Music appreciation and collection is a preserved art shared throughout generations. Since the 1940s, phonograph—or vinyl—records have stored some of our favorite songs, records, and tracks within their tiny inscribed grooves. Despite the technological advancements of burnt CDs and streaming services that have rendered vinyl obsolete, people continue to enjoy caring for, collecting, and playing records on vinyl.
Spinning out about where to find these groovy gems? Here are some of the most popular vinyl spots in the Valley.
The Record Room
2601 W. Dunlap Ave., Phoenix
Hours: Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. | Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Located off the I-17 in Central Phoenix is the popular new and used music store The Record Room. Stocked with wall-to-wall shelves of various modes, genres, and eras of musical discography in physical form, the Record Room has been revered as one of the best local vinyl shops in the Valley.
Featuring tracks in underground punk rock, old school blues, and the rare audiophile finds, the Record Room has something for everyone to find in the dozens of bins across the store. The search is half the fun in the labyrinth of rhythm, groove, funk, and pop that can be found from the full shelf of cassettes, to the library of CDs, to the wall of modern and vintage record players.
A gem that I delighted in plucking from the audiophile bin happened to be an original master recording of Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli’s “Live” at the London Palladium on vintage vinyl, a personal favorite featuring the timeless voices of musical legends.
12 W. Camelback Road, Phoenix
Hours: Monday to Friday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. | Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. | Sunday, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.
An iconic staple to Central Phoenix is Stinkweeds record store on Camelback, across the street from the light rail station on Central alongside several popular shops to browse in. Inside the hole-in-the-wall on the busy street marked by various vibrant neon signs is a plethora of digital and engraved music.
Immediately upon entering, guests are greeted by a wall of some of Stinkweeds’ featured new, used, and vintage vinyl discs like Tyler, the Creator’s “Wolf” LP, Blur’s “The Ballad of Darren” LP, and Khruangbin’s “History of Flight” psychedelic album vinyls. There’s plenty to look forward to for music lovers searching for music, merch, books, and even turntables.
Incredibly, I managed to find a vinyl I’d been searching for for months: “Mother Earth’s Plantasia” by Mort Garson, a musical album made especially for plants and plant lovers featuring classic tracks like “Ode to an African Violet,” the “Concerto for Philodendron & Pothos,” and “Swingin’ Spathiphyllums.”
Tracks in Wax
4741 N. Central Ave., Phoenix
Hours: Tuesday to Friday, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. | Saturday to Sunday, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Located next to the Central and Camelback light rail station is the perfectly named Tracks in Wax. A hole-in-the-wall to the fullest, the small space is filled with timeless tunes and classics. One of the most notable record stores in Phoenix, Tracks in Wax is filled with rare finds and popular records both in full size, deluxe packs, and also the miniature 12-inch discs hung along the walls of the shop.
From the posters plastered on every spare space on the ceiling, to the shelves along the walls of records, and all-around rustic feeling of the store, Tracks in Wax is like taking a step into a remnant of the past. And it’s no wonder, when the genres across the store range from the early days of contemporary jazz to the modern pop-rock of today.
Some notable gems I spotted while sorting through happened to be Gladys Knight & The Pips LP vinyl for their hit single “I Feel A Song” from the 70s, the original motion picture score from “Gone With the Wind” composed by Max Steiner, Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side Of The Moon” 180-gram heavyweight vinyl pack, and a personal favorite vinyl disc I got of Audioslave’s 2002 self-titled album.
The ‘In’ Groove
3300 N. 24th St., Phoenix
Hours: Monday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Located off the 51 and across the street from a post office is the popular record store The ‘In’ Groove. Known for its vast selection of records and “hi-fi”—or high fidelity— equipment the ‘In’ Groove has floor-to-ceiling and wall-to-wall vinyl, CDs, and merchandise for audiophiles and music enthusiasts alike to browse from.
Looking for a new sound system? The ‘In’ Groove store has an entire section of the store dedicated to players, spin-tops, storage, and turntables to choose from. With genres from popular new releases in hip-hop and R&B, to nearly forgotten vintage movie soundtracks and niche film series, the Groove’s rows of crates hold treasures to be found in each pile.
My two favorite finds in the store have been the Henry Mancini original motion picture score from the 1961 classic “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” complete in the iconic baby blue disc case, and a remnant of my childhood in the form of My Chemical Romance’s “The Black Parade Is Dead!” vinyl. This specialty live album features one of the band’s final performances of their “Black Parade” era in Mexico City in 2007.
4242 E. University Drive, Phoenix
Hours: Tuesday to Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. | Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Near Sky Harbor along University is the well known buy-sell-and-trade vinyl shop for rare records at Record High. In the multi-room shop are various shelves containing different categories of music and merchandise. The first room consists of jazz, orchestra, and various other classical arrangements, while another room is full of R&B and soul, modern pop and hip-hop, and classic rock n’ roll of the ‘60s through the 2000s.
Throughout the store, guests can peep at any of the instruments throughout like an old-school saxophone and hi-fi turning tables. Displayed near the front desk are some of the rare beauties and deluxe vinyl packs along a mantel from bands like KISS, Pink Floyd, the Rolling Stones, and AC/DC.
Some fascinating gems I found ranged from new releases in hip hop and R&B to vintage collectibles that include the rare Japanese “Forever Young” series of LPs from Led Zeppelin, the Japanese “Rock and Roll Over” deluxe LP vinyl pack from KISS, and Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” album on vinyl.
Double Nickles Collective
Danelle Plaza, 45 W. Southern Ave., Tempe
Hours: Monday to Saturday, 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. | Sunday, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Hidden away at the former Ghost of Eastside Records is a clustered shop filled to the brim with some of the most unique, niche, and crazy wicked musical finds throughout the bins, shelves, and boxes littered across Double Nickles Collective. Greeted at the door by the lovely pug seated near the classic rock shelf and shopping cart of new releases, Double Nickles has a friendly, comfortable atmosphere to browse about in.
While vinyl discs across different genres are the main selling point at the Collective, there’s so much more to look for. From old school merchandise to thrifty selections for high-fidelity equipment, and a plethora of amazing cassette tapes like the “Billboard Top Rock’n’Roll Hits” tape from 1967 I found perusing the aisles, there’s something new for everyone to find.
Interestingly enough, Collective even had a section dedicated to odd genres I’d not seen before, like “spooky” sounds, sound effect tracks, and even a whale call record. Musical track gems I plucked from the bins included The Rolling Stones’s iconic “Some Girls” vinyl, Ray Charles’s “Genius + Soul = Jazz” with arrangements by Quincy Jones and Ralph Burns on vinyl, and a classic from the Smiths, the “Hamburg Knows I’m Miserable Now” 1984 FM broadcast from Markthalle, Germany, on vinyl.
2990 N. Alma School Road #5, Chandler
Hours: Tuesday to Thursday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. | Friday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. | Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The ultimate shopping crossroad for music, comic, movie, and classic collectibles lovers has to be at the popular Chandler shop, Asylum Records. Known for their killer deals, horror movie merch, and cute cat atop the checkout counter, Asylum Records is a haven for all things collecting.
Opposite from the wall of Funko Pops are rows and aisles of vinyl records ranging anywhere from latest releases like Taylor Swift’s popular “Speak Now (Taylor’s Version)” on disc and modern classics like the iconic “Mamma Mia!” movie soundtrack, to the lesser-known gems found perusing the enormous catalog of cassettes and CDs.
With an incredible array of action figures, figurines, posters, pins, toys, CDs, discs, cassettes, and DVDs, vinyl records are not the only thing that keep customers coming back. Amazing gems I plucked from the stacks included Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” album on vinyl, and rarities from Jimi Hendrix like his album “Machine Gun: The Fillmore East First Show 12/31/1969” and the posthumous classic “Valleys of Neptune” vinyl.
The House of Used
2706 E. University Drive, Mesa
Hours: Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Further off the beaten path in the heart of Mesa is the House of Used, a buy-sell-rent filled with CDs, VHS tapes, DVD collections, video game memorabilia, and a corner dedicated to hi-fi vinyl discs. Various prices for classics I saw ranged from $5.99 for “The Best of Glenn Miller” on vinyl to $34.99 for Dr. Dre’s 1992 album “The Chronic” on vinyl.
There’s something to be found for everyone’s interests. With vintage records to rare Funko Pops beside a cooler of unique cans of soda and shelves of funny-shaped candies, the House of Used is a haven of nostalgic relics and forgotten niche memorabilia. And with a special 3-for-1 BOGO on buying and renting anything in the store, it’s difficult to resist the temptation of filling a cart of all my favorite albums.
A few gems I plucked from the rows of vinyl they had—packed with classic rock, new releases, modern hip-hop and R&B—were the Stone Temple Pilots’s revered “Purple” album disc, the Beastie Boys’ classic “III Communication” record, and Rage Against the Machine’s self-titled LP, all well within a price range of under $30 for each.
2200 E. Williams Field Road #112, Gilbert
Hours: Monday to Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. | Friday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. | Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Located within the shopping center at San Tan Village is Grace Records. A popular stop-and-shop for vinyl lovers and casual shoppers alike, Grace Records store holds a plethora of not only music, but also merchandise from various popular artists. Artists like Johnny Cash, the Gorillaz, Adele, Kanye West, Billie Eilish, and Selena to name a few can be spotted on posters, t-shirts, bowls made from records, and socks along the walls and ceilings.
Known for being the place to check for any of the latest releases in music, Grace Records has walls of some of the newest vinyl tracks that include Hozier’s “Unreal Unearth,” some of the older classics like Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band’s “Night Moves,” some of the most popular vinyls like Lana Del Rey’s “Born To Die,” and some of the most unique like the “Tasty Tunes from Cupheads” vinyl I found in the video game soundtrack case.
Rare gems and personal favorites I managed to find included Father John Misty’s “I Love You, Honeybear” LP on vinyl, Kendrick Lamar’s acclaimed “To Pimp A Butterfly” on vinyl, and the iconic classic rock album “Californication” from the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
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