Now that Thanksgiving is over, the holiday season is in full swing. Christmas is coming. There’s only four weeks until the holiday, which means you better get a move on organizing your holiday shopping for loved ones. But don’t panic. We’ve got your back, as usual, and we went hard searching for the best shopping out there.
No matter how you celebrate the holidays or who you’re looking to surprise, we’ve gathered some of the most rewarding music gifts to give this season, from vinyl records to music nerd books. Just remember to act fast. The last thing you want is for your gift to be stuck in a snowstorm before the holidays hit.
ALLSTON MINION FUZZ PEDAL
Supporting local music goes beyond the musicians. Swing by Allston music store Mr. Music to buy a locally designed and built guitar pedal: Allston Minion Fuzz. The Minion is a take on the popular “Fuzz Face” pedal Jimi Hendrix used. It’s a bright yellow, unique in circuit, and is built point-to-point so there’s no circuit board. Best of all, it comes with a lifetime warranty, so all parts and labor are covered cost-wise as long as they’re alive to fix it for you.
’80S MUSIC ICON STICKERS
We love to support local artists as much as you do. That’s why we’re eager to point toward Alex Kittle, a Boston-based art designer who creates prints, pins, and more with a punkish bent. While most of her work nods to film, she has a collection of ’80s-heavy music artwork worth snatching. Whether you’re looking to have a print of Madonna, Janet Jackson, and Joan Jett hanging above your bed or your family member would totally slap a sticker of Siouxsie Sioux or Grace Jones on their laptop, Kittle’s Etsy page will have the perfect gift.
VINCE GUARALDI TRIO—A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS
Everybody’s favorite cartoon boy is back to celebrate the holidays. Craft Recordings, the Catalog Division of Concord Music, is releasing a high-end vinyl reissue of the beloved jazz album, A Charlie Brown Christmas. Pressed to 180-gram vinyl and housed in a sleek, old-school style jacket that flaunts the original 1965 album artwork, this record is a classic one to put on while you’re getting cozy by the fire with some cocoa. If there was ever a time to hear this album, it’s when it’s pressed on a reissue free of crackles and pops.
33 ⅓: THE RAINCOATS’ THE RAINCOATS
Look, you don’t need us to tell you that people could argue about punk all day. No matter where you believe it started, one thing is certain: The Raincoats were the first group of punk women to actively call themselves feminists. Pitchfork editor Jenn Pelly wrote a standout addition to Bloomsbury’s 33 1/3 series that focuses on the band’s self-titled 1979 album that reaches far beyond the music into what the album signifies nearly 40 years later. It’s a read you will fly through, even if the first time you’re hearing this band’s name is right now—really.
BOSTON CALLING 2018 TICKETS
It may be winter time, but festival season is already calling. It’s best to pick up early. Boston Calling will return in the spring of 2018 for another stacked lineup of international, national, and local music, not to mention comedy and a sleek mini film festival. Keep your eyes peeled for tickets to go on sale soon. Perhaps the best gift to give your friend isn’t one they can indulge in now, but one that will pay off later—because believe us when we say next year’s lineup is worth the hype.
Rock ’n’ Roll Rumble winner Carissa Johnson is working on her next full-length album, which will be released in 2018. To help cover the duplication and mixing costs, she’s raffling off five incredible, hand-painted skateboards to fans who donate. All you have to do is send any amount of money to her email ([email protected]) through PayPal. When the raffle ends on March 10, she will announce the winners. Based on the selection of boards she’s shared, they’re certainly worth the money and the wait.
DREAMING THE BEATLES: THE LOVE STORY OF ONE BAND AND THE WHOLE WORLD
Forget about the other Beatles books. This year, Rolling Stone columnist and best-selling author Rob Sheffield wrote the Beatles book of the decade. It’s a mesmerizing, detail-filled, conversational look at why the British boys were so easy to fall in love with in a platonic and emotional way. Instead of rattling off their bio or breaking down their songs, Sheffield writes a series of essays pondering what the band means to a new generation of listeners who weren’t there when it all happened, but came to love the band as if they were.
THE FORCE OF LISTENING
Hey, excuse me? Yeah, you. Are you listening? In this book, Lucia Farinati and Claudia Firth draw the distinction between hearing as an involuntary act and listening as a voluntary act, and then ask you to learn about how to be better at both. The Force of Listening is a short book full of big questions, ultimately trying to decipher why listening is so powerful. Bonus: They reach beyond the music definition by nodding to ideas from feminist groups of the ’70s all the way to the Occupy movement.
VILLAGE VINYL & HI-FI GIFT CERTIFICATE
The newest record store in town has more than just wax. Village Vinyl & Hi-Fi is Brookline’s best underground—literally, it’s underground—collection of hi-fi. There’s plenty of quality speakers to grab, but we recommend grabbing a Technic SL-1200. The sturdy, sleek, beloved record player is a must-have for anyone looking to treat their vinyl right. Best of all, owner Jonathan Sandler has been repairing hi-fi gear for years, and before he opened his store, he has been doing the work for other record stores nearby.
JP LICKS T-SHIRT
It doesn’t take much convincing to go to JP Licks, but now there’s a special reason you have to swing by. Boston’s local ice cream chain teamed up with local hip-hop artist Nick Shea for a brand new t-shirt. The shirts, which feature a hand-drawn design by Shea on the front and back of the shirt, show off his classic stick figure people who are charming and mischievous. It’s the ultimate Boston collaboration that turns the spotlight on one of our favorite musical artists of the year.