Wednesday 11 December 2013

Christmas Gift Guide: for people who like music

Music list 1

This gift guide category is a big deal for me as I love music, it's a big part of my life and always will be. There are so many music related things on my wish list, some are genre specific but most are suitable for any music lover. First up is the actual music, this of course is completely subjective as everyone is into different bands and genres so instead of listing the bands that I think are 'cool' I've complied a list of my favourite box sets and Christmas albums. There are so many to choose from but here's the final cut.

1. The Clash have released this amazing Sound System collection of their entire re-mastered catalogue, perfect for the punk in you.
2. Whilst I find her highly irritating at times I do girl crush on Zooey Deschanel and I love A Very She & Him Christmas album. If you're a fan of The Carpenters and Pet Shop Boys I highly recommend this.
3. Sufjan Steven's Silver and Gold is a wonderful collection of Christmas songs. The box set contains 5 of his Christmas EPs containing traditional and original songs plus lots of other goodies like stickers. There's also a lovely vinyl edition too. Sufjan is an incredible musican so it's worth checking out his other box set Songs For Christmas as well.
4. Bob Dyaln's Complete Album Collection, need I say any more!
5. A fun entry here with A Charlie Brown Christmas album, what's not to love?
6. This wouldn't be a proper hansyhobs music wish list without a mention to Green Day. Whilst I appreciate most of you aren't Green Day fans it is definitely worth checking out Foreverly by Billie Joe Armstrong and Norah Jones, this is a gorgeous cover album of Everly Brother songs and very different from Green Day.
7. I never realised Conor Oberst did Christmas songs but alas there's a Bright Eyes Christmas Album, it's great so go buy it.
8. Last year I saw Emmy The Great and Tim Wheeler perform thier Christmas Album live, it was so wonderful I'm seeing them again on Friday. This Is Christmas is an album of original songs and it's great!
9. With the tragic passing of Lou Reed why not treat yourself to a Velvet Underground box set or two. White Light / White Heat is my favourite album of theirs and I really want this box set!
10. If you like yourself a bit of indie folk music then I can't recommend For Folk's Sake It's Christmas 2013 enough, plus the cover art is just lovely.
11. I did say a Velvet Underground box set or two didn't I? The Velvet Underground & Nico should take residence in everyone's music collection and this 45th anniversary box set would be a lovely addition.
12. Blur, oh how I adore Blur. I have the vinyl equivalent of this Blur 21: The Box but the CD edition comes with some extra DVDs and materials. Buy it, buy it now!

Music list 2

Buying CDs for music lovers is great but sometimes it's worth digging a little deeper and get them something a little more unexpected.

Books are a great alternative to CDs especially as the music fan in your life probably already has the albums they want. These 4 new books are well worth a read.
1. Torment Saint: The Life of Elliott Smith - the great musician died under questionable circumstance ten years ago and this book talks about his life and events leading up to his death including many interviews with friends, band mates, mangers etc. It's hard not to be a fan of Smith's work so this is well worth a read.
2. Yeah Yeah Yeah by Bob Stanley - The story of modern pop and Rough Trade are selling signed copies, I really want this!
3. Autobiography by Morrissey - of course this was going on the list. Not everyone is a fan of the great man or the Smiths but I ask why not, seriously?
4. Spy Rock Memories by Larry Livermore - the founder of Lookout! Records (where Green Day started) this man knows a thing of too about punk, well worth reading if you're a fan. 
5. I love diaries and I love Moleskine, voilĂ  a music journal to record notes about your gigs, favourite albums and songs writings. The perfect companion for a budding musician.
6. What is your favourite band? One of mine is Belle and Sebastian so instead of getting me one of their records get me this AMAZING Dogs on Wheels brooch from Tatty Divine instead - btw they have an EP called Dogs on Wheels, obviously!
7.  Belle and Sebastian were amazing at EOTR festival this summer I hear you say? Commemorate it with a gig poster then - fyi this applies for most bands and most gigs, posters as an easy but super gift.
8. I like a film where one band has written the entire score. From The Sea To The Land Beyond by British Sea Power is a stunning film. I saw them perform it live the other day and was blown away so much in fact that this DVD is perfect for everyone!
9. Piramida by Efterklang is one of my favourite music films of the year. The film is about the making of the bands latest album and having listened to the album a lot (and loving it) before watching the film my appreciate of the music grew 10 fold once discovering how it was made. Fr now you can only download it but hopefully it'll be released on DVD soon.
10. Rough Trade gift vouchers if you're really at a loose end!
11. USB sticks that look like mix tapes is the perfect way to make a retro looking play list for your loves ones. I was made one of these years ago and it was lovely!
12. If you love festivals why not ask for the Primavera Sound Christmas ticket pack which includes a ticket to the festival in May plus a bunch of other goodies. With Neutral Milk Hotel, Arcade Fire and Pixies headlining it's going to be amazing and I can't wait to go!

Music list 3

A few electronic items and bits to help make your music listening experience more enjoyable.I've really got into vinyl recently so thought I'd include a few different record players depending on your budget.

1. In this cold weather I hate taking my gloves of in order to use my iPhone, the solution are the gloves from Muji with sensorts in teh fingers tips so no need to expose your precious fingers to the elements.
2. I go to a lot of gigs, a lot of really loud gigs so I'm seriously considering purchasing ear plus to protect my ears. This Etymotic pair come highly recommend plus they're pretty cheap too.
3. A portable pair of speakers always come in useful, whether it's for a trip to the park, enhancing the sound on your laptop or providing entertainment at a festival during breakfast. These X-Mi X Mini II 2nd Generation Capsule Speakers are a great investment.
4. If you want a mega fancy record player and amp then the TDX turntable with separate speakers is for you. It's most definitely a case of style over substance and to be honest it's probably best to stick with the cheaper simpler options but I couldn't resist sticking them on the list as they look so chic!
5. A simple and cheap turntable but be careful when purchasing as speakers aren't included, however it's easy to hook up to your old hifi so this is a great way to get started with your vinyl collection.
6. The Crosley turntables with built in speakers look great and also sound fab. Some people say to avoid these all-in-one systems as the vibrations can damage your records but I've been thrilled with the one I got for my birthday and the in built system means it takes up a lot less space and is easy to transport.
7. Everyone needs a decent pair of headphones and I go back to Sennheiser time and time again, the sound quality is exceptional!
8. Once you've bought every thing how about wrapping your presents up in this amazing music wrapping paper from banquet Records.
I hope this wish list has given you plenty of ideas, there are so many music related gifts out there it's just about being a little creative. Also, I've tried not to include an Amazon link if possible, that's because I believe in supporting your local independent record stores. I know this might sound a bit snobbish but record shops are really struggling these days so let's try and support them when we can!

How's your Christmas shopping coming along x

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