Check out Stinkweeds for something different.

Posted: February 2, 2011 in Uncategorized

The entrance in the back of Stinkweeds on Camelback and Central

Sean Parker, in the critically acclaimed and Oscar nominated film, “The Social Network” brags to Eduardo Saverin, that he brought down the music business.   Saverin points out that the music business won the court battle and shut Parker’s company Napster down.  Parker replies with a smug look on his face, “Want to buy a Tower Records Store?”   Tower Records, American’s popular chain record store opened its first store in 1960 in Sacramento, Ca.  When Tower filed for bankruptcy in 2006, they had 89 stores in twenty states.  I can remember four  Tower Records in the Phoenix Area: the Mill Ave and University location, the Chris Town location, the one in Mesa and the last location that opened was at Desert Ridge Mall.   Parker’s Napster was not the crucial element that brought down Tower Records.  It was the rise of MP3s and other chain stores that began to stock music such as Walmart, Target and Borders.  Before Facebook was the “social network” Tower Records was a “social network.”

Record Stores were more than just a store to rush in and buy records.  It was a place to hang out with friends or to meet new friends that were looking at the same records you were.  A place to take a first date to so you could learn a lot about each other in a short period of time by checking out each other’s music.   Or you could talk to the music clerks who never seemed to get tired of talking about the store stock.  I have spent hours in record stores and have made new friends as a result.

Tower Records and Circles Records, a local large record store that opened in the mid 70’s  are gone.  But the Phoenix area still has some great record stores with almost ten of them being independently owned.   I went to one of the independently owned stores this past Saturday as I wanted to spend my $25 gift certificate from my co-worker Tawni Rachel.   I had been to Stinkweeds twice before and both times I had found a vinyl record or CD I had not found elsewhere.

Interior of Stinkweeds.

Stinkweeds, is a small record store in the eclectic strip mall on Camelback and Central in Phoenix.   The store has been in business for 23 years and was previously located in Tempe.  Stinkweeds  has only three employees and they are all very knowledgeable about the store according to the owner Kimber Lanning, who was working in the store when I stop in on Saturday.  Another employee is Lindsay Gates is a local musician who plays bass in several local bands.

When you first walk in the little store you see an array of color as you gaze over the racks of CDs and albums.  Although the store is small in size it is laid out very neatly and the space is used wisely to showcase a lot of merchandise.   It is very well organized and the lighting brightens the store.  The bulk of the merchandise is made up of CDs but they also carry a fair amount of Vinyl as well.  They carry mostly new stock but you can also find used records and CDs.  There are some books on music and alternative music magazines you rarely find elsewhere on the front wall.  They carry several turntables, my favorite being a  very bright green with a pink label reading,  “High End for the Serious Vinyl Junkie $350.00.”

Turnables for sale at Stinkweeds including the high end model.

Accompanying me on Saturday was my teenage son Ian making his first visit to Stinkweeds.  We spent about thirty minutes in the store going through the rows of CDs and Vinyl records.  The majority of music in the store is indie and alternative music with a sprinkling of punk and gothic music.  They feature artists on independent labels and some imports.  They also have a small section on jazz and blues and another small section on Hip Hop.  If you are looking for mainstream pop or rock you will not find it in Stinkweeds.  You will find Syd Barrett albums but no Pink Floyd, you can buy a Peaches CD but not Britney Spears and the only pop music I found was Iggy Pop.  New releases from the more popular indie artists where featured on the listening wall and included: Gage the Elephant, Arcade Fire, Decemberists, Adele and Cold War Kids.  There was also a small selection of single CDs neatly lined up on the wall behind the counter.

My son and I had an enjoyable shopping experience at Stinkweeds.  He bought a new CD while I bought new Vinyl.  Dario only politely asked us once if he could help us and then he left us alone and let us take our time going through the merchandise.  There is no pressure selling here.   When we were checking out I noticed a big white board behind the counter that listed ticket prices for local shows at reasonable prices of $10 – $25.  This was the first time I noticed the store sold tickets and I liked the fact they support the local music scene.  There was also a wide rack near the door that held flyers of upcoming events.

If you are into supporting the local economy, like music that is not played constantly on the radio,  enjoy listening to vinyl records or just want to keep record stores alive then Stinkweeds is for you.  If they do not have that hard to find music you have been looking for please ask them as they will try to order it for you.  And as a plus there is a candy store in the same strip mall that you will want to check out, but that is another review.

Check out Stinkweeds at

  1. […] Spectacular February Events PolitcoOne: The Wall Street Journal is for Everyone Sharlene Rocks: Visiting Stinkweeds Record Store Word Up: You Can’t Stand To Close To “The […]

  2. Oh my gosh! They sell vinyl?! I have lived here forever and never knew Stinkweeds was here! Thanks for the review.

  3. Julie Price-Thiede says:

    You really do rock Sharlene.

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