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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 our buddy Max Dombrowski returns!

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Max Dombrowski is a Brookfield-born music lover. He is the former owner of recently closed Stonegrove Guitar in LaGrange and still services guitars for clients in the Western Suburbs, including Grammy-winning songwriter Jim Peterik (Ides of March /Survivor). Max’s main music project, Twin Jones, just released a split-screen quarantine-style video of an unreleased song written for their upcoming second album.

Artist: Robert Johnson
Album: King Of the Delta Blues Singers

Often lauded as the supernaturally gifted devil-dealing King of the Delta Blues,  Johnson is an artist who is actually shrouded in recording technology of his day.  When you listen to his released material, the speed of his playing and the pitch of his voice are just unobtainable by conventional humans.  A compelling argument is that Johnson’s recordings are “wound up,” meaning that the capture of his performance was done at a slower speed so that when you play it back it sounds higher pitched and faster. This technique was used frequently in 60’s rock, most relevantly Clapton but also by The Beatles, the Coasters, and many others.  I’ve found most recordings of Johnson to be sped up about 10-15%, depending on the song and the take.  Besides the guitar licks becoming actually playable, you hear the vocal nuances of a real human.  Since there are many opinions about this legend and his craft, the only way to know for sure would be to climb into the Delorean, cruise down to the Mississippi Delta and post up incognito in a Juke Joint, waiting for Mr. Johnson.  Just keep an eye on your whiskey jug, lest you be poisoned by a jealous lover.  

Check out the track Crossroads Blues

Artist: Neil Young & Crazy Horse
Album: Live At The Fillmore East 1970

Neil Young had wild ambitions coming out of the late 60’s.  He sought a more earthy, communal means of expression.  He acquired the rhythm section of a band he saw at the Whiskey a Go-Go called The Rockets.  They were a proponent of early “jamming” at their concerts, as were Buffalo Springfield before them.  The Rockets were pioneers of the one or two-chord jam, playing that way for half an hour at a time while still keeping it interesting. This groovy style can be heard on “Down By the River” and “Cowgirl in the Sand.”  But, when Neil returned from recording Deja Vu with CSNY, he found that rhythm-guitarist Danny Whitten had developed a crippling narcotics addiction.  Whitten recorded vocals on a couple tracks of After the Goldrush, but Crazy Horse was never the same after that.  Drummer and bassist Ralph Molina and Billy Talbot recorded and toured for Tonight’s the Night along with other associates of Young’s (including the steel guitarist Ben Keith from Harvest and Nils Lofgren) in ‘73 and reformed Crazy Horse in 1975 with Frank Sampedro on guitar, but that lilting fragile dexterity of the original lineup was long gone, most likely a sign of the times as much as Young’s continuously expanding palate during the 70’s.  

Check out the track  Cowgirl In The Sand



Artist: Various
Album: Monterey Pop Festival

Despite this being fairly well documented, in my opinion it is still one of the most underrated festivals of the 1960’s.  In my opinion, the most important rock performance of all time is the US debut of the Jimi Hendrix Experience.  Yes, Jimi set his beautifully adorned Stratocaster on fire, having to follow Pete Townsend’s wild antics during The Who’s prior set, so Hendrix had to up the ante a bit in order to truly break ground and make history.  His performances and solos are nearly perfect recitations of his first album, closer than any live performances I’ve heard from the era, he was making a point of precision and accuracy that was then completely shrouded by his master class in whammy bar abuse.  He pulled shapes, at times even hiding his guitar behind his back as he played and sang verses; showboating with the tradition of his R&B sideman days, but now drenched in psychedelia.  When you watch the performance, take note of the utter shock of the audience: they were unknowingly taken on a ride of manifest destiny; Hendrix was claiming his place in the Rock’n’Roll pantheon before their very eyes.  His time in London had given him more accepting audiences and furnished him with some funky bandmates who could keep up with his wild notions.  Go back and listen to this concert’s well known version of “Wild Thing,” his one-handed solo is actually the melody to “Strangers in the Night”!  

.Check out the track Wild Thing

Shayne is switching it up in 2021 and bringing us his custom playlists each week.  Check out here or come into the store and listen to them in our Sounderator (tricked out 1940’s refrigerator that you sit in while enjoying a tasty selection of tunes).

Shayne’s playlist this week is titled Time Machine


From: Shayne:

Inspired by a very weird dream I had recently this week’s playlist is dedicated to concerts I would attend if I had access to time travel!

Access the Spotify Playlist Here =>   

Maria Callas

Song: Carmen

I’ve referred to Maria Callas as “My time-travel girlfriend” on more than one occasion  so of course she takes the top spot!

Daft Punk

Song: One More Time/Aerodynamic

The year we took off of Coachella this had to go and happen.  Still salty.

Diva Plavalaguna

Song: Diva Dance

Obviously you wouldn’t just go to concerts in the past right?

Sister Rosetta Tharpe

Song: Didn’t It Rain



Song: Radio Ga Ga


The Prisonaires

Song: Just Walking In The Rain

To be a fly on the wall when these guys played a command performance for the governor and Elvis crashed the party!

Fleetwood Mac

Song: Tusk

I was supposed to go to this show with my mom but had to work.  In hindsight those pizzas weren’t worth it.

Frank Zappa

Song: Muffin Man


David Bowie

Song: Moonage Daydream


Artist: Fishbone
Album: Give A Monkey A Brain And He’ll Swear He’s The Center Of The Universe

This week I will write about bands I am about to see this weekend during Riot Fest.

I’m excited to see Fishbone as my first band of the day, as I will be showing up late to the festival because of school. This album saw Fishbone taking an entirely new sound, changing there typical ska goodness into riff heavy alternative metal. While their signature horn section is almost nowhere to be found, the album is still quite recognizable as Fishbone. The album has a lot more similarities to the heavier side of grunge, especially on songs such as Servitude. This album is a really enjoyable listen and I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in Alt Metal.

.Check out the track Servitude


Artist: Motion City Soundtrack
Album: Commit This To Memory

I know, I’ve written about this album already. But I am super excited about getting to see them live. When I first got into them, they were split up, and I thought I wouldn’t have the opportunity to see them live, but they have since reformed, and I am hyped for them to be on the Riot Fest line up. They are one of my favorite bands from this era of Pop Emo, and this album in specific has a ton of memories tied to it for me. If you are into pop emo, you should check this album out.

Check out the track Time Turned Fragile


Artist: Run The Jewels
Album: Meow The Jewels

I had a fun conversation about Run The Jewels recently with my English teacher. He saw a classmates shirt which had cats dressed in street wear on it, and he brought up this album, which is a remix of their classic album Run The Jewels 2, but it’s remade with cat noises. I know they won’t play any of the cat versions when I see them live, but this is probably my favorite thing they did because it is so hilarious.

Check out the track Close Your Eyes And Meow To Fluff

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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