I just got back from a nice trip with my wife to Phoenix. We basically just spent money, drank, and ate (and some other things...). Last year we went to Phoenix to primarily go to Ikea, and I found a bunch of decent record stores then. This time I went back to the better ones I found, as well as a few new ones. Luckily for us, the new light rail just started running the day before we arrived and was free the entire time we were there. Many of the records stores were within walking distance from one of the metro stops. I also brought a pile of records to trade with me, to not only cut down on costs, but also to get rid of stuff I probably couldn't get rid of here in ABQ. Amazingly, I got rid of everything I brought to trade.
Stinkweeds is an ok store, not my favorite, but since it is just across the street from Tracks in Wax, it doesn't hurt to stop in. I did pretty well here, scoring the 1st 88 Fingers Louie 7" for $2, after just selling it a few months back for much more than that. I also got a nice copy of Herbie Hancock's Empyrean Isles. Not an original, but I'm pretty sure its either a late 60s or early 70s pressing (it has the dark blue Blue Note labels). Mostly, Stinkweeds is a hipster record store, lots of punk, indie, hip hop, and small selections of jazz and other styles. They carry a lot of new vinyl, and a lot of cds so if you are looking for for that its worth checking out. The one plus is they seem somewhat selective with what they carry, so there is no wading through hundreds of bad classic rock and 80s synth pop to find a treasure.
Since I was on the light rail, I wasn't able to bring many records with me on the first record buying trip to Stinkweeds, Tracks in Wax, and Revolver. I traded in a copy of Guns n' Roses-Appetite for Destruction, and Mike Heron's Smiling Men with Bad Reputations, but I didn't get very much for them so I wouldn't recommend trading in records here.
I went here on my last trip as well, and its also just across from one of the new light rail stops. It is almost all used records, with 1000s of rock lps, and large country, comedy, soul, and jazz sections. They also have a large 45 collection, and carry a good amount of pretty rare records that are hanging on the walls. Unfortunately, there $150 copy of Gene Vincent's Bluejean Bop was out of my price range as well as some Sam Cooke lps. I did ok here as well, the Lighting Hopkins record was an excellent find. The John Coltrane-Expression, and Herbie Hancock-Maiden Voyage are both later pressings, but I'm glad to have found these for cheap.
Here, I traded in a copy of Captain Sensible's Women and Captain First, and Plainsong's In Search of Amelia Earhart. These aren't bad records, but I never listen to them, and thought they deserved a better home. The owner traded me these two for the Coltrane record, which was ok with me, but still on the low end. I probably wouldn't trade here again. He originally offered me $3 for the two records, but then decided he'd do the 2 for 1 deal. In general, I like this store, and they had a lot of other records I wanted, but the condition on a number of records was not great. Definitely a store to return to, but it seems a store like this should either have better quality control or have a vinyl listening station.
Near the end of the 1st trip out hunting, I went to Revolver. I think this is a relatively new store, and I had not been there before. It has a large new and used rock section, and decent sections for soul, jazz, and punk, plus smaller sections for prog, blues, and metal. I think there was large classical section, but I don't remember. This place is really tiny and its hard to move around the store, but I'd definitely come back here. It was a little over whelming and my wife was mad by this point, so I didn't have much time to look at everything. I was really excited to find Aretha Franklin's 1st album for almost nothing. Maybe its not worth much, I don't know, but I also recently found her 2nd album and fell in love with that. The 1st one is just as amazing. I also picked up new reissue copies of Jimmy McGriff's Soul Sugar and Roland Kirk's left and right. I'm increasingly trying to move away from buying the new reissues, but these were pretty cheap and I wanted to support the store. The one plus Revolver has over other stores in Phoenix is that they have a vinyl listening station, which helped me put back a crummy James Brown lp I might have purchased if I hadn't been able to listen to it. The listening station itself is pretty crappy, the headphones were taped together and it required some acrobatics to get things to stay on my head, but at least they have one. No trades here.
EDIT: I obviously have no idea what I'm talking about in regards to the Aretha Franklin album. It was her second for Atlantic, and the other one I was talking about, I Never Loved A Man the Way I Loved You, was her first for the label. She had several previous albums on Columbia, and her first came out in 1956. These early Atlantic albums were her first major hits.
Hoodlums may also be new, I don't know, but I didn't go there on my last trip. Its located in South Tempe, fairly far from the light rail, which may affect my decision to go back there if we go back to Phoenix in the near future. They have a large selection of used (and some new) rock lps, and a good amount of jazz and soul records. Not much else in terms of punk or metal, but I did see a few. Since we were in the car, I was able to bring a decent haul of records to trade, and I thought I did well at Hoodlums. This store is definitely a great place to trade in records, I came close to getting what I had paid for everything they took.
I was able to get rid of:Weather Report-Mysterious Traveller (absolutely horrible record)McCoy Tyner-Enlightenment (I thought it was boring)Miles Davis - Dig (a later reissue, and it has Sonny Rollins on it, but this is one of the first recordings for both these artists and does not compare to their later work)Chick Corea-Three Quartets (ok, but I only listened to it a couple times)Alice Coltrane-Trancendence (I just got this record, but I don't like it much)Stanley Clarke-Journey of Love (just ok, a decent dollar find from Krazy Kat, but not worth listening to again)Bjork-Alarm Call 12" single (I used to have 3 different versions of these, and this is the last one to go. I'm slowly purging my Bjork singles collection because I never ever listen to this stuff)
I was happy to find the Wayne Shorter lp, which I had never heard of, but its pretty good. I'd been wanting to get the live Coltrane record for a while, and I'm glad I found that as well. The Utopia record was only $1, and friend of mine had turned me on to them over the summer. I finally found one of their earlier records and its definitely some great prog rock.
The owner here (I think) saw me checking the condition on a number of records and asked me what I thought about the condition of his selection. I kind of started rambling, but generally their records were in decent shape. I did find a Return to Forever album that they were asking $5 for that I thought should have been a dollar because of a pressing flaw and told him so. I also asked him it would be easier to make decisions if they had a listening station and said they are working on it. I got the impression they just started carrying vinyl so maybe this is a place to check out in the future after they get their feet on the ground.
This place is located right across from ASU, and was my favorite store from the last Phoenix trip. I'm not so sure I'd say the same now, but it is definitely worth a visit. I picked up a pretty trashed copy of Booker T and MG's Hip Hug Her, but it does play well. I also got an original of Roland Kirk's Volunteered Slavery, and an excellent reissue lp of an early Maytals record.
I was able to trade in a copy of High on Fire's The Art of Self Defense, a punk comp called Hysteria from Lengua Armada Discos, and I gave them a copy of this Norwegian hardcore comp I had called ... and they have tears in their eyes. I gave it away because I have two copies that were leftover from my punk distro days, and I haven't been able to find anyone who wanted this in the 6+ years I've had them. The same is true of the Hysteria comp, but this is a much better record and I wouldn't give this away for free. In addition to Hoodlums, Eastside was the other worthwhile place to trade records as they gave me a good deal. Eastside has good selection of punk, rock, soul, and jazz records, plus smaller sections for reggae, metal and hip hop. The condition of a lot of their records is somewhat questionable, but there are definitely some good finds here.
I wasn't planning on going here, but my wife had to return some pants she bought on the morning we left, so I waited here at the Tempe location. I found a used copy of the Frodus/Trans Megetti 7" which I was happy about, but in general the vinyl selection here isn't great and its almost half new lps. (I'd show a picture of the 7" but I haven't been able to figure out how to upload more than 5 pics per post). A better place for used cd's and movies, but its definitely at the bottom of my list of places to return to.