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Vinyl Views is our weekly blog where we feature album recommendations from our store team and reveal picks from guest contributors. This week we hear from some of the amazing members of WOMEN IN VINYL who are hosting their 5th anniversary celebration at Hotel Zachary this weekend – Sat Aug 26 from 11-7.

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Women in Vinyl is a worldwide nonprofit organization that works to educate, demystify and diversify the vinyl community.

They do this through their mission which is to empower women, female-identifying, non-binary, LGBTQ+, BIPOC and otherwise marginalized humans working in the industry to create, preserve and improve the art of music on vinyl.

Women in Vinyl as a registered nonprofit 501(c)(3) works to raise funds that support those aforementioned in starting their educational journey through scholarships, mentorships, job boards, business development and workshops to create, preserve and improve the art of music on vinyl.

Artist: Tyler Childers
Album: Purgatory

From: Jackie Weis (Director of Employment Equity at Women in Vinyl, Marketing Manager at All Media Supply)

The dictionary definition of purgatory is: a place or state of suffering inhabited by the souls of sinners who are exploiting their sins before going to heaven. Through each track, Tyler Childers navigates a journey through purgatory with embellished lyrics of what it’s like to live the life of a lower-middle class simpleton in modern times. I love it so much because of the truth that stands behind each song, and this notion that Purgatory may actually be an alright place to be, if you embrace why you’ve made it there.

Check out the track: Banded Clovis

Artist: Black Sabbath
Album: Master of Reality

From: Jenn D’Eugenio (Founder and President of Women in Vinyl)

A record that could have been considered an EP, and yet it’s so many things within those eight songs. It takes you on a journey from that intro cough of ‘Sweet Leaf’ to songs with so much engery they’re electric like ‘Children of the Grave’ to those with the calming sounds of ‘Orchid’, it’s perfect from that first needle drop. Not only is Sabbath’s third album a heavy hitter within their catalog, it’s also the album that helped spawn so many genres as the foundation of doom metal, stoner rock, and sludge metal. I don’t feel like this record gets as much love as it should in all the documentaries, books, etc. and am on a mission to collect and uncover as many stories, and variants as possible. I have over 50 copies and talk about them on my account @Mistressofreality

Check out the track: Children Of The Grave

Artist: Thin Lizzie
Album: Nightlife

From: Amanda Schutzman (Director of Community Involvement at Women in Vinyl, Sales Representative at All Media Supply)

Although Nighlife isn’t spoken about often when fans are talking about their favorite Thin Lizzy albums, it’s grown on me over the years and is now, easily, my number one pick. I know it’s an unpopular opinion because most people love the high energy and fast-paced guitar harmonies that you hear all over most of their records. But this album doesn’t lack that, in fact, the track “It’s Only Money” totally proves it. Nightlife as a whole, is just a little smoother, a little more soulful and heartfelt….and I can’t stop loving it. I remember hearing Showdown on “Thin Lizzy – The Definitive Collection”, a best of CD that I had when I was a kid. The bass line really stuck out to me but I always thought the chorus was a little cheesy and for years, I just wrote it off. Boy, was I wrong. I love everything about that song now. Maybe ten years later I heard the first track, “She Knows” and I dove into Nightlife head-first. Now, the tough parts comes. Picking a single track off this album is almost impossible, because to me, every song flows so well into the other. It’s one of those records (and I know we’ve all had this feeling) that if a track comes up on shuffle, I’m almost furious when the follow up track doesn’t come on. So, I’m going to do you a favor and pick the last song on the album. If I could make one suggestion, when you’re hearing this record, you need to hear it start to finish. I call Nightlife “a love letter to the world.” ….and I mean that.

Check out the track: Dear Heart

Mckinley is the newest member of the Val’s halla team.  Please welcome her! Mckinley is a senior at Lyons Township high school.  She’s into all kinds of music and plays jazz guitar. When she’s not listening to music or practicing, she loves exploring Chicago, writing, and going to concerts.

Artist: Destroy Boys 
Album: Open Mouth, Open Heart

When I went to Riot Fest last year, I was looking forward to seeing Destroy Boys, despite not knowing much of their music but I wasn’t expecting to discover one of my favorite bands of all time, and watch one of the most incredible shows I’ve ever seen. In their thirty minute set, they managed to make me laugh, cry, and everything in between. They are truly powerful, influential performers- in every song there is unbridled passion, rage, purpose, and determination. I recently saw them perform again at the Metro, and they didn’t disappoint- with unflinching, gritty guitar tones and a push for societal change, this is one band you can’t miss. 

Check out the song Muzzle

Artist: Melody’s Echo Chamber
Album: Melody’s Echo Chamber

Melody’s Echo Chamber was my first introduction to modern “psychedelic” indie rock. A friend of mine used to play this album all of the time last winter, and whenever I hear it I am instantly transported back to that time in my life. This album has a uniquely ethereal yet jarring sound and poetic lyrics, and is so versatile. It’s the kind of music that feels different every time you listen to it. What makes it even more impressive is the fact that it is the solo project of Paris-based songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Melody Prochet. Everything you hear was put together by one individual.

Check out the track  I Follow You

Artist: Berlioz
Album: Jazz Is For Ordinary People

Jazz is a genre that many people- maybe most people- would never seek out, or maybe even dislike. However, jazz is in my opinion one of the most powerful and unique types of music. It is almost all improvised, and created in the moment. Each of the musicians in a group are feeding off of each other’s energy and creating art in real time. “jazz is for ordinary people” is a great introduction to jazz for people who may not consider themselves a fan- it’s a really cool blend of jazz and house music, with typical jazz improvisation alongside modern drums and vocals. As the title suggests, it really succeeds in making jazz more accessible for everyone, even the casual listener. 

Check out the track Hot House

Lilah was scheduled to contribute to this week’s special WOMEN IN VINYL edition, but unfortunately is under the weather, so we are running a BEST OF LILAH this week!  Get well soon!

Artist: Spud Cannon
Album: Next Time Read The Fine Print

Not only is this some of the best cover art I’ve ever seen, but this is one of my favorite feel-good albums. I feel like Spud Cannon is the kind of band you could listen to with anyone, indie dream rock is hard to dislike for sure. Makes me wanna dance! I found this album the first summer of quarantine and it will always sound like hanging out with my friends in a park. The bassist is fantastic and the vocals are so specific sounding throughout the album. Overall happy and fun-sounding tracks.

Check out the track Daydream

(This is the most guitar-heavy, but the waves of intensity throughout this song are my favorite.)

Artist: Joy Again
Album: EP

This EP screams indie rock, but there is something so addicting about the melancholy oddness of the lyrical storytelling. A part of this EP (but also just the band in general) is the filter over the vocals, which I think makes it sound softer and lets the synthy-guitar sounds shine through. This is definitely a slower, sadder release, but there are some quicker-paced songs that still let you jam out. I can’t say I haven’t cried listening to a few of these songs, but they are all still so good.

Check out the track Another Song About Ghosts

(The lyrics make me feel like I’m in between a dream and a nightmare and the guitar sounds beautiful!)


Artist: Handsome Boy Modeling School
Album: So…How’s Your Girl?

This album is INSANE. I love it so much. It’s hip hop, but something I like about the songs is that not all of them have vocals, and the sampling, beats, and guitar speak for themselves. Handsome Boy Modeling School only has 2 albums and is more of a side project, but the people involved helped produce the first Gorillaz album which is sick. If you are an MF Doom or Del the Funky Homosapien fan, this album is a must-listen as all of the features blend in so well. I can always come back to this album and I recommend it to everyone.

Check out the track Rock N’ Roll (Could Never Hip-Hop Like This)

(This song has incredibly smooth sampling while more and more layers come in throughout the song. Ugh it’s so good. )

How Do I Order Music (Or Other Things)? 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 week, 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.

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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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