Musical Notes

14 May

Geeking Out | Bat For Lashes

Can we please take a moment to geek over one of my all time favorite artists? Bat For Lashes is a pseudonym of British Singer/Songwriter Natasha Khan, who released her debut album Fur and Gold in 2006.  Since then she has produced three additional studio albums including The Bride, which was released earlier this year.  


21 Apr

Bookmans Recommends: Songs to Live By

Spring is here! The birds are chirping and the sun is shining, what could be better? Well, we’ll tell you what: the perfect series of awesome songs. We believe that feeling good about yourself should be a year-round hobby. One surefire way to maintain an awesome mood is with great music. Today, Bookmans recommends the best inspirational songs, guaranteed to build confidence and contentment. Just sing one of these babies to yourself in the mirror each morning for a happy day. Stop by your neighborhood Bookmans to find these gems on vinyl or compact disc. Don’t worry if you lack the pipes of the Queen of Soul. We have musical accompaniments from harmonicas to ukuleles to karaoke machines. Sing solo or grab some friends to add harmony to your high spirits. Check out our list and get started today!


11 Apr

Bookmans Midtown Shares Their Favorite Music

If there’s one thing Bookmans employees love unanimously, it’s music. Some of us are readers, some gamers and others musicians, but something we all relate to are musical vibes. We pump it through the speakers in our stores, we chat about it while buying on the counter and for some of us it gets played on our instruments. To help you get to know us a little better over here at Midtown, we asked some of our phenomenal employees to tell us their current favorite song. We know this can be the supreme challenge, but they all took it well.


17 Mar

Bookmans Recommends: Classic Rock Road Trip

It’s almost springtime in Arizona! The weather is beautiful outside and we’re jonesin’ to get out and enjoy the open road. From the San Francisco Peaks to Saguaro National Park, Arizona has quite a few fabulous road trip routes. No road trip is complete without the perfect playlist, so the first stop on said journey should definitely be Bookmans. We are the place to pick up music that will complete your traveling soundtrack. With so many genres from which to choose, we’re counting down ten of the (arguably) most sing-alongable classic rock albums in history. Check out our picks from rock legends, stop by your local Bookmans, then get out of town and explore the outdoors with righteous tunes.

road trip

Bob Dylan • Highway 61 Revisited
“Like A Rolling Stone” is the most classic track on this album and the premier of Bob Dylan’s crossover into electric guitar. Tongue twisting lyrics and masterful musicianship make this album a staple of rock & roll.

Jimi Hendrix • Are You Experienced?
The debut album from The Jimi Hendrix Experience, this masterpiece exhibits some serious guitar skills and dreamy melodic structures. Play this on the way out of town and you’re sure to be inspired.

Van Morrison • Astral Weeks
One of Van Morrison’s greatest albums of all time, Astral Weeks is a dreamy take on folk, blues and soul. In addition to the title track, “Sweet Thing” and “Cypress Avenue” are sure to make your automobile feel more like magicmobile.

Led Zeppelin • Led Zeppelin II
Rockers so unique, they are impossible to ignore. Theatrical lead vocalist, Robert Plant is one of the most groundbreaking performers of his era. This album is right on for hitting the road.

The Beatles • Rubber Soul
Our top pick is from one the greatest bands of all time in the galaxy ever. We like to imagine that sums up what it would be like to spend a couple of days with John and Paul. It’s a perfect choice for getting up early and exploring new surroundings.

Wherever your travels take you, stop by and refuel your music collection at Bookmans. While you’re here, take part in the free and fun events year-round. We’re always happy to help if you’d like a recommendation, directions to the awesome vinyl section or rad conversation. See you this Spring at Bookmans!

28 Dec

Long live XO, Welcome “Starboy” (The Weeknd) | Bookmans

Abel Makkonen Tesfaye (known as The Weeknd) returns to deliver his third album. Prior to the release he knew that the legends of electronic dance and Daft Punk he would be featuring had minds spinning. Luckily The Weeknd didn’t disappoint and left us shook up and unable to get enough. Cue binge listening. This is The Weeknd that I have been anticipating and it’s more interesting that with each record his music keeps evolving. An album packed with drippy gooey disco-ish vibes and mysterious vocals made way to the ears of many and right straight into our reviews (obviously).

21 Dec

Month of Merriment #Mixtape | Bookmans

It’s the Month of Merriment – that time of year when the temperature drops and holiday cheer multiplies! Families and friends gather together, delicious treats are ubiquitous and celebratory songs are in the air. Music can really set the mood for any holiday party or long commute to work. Don’t miss your chance to make the most of the hap-happiest season of all! Grab your iPod, smartphone, CD player or turntable, because we’re counting down the top five merry tunes for any occasion with our Month of Merriment #Mixtape.


29 Nov

Ticket Tuesday Giveaway: O.A.R. with Blue October & Wrabel | Bookmans

***Contest Closed***

It’s the holiday season and music is in the air! Jam-band music, to be exact. Celebrate the upcoming Month of Merriment with free tickets to see O.A.R. live with Blue October and Wrabel as part of the 96.9 Merry MixMas at LiveWire in Scottsdale. After 20 years together, O.A.R. is once again hitting the road for a tour to promote their latest album, XX. Don’t miss the chance to see these indie rockers in concert on Saturday, December 3rd. Tickets start at $68, but not to worry. This Ticket Tuesday we give away two tickets for a night on the town with O.A.R., Blue October and Wrabel!

ticket tuesday

16 Nov

The Perfect Continuation: Avalanches Review – Bookmans Entertainment

I remember the first time I heard of The Avalanches. It must have been 2003 because I was just starting to let my hair grow long. My dad was sitting at the computer talking to his Volkswagen buddies, ruminating and conversing about the intricacies between models and small details that the average person wouldn’t notice. When he wasn’t looking for parts or giving advice to newbies he would frequent the rant section of the imageboard. Someone must have posted a link to the video of Frontier Psychiatrist and my dad ended up liking it though he never listened to the rest of the album. He called me over and we watched it together and I was enamored. I had to see what else this group made.


I scourged and scraped, searched the internet until I came upon the video we had watched. He couldn’t remember anything about the video other than it was funny and that he liked it. I think I watched Frontier Psychologist six or seven times and soon after found the video to Since I Left You. I binge watched that as well. I bought a copy while we were in town, somewhat of a treat to someone who came from a small town. We didn’t have a record shop and the only music accessible was what was available at Walmart.

10 Nov

Anthrax Brings a Major Mosh To Flagstaff: Review – Bookmans- Written by Paul Lee

I’ve been an Anthrax fan for years and I’ve followed their rise to fame since their first album Fistful of Metal in 1984. I remember well when the band released this early thrash classic with it’s garish and cover with a guy’s face being destroyed by a spiked fist. I had just gotten into Metallica’s Kill ‘Em All and then Fistful of Metal arrived on the scene and floored me. From the get go, things were looking bright for Anthrax and their rise to world domination was assured.

A promo shot of the mighty Anthrax

It’s unbelievable to think that Anthrax has been unleashing their brand of thrash metal since the nascent days of the thrash movement in 1982. Its now been 35 years since this crew of fierce New Yorkers have dominated the global metal scene and there’s still no stopping them.


After Fistful of Metal, the band continued to release a string of killer albums. There were classics like Spreading The Disease (1985), Among The Living (1986) – which purportedly coined the term “mosh” from the song “Caught In A Mosh” – and Persistence of Time (1990) which featured a blistering cover of Joe Jackson’s “Got The Time.” Anthrax continued to set the world afire with their uniquely heavy (and catchy) songs.

27 Oct

Pickin’ In The Pine’s Was a Bluegrass Blast – Bookmans – Written by Paul Lee

In case you missed it… our Pickin’ in the Pines review. What a wonderful weekend!

The weekend of September 18-21, Flagstaff hosted Pickin’ in the Pines, an amazing bluegrass festival held at the amphitheater at Fort Tuthill County Park that was about 3 miles from our store. Bookmans was one of the sponsors and vendors at this rip roarin’ event and I along with some of my cohorts got to work our booth and attend this cool event. I was a newbie at Pickin’ and I had no idea what to expect. Usually my idea of festivals are overcrowded outdoor venues with long lines at the bathrooms and the acrid smell of bad beer and body odor.

I have to be honest, I had trepidations about attending Pickin’ in the Pines as I wasn’t a bluegrass fan even though I could appreciate the artistry of the music. The most exposure I had to this classic American music was when I went with my family to car shows back East where there were often bluegrass bands pickin away. I enjoyed what I heard but I never felt the need to pursue bluegrass any further.

Pickin' in the Pines

At Pickin’ In The Pines I fully expected to be trapped under our tent fighting off mosquitoes and fielding questions from customers who would try to talk to me about a subject I knew little about. When I asked on of my coworkers what kind of people we’d meet at the booth, he said: “We’re going to get a whole lot of boring white dudes who are going to talk our ears off about stuff we don’t care about,”. That didn’t help my enthusiasm as I already was afraid that I’d be out of my comfort zone. My girlfriend and another co-workers told me to buck up and go to the show with a positive attitude so I put my big boy Event Liaison pants on. It turned into a fantastic experience, of which I won’t soon forget. 

26 Sep

Punk Rock Review: The Coneheads, by Flavio. Bookmans Entertainment

Hey, guys. Flavio’s back…and guess what? He’s written another album review! Want to take another guess? It’s about a punk rock band! So predictable!

Take it away Flav…
I was scouring through the depths of the internet and came across a band that I never thought would exist in this year (and this universe).

They call themselves The Coneheads and their album LP 1 aka 14-Year-Old High School Hype Lords Rip Off Devo for the Sake of Extorting $$$ from Helpless Impressionable Midwestern Internet Peoplepunks L.P. Yeah, it’s quite a mouthful, but it’s probably one of the best punk rock albums I’ve heard of in quite some time. It’s strange to think this band exists in this modern era. Their sound is something irreplaceable. It’s almost hard to describe in many ways.

15 Sep

Finally, a Frank Ocean Review – Bookmans Entertainment

With brand new music from Frank Ocean flooding our radios and ears, it was only appropriate to delve into the newly released albums and give an honest review while he’s still hot. Frank Ocean has been making music and infecting the R&B world for years, before a four year hiatus when R&B artist Frank Ocean hadn’t released any of his own new music. With everyone creating enough rumble about his new releases I found myself diving myself into Endless, enjoying the ripe glory of it, when not even a day later; a second album was released.

Blonde or Blond, no matter the spelling, people will continue to wonder. The artwork of the album features a title different than the title seen on Apple Music, and people are curious – is it preference or an intentional artistic way to reference sexuality from Frank Ocean himself? In his song “Nikes” Ocean sings “there are two versions of me” which may allude to his semantic choice. As for me, it be clever or a preference but still doesn’t change the album.

Frank Ocean

13 Sep

Ticket Tuesday – Jared & The Mill

**Contest Closed***

Celebrate the release of a new album by hometown heroes, Jared & The Mill with free tickets to see this Americana outfit live! Jared & The Mill released the Orme Dugas EP on September 9th along with dates to their three-month national tour. Born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, Jared & The Mill got their start in the summer of 2011 as a fun way to hang out with friends, play music and have a good time. Little did they know that they would soon become a fixture in the local scene, playing with other up-and-coming bands throughout Arizona. After three years of touring, Jared & The Mill is now playing along side legendary acts and some of their most admired musicians. Catch these roots rockers while you still can! This Ticket Tuesday, we give away two tickets to see Jared & The Mill on September 17th at Livewire in Scottsdale with a melange of local Arizona bands.

Jared & The Mill

09 Sep

Bookmans Recommends: Christmas All Year

It may not look like it just yet, but Fall is right around the corner. Nights are getting cooler and the days are getting a little bit shorter. The eminent fragrance of pumpkin spice is just chomping at the bit to make its way into every coffee house. All around Arizona, it’s getting closer to sweater weather, people, and that means that Christmas isn’t as far away as you may think. What better way to pass the hot remaining summer days then to bust out the Christmas music a little earlier than usual? The delightful tunes have proven to make seasons bright, add a cup of cheer, and make your troubles seem miles away. What Christmas selections would make for the merriest and happiest holiday feeling? Stop in to your local Bookmans to check out what treasures await on vinyl, cassette and CD. We are counting down the top five Christmas songs you should listen to when it’s not quite Christmas in the real world.


23 Aug

Ticket Tuesday Giveaway: Poncho Sanchez at the MIM

***Contest Closed***

It’s Ticket Tuesday yet again! Get ready for a soul-touching, musical masterpiece: Poncho Sanchez.

The Los Angeles Times stated, “As Elvis is to rock and James Brown is to soul, Poncho Sanchez is to salsa.” A living legend, percussionist Poncho Sanchez illuminates conga rhythms by expertly blending African beats with Caribbean sounds and a little homegrown California soul. Elements of Latin jazz, swing and be-bop come together with the patented Poncho panache to create a show like no other. Don’t miss this opportunity to experience such a unique and mesmerizing concert! This Ticket Tuesday, we’re giving away two tickets to see Poncho Sanchez live at the Musical Instrument Museum!

Ticket Tuesday

18 Aug

5 Movies With Phenomenal Soundtracks

When we sit down to watch a film it’s never the soundtracks we intend to fall in love with, however, some of our favorite movies are not only cinematic geniuses they’re compilations of brilliant sounds and songs. We tried not to go into the world of musicals, nor will we include the film scores of Star Wars, LOTR or Harry Potter because, c’mon, they’ll win every time. Instead, we sat down and came up with some of our favorite soundtracks to movies; tunes that can be enjoyed even if the movie itself isn’t accompanying them.


Hanna, directed by Joe Wright came out in 2011 to critical acclaim. She’s fifteen, has been raised by a single father and she’s a natural killer. Even better than the movie itself is the phenomenal soundtrack written by The Chemical Brothers. Substantially more mellow and rhythmic than their previous work, this soundtrack takes you on a roller coaster of emotion. While it does pick up in some spots, it keeps you on a nice and easy plane that’s lovely to listen to. With no lyrics, just melody, the Hanna soundtrack is perfect for crafting, reading or yoga.

Easy Rider, the 1969 film by Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper takes us on a tour of the dregs of America. Two men on motorcycles, an open highway and the free spirit of the 60’s/70’s make this film an instant cult classic. Of course, the music for this movie is everything you’d want out of the gritty roadster, cowboy boot wearing, acid poppin’ film that it is. We get the best out of what we now consider classic rock. With tracks from Hendrix, Steppenwolf and Roger McGuinn this soundtrack is meant for road trips and back wood camping. Also, for all you trivia nerds, the music alone cost filmmakers more money than it took to create the entirety of the film itself!


Before Avatar, if you mentioned the big blue people most would think of Fantastic Planet. A vastly political and philosophical film, Fantastic Planet was released in 1973 in Czechoslovakia. The film itself should be required watching and has won numerous awards over the years. The music is a certainly notable, with a mix of eerie, funk and lighthearted flute you’ll find yourself lulling off to sleep and then being jolted awake and flailing your body around. Composed by Alain Goraguer, a French pianist, you’ll find his other work nothing like what you hear in the movie. It’s hard to find, but if you come by this one you won’t want to pass it up.

By a better known composer, the soundtrack for Blade Runner is a personal favorite. Vangelis not only created the music for Blade Runner, he also did music for numerous other films such as Chariots of Fire, 1492: Conquests of Paradise and also Carl Sagan’s Cosmos series. This soundtrack goes beyond enjoyment. It’s a psychological mind warp that leaves you feeling like you’ve just traveled dimensions. It’s dark and melancholy and full of pleasure. Without writing a whole article just on this masterpiece, we encourage to enjoy it yourself. Have you been looking for a vinyl copy? Be sure to check our “new” vinyl selection to pick up your own.


We may have mentioned the Blade Runner soundtrack as being dark and eerie and although it’s a favorite, it has nothing on the 2001 A Space Odyssey. Produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick in 1968, the movie and soundtrack leave you looking over your shoulder and maybe even having an existential crisis. With an abundance of amazing composers and musicians this soundtrack opens a whole new world to your musical knowledge. It’s the kind of playlist you’d hear in a haunted house and it’s fantastically wonderful.

We recommend you stepping up your movie soundtrack game. We offer soundtracks in forms of CD’s, vinyl and sometimes even old-school cassette tapes. A highly overlooked art form, soundtracks are the ultimate reminisces of your favorite movies and some of the best playlists you can get! Tell us your favorites and stop in to get their physical copies today.

15 Aug

Misheard Disney Lyrics

Nants ingonyama bagithi Baba  (Here comes a lion, Father) Sithi uhm ingonyama” (Oh yes, it’s a lion). Yes, that did just happen. The Lion King’s opening song, The Circle of Life, had to be the opening sentence. Complete with translation, because that’s what us Disney buffs do. Disney movies, from the classics to the most recent, packs in punches to every story line they recreate, or originally come up with. If it’s a movie made by them, you are sure to be dazzled, especially by their music. It’s a whole new world with unbelievable sights, indescribable feelings that keeps you soaring, tumbling and weaving through every surprise turn. Okay, that was a lot from the movie Aladdin. In this case though, it is completely accurate to describe all the emotions that Disney movie songs can take you through. Most are easy to recite, but there’s a few that are often misunderstood. Some will even make a man out of you! So let’s get down to business, and defeat these Disney song lyrics!


05 Aug

Freebie Friday: Rebelution Rocks PHX

**CONTEST CLOSED**As summer swelters in Arizona, a little beach-inspired relief is headed to the Valley of the Sun. California roots & reggae band, Rebelution will grace the renowned Comerica Theatre this Thursday, Aug 11 at 7:00 p.m. Along with fellow bands, The Green, Stick Figure and Through the Roots, Rebelution brings their unique brand of ska-infused, jam-band grooves to town. Don’t miss this opportunity to attend a stellar summer concert. Tickets start at $35, but not to worry: this Freebie Friday, we’re giving away two tickets to see Rebelution live in Phoenix.

Freebie Friday

04 Aug

Stairway to Electric Guitar Heaven

Bookmans is known for it’s amazing selection of musical instruments, we don’t just sell books after all! Bookmans Speedway currently has three amazing electric guitars that stand out from the (impressive) pack. We were so excited by these treasures we wanted to share a few bits of information about them.

Remember though, that all of our stores are packed with the full range of musical instruments, all types, sizes, for all skill levels and genres. Bookmans merchandise is all available for purchase with our famous Trade Credit, no cash required (although your money is more than welcome in our stores) and these gorgeous electric guitars are no exception. We don’t just sell musical instruments but we repair them too! You can even finance those repairs with Trade Credit so you don’t have to take out a bank loan to keep the music rolling. Let us help you get started on your dreams of musical greatness and have a look at some of our cherry, killer cool, smokin-hot electric guitars.

electric guitars

03 Aug

33 1/3 Series Only Leads to Treble

Enter a world full of musical geniuses, lyrical masters and soul-touching beats, and you’ll find yourself reading the 33⅓ series. The world is full of music fanatics and so is Tucson. We see it as we buy, sell & trade music-related paraphernalia all day long. We see it in the amazing shows and DJ sets in local venues and we see it in the now flourishing local record store Wooden Tooth. Tucson loves music, there’s no doubt about it. That’s why here at Bookmans we take it upon ourselves to provide you with the best selection of instruments, CD’s & vinyl, cassette tapes, record players and anything else that gets the groove flowing; including the rare gems that are the 33⅓ books.

Are you familiar? We just recently started ordering these little babies brand-new to provide our customers with yet another music related treat, read and obsession.


With a slew of musical bios, magazines and internet blogs, the available information for your favorite album is already out there, but what makes the 33⅓ titles so unique is the in depth personal feel of each one, all dedicated to just one album at a time.

Bookmans Entertainment Exchange buys, sells and trades used books, music, movies, video games & musical instruments.
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