We know you weren’t good this year. At CoS, we know our readers and figure that a good portion of the naughty list finds a way to stop by our website regularly. But, we embrace our own kind. We figure that no matter how many drunk tanks you’ve awoken in, how many boyfriend’s you have cheated on, or how many Justin Bieber songs you can recall by name, you will still get presents.
Music has always been a go-to for me, because it is easily located and something you know for sure that the person would never spend their own money on. Plus, back in the day, there was the clever tactic of buying people CD’s that you also wanted and then asking them to burn you a copy. Before the internet, you had to be creative as well as shady to get free music. So CoS used its “all encompassing” knowledge to create a gift guide that can appeal to all types of music fans.
If you’re shopping for the picky-as-hell, vinyl-only, pretentious know-it-all in the family, you might be willing to fork over the cash for 69 Love Songs on vinyl. Or maybe you have a rock and roll die-hard sharing your bedroom. Check out the Bruce Springsteen reissue or, perhaps, the Green Day singles box set. They’ll love you forever. And what about the millions who logged on every G.O.O.D. Friday? Apparently there’s a pretty big record around the bend. But if less effort is preferred, why not play it safe with Michael McDonald’s This Christmas? A holiday record from everyone’s favorite former Doobie? Done deal.
And we’re just dipping our toes in here. Check out the CoS gift guide and have a happy end to your year.
Note: We’ll be adding new items to the guide throughout the holiday season, so please check back often.
How do you know you should be shopping for collectible music items for your loved one? If they even know how to use a record player, this section is a safe bet. Another tip-off could be their insistence on decorating with posters, despite being over the age of 22. For people like this, the holiday season brings a host of new releases featuring colored vinyls, gate-fold packaging, individually numbered artwork, and complete discographies whose most notable trait is that they come in a box. The holiday season also brings people willing to buy this often ridiculous, but often awesome, indulgence. Check out some must-haves for the most serious of music-fans, ranging from the individual reissue to the absurdly extensive demo collections.
Joy Division – + –
Joy Division to the world! For a band that existed for around four years, released one album during that time and one post-humous one, all more than 30 years ago, these always seems to be more music seeing the light of day. This collection contains 10 7-inch remastered singles from the bands brief history and is limited to 5,000 copies. The first 500 sold also receive an art piece from Peter Saville. This is for the rabid fan, but will surely be appreciated. Order here.
Price: Sold Out, but you can try eBay…
Buy: Again, try eBay!
Bruce Springsteen – The Promise: The Darkness On The Edge Of Town Story
This collection is already out and its new tracks are getting solid reviews, from what I’ve seen. But did you need someone to tell you that The Boss released something worth listening to? One of rocks most consistent and genuine voices put together six discs to tell the story of one of his classic albums. Yeah, that’s a long story, but the Boss can talk for hours once he gets going. Twenty-one new tracks populate the set, along with live concert footage and a reproduction of his notebook, complete with notes. Perfect for your dad or an aspiring stalker. Or just get the abridged version (two CD’s of the new stuff) for fans of reasonable enthusiasm.
The Decemberists – The King is Dead Box Set
Okay, so it’s not out until January, but c’mon, it’s The Decemberists. Arguably set to be next month’s hottest release, The King is Dead is another agreeable foray into Colin Meloy’s trademark folk rock. This time around, however, fans can expect a sound that hearkens back to the early days of R.E.M., which makes sense given that R.E.M.’s Peter Buck appears on three tracks. If you know a certain someone who enjoys either party, then you might reckon on nabbing this ambitious box set. In addition to being limited in number (2500, to be exact), you’ll receive “a one-of-a-kind Polaroid photograph by Autumn de Wilde from the Impossible Project/Decemberists series, a 72 page hardcover book featuring over 250 unique Polaroid photographs by Autumn de Wilde and illustrations by Carson Ellis, Pendarvia DVD – a 30 minute short film by Aaron Rose, documenting the making of the album, a limited edition Giclée print illustrated by Carson Ellis,” in addition to the actual album on both CD and 180 gram white vinyl. There’s more, but go check it out for yourself. Think of it as an adventure.
Price: $165, $180 (w/ shirt)
Buy: The Decemberists.com
T-Rex – The Slider
Originally re-released in 1972 and out of print since 2003, this reissue of the classic album is the first in a series of reissues and a good gift option that won’t break the bank.T-Rex is beloved by both hipster trash and middle-aged accountants, so both the compact disc and remastered vinyl are available for their intended audience. Order from Fat Possum.
Score! 20 Years of Merge Records (Box Set)
Released last year to honor one of the generations most influential record labels, this set offers a host of rare tunes for the indie fan in your life. Fourteen CDs with original cover art and bonus content from curators such as Kara Walker, David Byrne, Mindy Kaling, Amy Poehler, and more. Bonus content includes exclusive new recordings from The Minus 5, Lou Barlow, Destroyer, and others. Andrea Zittel, Zach Galifianakis, David Chang, Miranda July, and Phil Morrison provide exclusive videos for their comps. Plus a covers album, remixes album, poster, book and a box to put it all in. Yeah, it’s cool, but there are only 200 copies remaining.
Buy: Merge Records
The Magnetic Fields – 69 Love Songs vinyl box set
This has been on my wishlist for a couple years now. One of the landmark albums of all-time, this contains all 69 love songs remastered for vinyl on six 10″ vinyl records, all housed in a super-sized 69 Love Songs box, with a 10″ version of the original booklet featuring liner notes written by Lemony Snicket author Daniel Handler. If you have yet to discover this album, trust me and know that it will make most music fans very happy as a gift.
Buy: Merge Records
The White Stripes – Under The Great Northern Lights Box Set
Alex Young is probably angling someone for this. Released last March, this set sees the duo on tour in Canada circa 2007, for which a documentary of the same name was filmed. The set includes a DVD of the film itself, a DVD of White Stripes 10th anniversary show (dubbed The White Stripes Under Nova Scotian Lights), a 16-track White Stripes live album recorded during the Canadian trek on both 180 gram vinyl and CD, a live 7″ (featuring “Icky Thump” and “The Wheels on the Bus”), a 208-page book with photos from the tour by Autumn de Wilde (and a foreword by Jim Jarmusch), and a silk screen print. That’s a lot of stuff, but these White Stripes fans might be temporarily satiated by the haul.
The National – High Violet Expanded Edition
One of the more celebrated releases of this year gets the deluxe treatment and includes the new version of “Terrible Love” that Alex Young got a surprisingly reasonable explanation for in his recent interview with Aaron Dresner. Seven other bonus tracks populate the two disc collection, which will be available on November 23rd from 4AD.
Sufjan Stevens – The Age of Adz (LP)
Another one of 2010’s standouts might have worried some of the vinyl collectors when only the cd version was released in October. But, alas, the double-vinyl edition has hit stores and will be a great afordable gift for the music fan in your family. Maybe give it to non-music fans as well, it will probably blow their minds.
Tom Waits Reissues
While many of our gift options come with choices of the format you wish to receive, T0m Waits makes it easy to decide by only offering vinyl for his albums. Waits is serving up his first four albums — his 1973 debut Closing Time, 1974’s The Heart of Saturday Night, 1975’s Nighthawks at the Diner, and 1976’s Small Change — on 180-gram heavy vinyl, with each LP featuring its original artwork. Early birds can get red vinyl (first 1,000) but later birds get guaranteed pre-Christmas delivery for orders made before December 18th.
Price: Ranges from $24.99 – $37.99 depending on the release
Buy: Kings Road Merch
Modest Mouse Reissues
While many reissues highlight great releases that have been forgotten by time, Modest Mouse offers up up works for the completest only, The Fruit that Ate Itself and Sad Sappy Sucker. But the album that fortunately wasn’t their debut and their early E.P. show young men finding their voice and hinting at future greatness. Non-fans will be bewildered, but devoted mouse-heads will be thrilled by the collections.
Price: $14.98 (CD); $21.98 (LP)
Buy: Glacial Place Recordings
Green Day – 7-Inch Singles Collection Box Set
Michael Roffman was drooling over this gathering of the Bay Area’s rebels’ singles, all on 7-inch vinyl and grouped in a cool carrying box. 42 songs are spread over 21 records, including nine #1 hits. Your boyfriend can bring it to a high-school dance and pretend that you’re living in the 60’s. And that you are still in high school. He might be arrested. But waiting for him in 36 hours will be his Green Day singles. Order them here.
Buy: Green Day Music
The Tim Burton and Danny Elfman 25th Anniversary Box Set
The famous collaboration between filmmaker and musician turns 25, with a commemorative box set available for Christmas and other seasonal holidays. The list of what is included is impossibly long, but 16 cds with original Tim Burton artwork are the meat of the collection. Good for a close relative who is more of a movie buff than a music fan. Or just send it to me. Please. I’ll even tell you where to order it…
Tegan and Sara – The Official Vinyl Collection
I’m not sure if there is an unofficial vinyl collection floating around, or if maybe only Tegan approved an older version, but not Sara. Regardless, this is the official collection . The set offers six albums (Sainthood, The Con, So Jealous, If It Was You, This Business Of Art) and the exclusive bonus record, Home Recordings, which features nine demo tracks.
Buy: Because Sound Matters
Bad Religion 30th Anniversary Box Set
Another vinyl-only offering, but this one is limited to only 3,000 sets. Basically, it is every Bad Religion album ever produced on red vinyl and then put in a cool box because everyone loves things in boxes. If you are wondering about the quantity of records, because Bad Religion has been around for 30 years, well, you are right, there are a lot of records in the collection – 15 in fact. Get the records for your husband, keep the box for yourself. Order here.
Buy: Kings Road Merch
Matador at 21 Box Set
Released in conjunction with one of the best music festivals of the year, this box set is one of the rare occasions where the CD edition is more collectible than the vinyl – especially given that the CD set is currently out of stock (which should be available soon). In addition to 6 CDs, all spanning the label’s history, the set is boxed with 36 custom poker chips in three values, an 85-page perfect bound book with history of the label, photos, ephemera, emails, and more. The vinyl edition, however, only features disc five of the set, but it’s also much less money and, arguably, could be a creative gift for the hard-to-shop-for type. Get it here.
Price: $12.00 (Double LP); $35 (CD)
Buy: Matador Records
Linkin Park – A Thousand Suns Deluxe Fan Edition Box Set
While many of the other gift ideas offer choices in the format you wish to order, Linkin Park says why not have them all. For the hard rock or rap fan and particularly for fans of both, this gift includes a custom hinged box, two 12 vinyl records, a CD Digipak of A Thousand Suns, a DVD Digipack of the documentary Meeting Of A Thousand Suns and a hardcover art book. Fans of the band will be pumped. Non-fans will give you a strange look while thinking “they don’t know me at all.” But hey, no risk, no reward.
My Chemical Romance – Danger Days: California 2019 Edition
Judging by internet chatter and pure speculation, the new My Chemical Romance album finds the group having to rebuild a little after such a long absence. But they still have a loyal following, and this deluxe version of the new album will probably excite them more than you’d imagine. Along with the album, this set comes with “1 of four different 12-inch collectible ray guns made out of poly resin with four separate color schemes representing each band member’s gun with a clear acrylic stand and placard for display, an exclusive EP with three songs by The Mad Gear & Missile Kid, 1 of 4 wearable masks, 1 ‘Bad Luck Beads’ wooden bracelet, a 48-page photo booklet entitled Art Is The Weapon.” Actually seems like a good deal compared to some of this other stuff. Order it here.
Music of The Beatles
Yes, I know, music from the fabulous four is by no means new. But in the week since Apple announced they had convinced The Beatles to come to iTunes, nearly 45,000 Beatles albums have been sold. So even if you own their entire discography, quite a few people apparently do not. That it mind, let’s be honest: tangible compact disks are still reasonable choices, and chances are whoever you are buying for is savvy enough to place that CD into their computer and upload the songs, then add them to their mobile device. And sure this sounds like work, but it also sounds like you get more for your money, like album art and something to open on Christmas morning. Either way, you can’t go wrong.
Weezer – Pinkerton Deluxe Edition
Odds are you own this already. But, in the slight chance you don’t, there isn’t a beter time to pick up this classic than now. Originally panned by fans and critics alike, Weezer‘s sophomore diamond, Pinkerton, remains one of the most definitive albums in alternative rock. For physical enthusiasts – which should be all of you – you’re in for a treat. Not only do you get the original album remastered, but you also have the opportunity to enjoy 25 additional tracks, which includes unreleased tunes like “Tragic Girl”, some B-sides, and a slew of live material. Maybe it’ll get you jazzed enough to check the band out on their Blinkerton Tour. They do have some pretty sick openers.
Price: $20.46 (CD), $52.12 (Vinyl)
November 22nd and Beyond
Reissues are not the only gifts for the music lover in your life. In fact, a good haul of new music has still yet to see the light of day in 2010. Here is a very brief rundown of a few highlights that would make for affordable and desirable presents for people of all ages…mostly for younger folks though.
Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy
Never heard of it? Well it’s supposed to be good, you know, for “rap”. In truth, if you just bought this for everyone you know, the world would be an interesting place. And it is a shame that many people will ignore this album based on who Kanye is (or who they think he is), when I have never heard the phrase “I hate him, but that album its really good” more often…
Jay-Z – The Hits Collection Volume 1
Jay-Z will be competing against himself, as he is featured prominently on the Kanye West album. But this hits compilation is looking for more of an endurance race, setting itself up to be one of those classic records that introduces the next generation to the New York rapper. There are multiple packages ranging from modest CD’s to a collector’s edition box set.
Price: $17.99 – $199.98 depending on package
Buy: Island Def Jam
Daft Punk – Tron: Legacy Soundtrack
Something for a different fan base (or not, Kanye did use Daft Punk prominently at one time), Daft Punk return to the scene with their score of the new Tron movie. While it is hard to imagine it being successful as both a dance album and a soundtrack, if anyone could pull it off, it is Daft Punk. Order the album for a hip stocking stuffer today.
Nicki Minaj – Pink Friday
And look, another Kanye collaborator, it’s like six degrees of Kevin Bacon, but it’s one degree of Kanye. Much less fun than the original game. But this album has the possibility to be just as big as the more established names listed here. Expect to hear this name a lot in the coming years.
Yeah, we know that holiday albums can be the worst things in the fucking world. When I was growing up, the rotation was John Denver (actually not so bad), Johnny Mathis (yuck!), and Willie Nelson (yeah, this should be the coolest, but it was the worst. Willie just has a bad playlist). But Christmas doesn’t have to be so bad. Many of your favorite bands have made Christmas singles over the years, but few have made full-on Christmas albums. Here are a few of our picks to piss off your parents the one time of year when you usually have no say on the music.
The Raveonettes – Wishing You A Rave Christmas
This mini-album from a couple years back offers a choice in Christmas tunes for the more rebellious members of your family. A perfect, digital stocking stuffer for the teens.
Bright Eyes – A Christmas Album
In 2002, Bright Eyes was Conor Oberst on the verge of manhood, struggling with all the complexities in life, only more vocally than most. This Christmas collection was made around the time Lifted... was being supported, so that makes Oberst a 22-year-old making one of the most mature of career moves. Get this for the younger music fans in your life and watch them enjoy this sort of time capsule from one of our most intriguing artists, who now is hardly the same as the boy on this record.
Buy: Saddle Creek
Sufjan Stevens – Songs for Christmas
This is an old set, but, well, there just aren’t a lot of Christmas albums by artists that young people like. So why not revisit this Sufjan Stevens holiday collection. A fun fact is that Stevens actually hated Christmas carols and took on creating a new CD of Christmas tunes nearly every year, beginning in 2001 until 2005. This is the collection of that work, for a very reasonable price. Enjoy one of America’s great artists tackling one of our great traditions and order here.
Low – Christmas
This is another older collection, but is notable this year in that Low is touring in December behind the first ever vinyl release of Christmas. The record features a mix of classic tunes with Low originals. all with seasonal messages and or implications. Order it here.
Michael McDonald – This Christmas
If you have a secret Santa, get them the Michael McDonald Christmas album, titled This Christmas. Then write in the comments field what their reaction was. It will be funny, right?
Gift Wrapped 2: Snowed In
When I originally put the gift guide together, it was hard to find many Christmas albums that I could recommend to our younger audience, so I was pleased to see the announcement of Gift Wrapped II: Snowed In, a new Christmas record featuring up and coming artists next to the biggest names in the music world. Of note: Tegan and Sara take on “The Chimpmunk Song” anf The Flaming Lips offer their live-take on “The Little Drummer Boy”. Neil Young, Regina Spector, and Devo also appear, so buying this for your mom could be a smart long-term investment for your continued mental sanity as the years filled with the same music start to add up
Record Store Day
Record Store Day returns with another event for music fans (this should really be called Record Store Days). I could list out everything that is going to be at your local record shop on Black Friday, but that is another post altogether, so let me just highlight a few of the best gifts that are only available through certain stores and in limited capacity. All the relevant information you could want is available at Record Store Day’s website. Here is just a bit of what you can find:
— Soundgarden – Telephantasm 7″ featuring the previously unreleased track “The Telephantasm” , and previously unreleased live version of “Gun.
— The Gaslight Anthem –Tumblin Dice 7″ Never before released cover of Rolling Stones song. B-side is NOT the Beatles song, it’s an original Gaslight anthem song. Four colors of vinyl; cover art matches vinyl color. Randomly distributed.
— The Black Keys – Brothers Double 12″ with bonus 10″. The six tracks on the 10″ are live tracks, all performed by the quartet: Side A:” Everlasting Light,” “Next Girl,” “Tighten Up” Side B: “Howlin’For You”, “She’s Long Gone”, “Too Afraid To Love You”.
— Frank Sinatra – Jolly Christmas 12” vinyl reissue. Originally released in 1957, Sinatra’s first holiday release has been certified platinum, and is released for the first time in 40 years on vinyl, exclusively to indie stores.
— Jimi Hendrix – Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 10″ green vinyl single
— Pantera- Cowboys from Hell: The Demos on 180 gram vinyl