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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 happens to be Jaxon’s 16th birthday, so we are changing the format up a bit to celebrate.  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!

This week I’d like to throw some love to Jaxon in honor of his 16th birthday! Jaxon started helping me out a little over a year ago when I was really struggling and through him I got to meet Trevor. Obviously that worked out pretty well! Jaxon is an absolute whiz at the record store thing and really keeps me on my toes. If I misprice a record, boy am I gonna hear about it! His enthusiasm and energy help remind me that while this is a job, and I’ve been at it a long time, “Oh yeah, this is fun!”

I’ve reached out to a few friends who have been charmed by Jaxon as I have, even if they haven’t actually had the opportunity to meet him face-to-face. We’ve selected some titles that either we know he loves or we know he WILL love. A few of these selections may have become recent birthday additions to his expanding collection out of our own personal stashes. I think everyone will enjoy.

Artist: Nancy Sinatra/Lee Hazlewood
Album: Nancy & Lee

Pick From: Shayne (#1)

This was already one of my pics for this week before landing on the Jaxon birthday concept. In fact, I was playing it at the store and thinking about what to write when Jaxon said to me “This is really, really good!” Oh…I know it is. This album just has a quality that I find hard to describe. Poppy, folky, a little psychedelic, a little campy and 100% awesome! My now former copy is in very good 16-year old hands!

While it is very tempting to pick the track “Jackson” I’d be remiss not include this video…

Check out the track Some Velvet Morning.


Artist: Twenty One Pilots
Album: Vessel

Pick From: Trevor (a/k/a Dad)

Twenty One Pilots was an easy choice for this birthday tribute. To say that Jaxon is “obsessed” with music might be one of the largest understatements one could make. Anyone who knows him or has interacted with him in the store would back me up on this. Well, this obsession all started with Twenty One Pilots.

I think that Jaxon and I were both introduced to TOP with their unexpected smash ‘Stressed Out’ from their Blurryface album. With our interest piqued, we dove deeper to discover some amazing tracks including ‘Lane Boy’, ‘Heavy Dirty Soul’, and ‘Goner’ to name a few.  Well, let’s just say that the cat was out of the bag at that point. Jaxon quickly poured over the small but impressive catalog of Twenty One Pilots work and quickly settled in on his favorite – Vessel.

This album is just so hard to put into any one category. At its heart it is indie-rock / pop, but there are so many more layers. Tyler Joseph’s interwoven rap is somewhat reminiscent of EMINEM – fast and intricate. And man, when he screams, he means it – heavy metal fans would give props. Josh Dunn’s fast, rhythmic percussion provides the backdrop to Tyler’s blend of guitars, bass, and keyboards. Of course, to keep things interesting, he also throws a little ukulele into the mix. The album seems to waiver between figuring out what it should be and being defiant about the fact that conforming to a style kills creativity.  It is a gem.

Check out the track Car Radio


Artist: Various
Album: Something Weird GH

Pick From: Peter

If you’re a fan of such cinematic gems as “Satan in High Heels’, Nude
on the Moon”, or “Teenage Gang Debs” then you’re a fan of Something Weird Video, the small underground video company that’s been rescuing and releasing classic exploitation cinema for many years now. You may ask, what is the best part of these  celluloid masterpieces, the scantily-clad dames? The ham-fisted lunkhead actors? No! Of course it is the Music in the films!

Finally, a two LP collection of the best (worst?) rare and obscure tunes used in the films of Something Weird has arrived. And weird it is. I was worried that the style would get old before the album ended, but have no fear- the four sides of the album are devoted to different concepts and keeps the variety different enough to avoid boredom or repetition.

Side A- Rock-o-Rama A Go Go!
Side B- Psychedelic Hippie Freak Out!
Side C- Sleazy Swinging Sounds From the Sick Sick Sixties!
Side D- Deliriously Demented Ditties!

I’m Partial to the Psychedelic Hippie tunes which, like all tracks, include appropriate bits of movie dialog between tracks. Standouts are
too many to list, but include “Don’t Make me Mad” by Lee Dowell, “The
Bird is the Word” by Rocky Roberts and the Airedales, and Soorang! by
Jim Hughes.

The jacket is a beautiful gatefold and contains extensive liner notes detailing the history of Something Weird Video and every track contained herein. After reading, I felt like I had a community college education in underground ’60’s cool.

Grab this LP. some Green River Soda, turn on a black light, and
prepare to do twitchy herky-jerkey dancing for hours into the night.

Check out the track The Bird is the Word.

Artist: The Kinks
Album: Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One

Pick From: Ian

Fresh off the the artistic highs of the Village Green Preservation Society’s idyllic, ornateness and Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire)’s lush poppy pomp, Lola Versus Powerman and the Moneygoround, Part One finds the Kinks quick to regain their place among contemporaries The Beatles, The Who, and The Rolling Stones. Third in a cycle of loose concept albums and with their 1965 ban from playing in the U.S. recently lifted and following the surprise U.S. hit of Arthur’s “Victoria,” Lola features a more stripped down sound with the band pushing in new directions. Ray Davies’ acquisition of a dobro signaled The Kinks putting some roots down in Americana and Country (“The Contenders”), in addition to sinking their teeth into the music industry (“Top of the Pops,” “The Moneygoround”), laying down some heavy riffs (“Powerman,” “Rat”), and bemoaning life on the road (“This Time Tomorrow”). Best remembered for charting singles like the primal boogie of “Apeman” and the pre-Glam rock play with gender roles of “Lola,” my personal pick is Dave Davies’ meditative, poignant take on relationships “Strangers.” There’s a lot here and a lot to love, and I hope Jaxon finds as much enjoyment as I have from my copy.

Check out the track Strangers.


Artist: FrnkIero and the Cellabration
Album: Stomachaches

Pick From: Miles (a/k/a Lil Bro)

For my choice for vinyl views, I have picked the album Stomachaches by Frank Iero, released under the moniker of Frnkiero and the Cellabration. It is the first of three albums in his solo career, being released in 2014 and featuring former My Chemical Romance bandmate, drummer Jarrod Alexander. As for its connection to my life, my brother found out about Frank’s solo project in 2018 through the internet (of course), and we both bonded over his music. We have since seen him twice on tour for his most recent album, Barriers, and these were really amazing live shows. This album has been an inspiration to us both musically, and it is just great punk music. As for my track recommendation, I suggest listening to the song Joyriding. It’s an all around really great track that encapsulates his sound really well, along with having great production and a really well made music video. A little forewarning about the music video…if you really don’t like blood, I highly advise not watching it.

Check out the track Joyriding.


Artist: Lupe Fiasco
Album: The Cool

Pick From: Mary

At 16, we question everything – and you should. With questions come struggle. As you build your resilience against everything life may throw at you, may you fight good fights and find the strength and courage to keep fighting even when it feels like change comes slow. So, for you on your 16th birthday, I offer you Lupe Fiasco’s “Fighters.” It may seem like an odd choice, but I think it also speaks to the present moment in a way few songs do. We can feel like we’re surrounded by so much that’s trying to bring us down, but we have to fan that inner flame by remembering what’s really important. May you be strong in the face of adversity. May you ask the hard questions, speak even if your voice shakes, and steer your life in the direction of your wildest dreams, bringing others up with you as you succeed. Happy Birthday, Jaxon!

Check out the track Fighters.

Artist: Coil & Nine Inch Nails
Album: Recoiled

Pick From: Kelly

I noticed I had a musical affinity with Jaxon through his Vinyl Views, so I set out to make him a mix for his birthday and I realized a few things:

(1) That he might’ve already heard of most of the songs on the playlist

(2) That I’d have to make a sixteen hour long playlist to even scratch the surface

(3) That it was a lot of fun to make and listen to old and new music

With the interplay of older and newer music (and artists) in mind… I’m picking Coil & Nine Inch Nails – Recoiled for this week’s Vinyl Views. Trent Reznor was heavily influenced by Coil (in particular Coil’s dark, experimental Horse Rotorvator album. Reznor admits that he hired Peter ‘Sleazy’ Christopherson to do the music video work for his Broken album in order to meet him. Reznor and Sleazy ultimately decided the film was way too graphic for commercial release, but they became lifelong friends and Coil remixed several of NiN’s tracks, which were released after Sleazy’s death. Fans of Industrial music should check out “Gave Up (Open My Eyes)”.

Check out the track Gave Up (Open My Eyes).


Artist: Squeeze
Album: Singles – 45’s and Under

Pick From: Margot (a/k/a Mom)

While I’m a lover of many eclectic styles of music, I’ve always been  more of a “singles” type of music consumer rather than an album connoisseur. Now I find myself with a sixteen-year-old son who has learned more about the history of music recordings in one year than I’ve managed to acquire in a lifetime of loving music.

For Jaxon’s 16th birthday, I’m recommending Squeeze’s “Singles – 45’s and Under” since it’s one of a small collection of cassette tapes that I played on constant rotation when I was 16. It opens with one of Squeeze’s earliest hits, “Take Me I’m Yours” which hits you over the head with the unique vocal pairing of Chris Difford and Glenn Tillbrook. It moves with a retro vibe through a string of hits from other albums including the eponymous song from “Cool for Cats” and the timelessly perfect “Pulling Mussels (from a shell)”. The well-curated set continues, culminating with “Tempted”, and then winding down with “Black Coffee in Bed” and “Annie Get Your Gun.”

This album continues to keep me
delighted from start to finish, and back when I was 16, I never felt the need to hit fast-forward, rewind or pause.

Check out the track Take Me I’m Yours.


Artist: Love
Album: Forever Changes

Pick From: Shayne (#2)

Oh come on! I was looking for my copy of this album, it was already gone! I am apparently too generous with my stuff and this is one of my all-time favorite records I must have sold it at some point but I can’t believe I didn’t replace it. Anyway, this record stands shoulder to shoulder with The Zombies “Odyssey & Oracle” and The Beach Boys “Pet Sounds” on my Mt. Rushmore of pysch rock masterpieces. Jaxon told me recently that he had one of their other albums, but hadn’t gotten around to Forever Changes yet. That was unacceptable and I have corrected that problem. Now I’m gonna need to fix the hole in my own collection soon.

Check out the track Andmoreagain.


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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