changing for me as a songwriter and performer. Videos of the Linda Lindas performing Big Mouth can put me in a good mood for hours. 

Check out the track Growing Up

Artist: Barbie Army
Album: Retrospective 1986-1990

Jean Writes:

Is it wrong to choose a recording from our own history? Barbie Army’s The Mission was unlike any of our other songs. Written by our drummer Tina Matlock and performed with crackerjack drumming by Tina and bass playing by Starbuck Avon, this song was much more sophisticated and a step above anything else we ever recorded. I still can’t believe I was associated with something so gnarly and majestic.

Check out the track The Mission

Artist: Loretta Lynn
Album: Fist City

I had a fun conversation with a customer recently about Loretta Lynn, discussing how much she deserves to be known as a badass “punk” icon.  She never pulled her punches in her lyrics, with several songs about birth control and even more straight up calling out her husbands infidelity.  No pop star since can lay down a dis track as devastating as Loretta!

Check out the track: Fist City


Artist: Nina Hagen
Album: Fearless (Angstlos)

Nina Hagen is a punk/new-wave/club icon.  On this album, produced by none other than Giorgio Moroder, she ventured into more neo-disco territory to the chagrin of many of her fans.  I however think it absolutely rules!  Granted this is where I discovered her so I kind of went into it backwards.  If you need some clubby goodness with absolutely wild vocals, this won’t disappoint.

Check out the track: New York, New York

Artist: Lady Sovereign
Album: Public Warning!

Lady Sovereign came to my attention via compilation called Run The Road which focused on the UK “Grime” artists of the time, one of my favorite sub sets of hip-hop.  Her lyrics are often self-deprecating, tongue in cheek and challenging of societal gender norms.  Unfortunately she hasn’t released any new material since 2009 due to health issues of some kind.

Check out the track: Love Me Or Hate Me

Artist: Cloudrat
Album: Moksha

This is some intense heavy female-fronted Grindcore. I am very picky with more extreme forms of metal and punk, which fits all the aspects that I look for. If you are into heavier music, I would highly recommend this record, as it is one of the best modern metal albums that I have ever heard. Check out the super unique take on the Neil Young track The Needle And The Damage Done.

Check out the track The Needle And The Damage Done


Artist: Your Old Droog
Album: Dump YOD: Krutoy Edition

This is an incredible abstract hip hop release from Ukrainian/American hip hop artist, Your Old Droog. The sample work on this record is phenomenal and super unique. The lyricism and flow of the project remind me of some of my other favorite hip-hop artists, especially MF DOOM. I would highly recommend checking this project out, especially the track New Religion.

Check out the track New Religion


Artist: Stan Getz
Album: Jazz Samba Encore

All of the Stan Getz albums with the abstract paintings sound so relaxing. That “series” of releases are some of my favorite Jazz Records. There is just some factor about them that makes me chill out, and I love them a lot. If you want a therapeutic album, please check this one out.

Check out the track Sambalero

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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