Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Dear Santa,

Posted By on Wed, Nov 20, 2013 at 6:00 AM

Do you need a gift for your music-obsessed boyfriend, wife, bestie or coworker? With some careful shopping, you can take advantage of special post-Thanksgiving releases and local specialty shops to come up with the perfect gift for the music nerd in your life.

Record Store Day is officially in April, but many independent records stores also band together on Black Friday (which is Nov. 29th this year) to offer up a range of specialty releases. Locally, LUNA music and Indy CD & Vinyl will both offer a selection of Record Store Day offerings, including some fun collaborations, remasters and rarities--one of which is likely to match up with your music geek's preferences. But, if someone were shopping for me on Black Friday Record Store Day (hint!), these are my personal favorites:

click to enlarge ben.jpg

   ·Nilsson Rarities - I'm pretty much obsessed with all things Nilsson again these days.
   ·Cheap Trick Box Set - five of their best LPs, in one pretty package.
   ·Elvis Costello and The Roots - because why not? This is a collaboration that has to be good, because otherwise, it will be really, really bad. Maybe not Lou Reed and Metallica bad, but bad. (Too soon?)
   ·Miles & Monk at Newport - I have a vintage version of this; it's gorgeous, but a pristine version in mono would blow my holiday-time mind.
   ·Nirvana "In Utero" - remastered and pressed on vinyl as chunky as Nirvana's chords.
   ·Roy Orbison - "The Monument Vinyl Box" - It would be awesome to have all of his best albums together on vinyl, but I'd probably just wear out the "In Dreams" track before listening to anything else.

Both LUNA and Indy CD & Vinyl stock plenty of vintage vinyl and non-Record Store Day new releases, and you can also score hard-to-find classic LPs at Vibes and Irvington Vintage.

Audiophiles need equipment to match their collections. Thankfully, there are a number of niche-y local shops that cater to the varied and various gear desires of the musically inclined. The Turntable Shoppe sells lovingly restored (surprise!) turntables, along with a smattering of vintage receivers and speakers to match. Affordable Hi-Fi, located inside Irvington's Guitar Town, is a great place to find a very affordable vintage record player. Both are also places to get a set-aside but beloved piece of listening gear restored. Digital music lovers deserve nice equipment too. You can get good headphones everywhere from Target to the Apple store, but LUNA also has a great selection.

Vinyl, CDs and digital music are great. And new electronics are always fun. But one of my favorite parts of Christmas day is the time after the gifts are open, after the food is eaten (in my family, that's an Indian buffet), when it's just me, my new slippers and a book. With a record, yes, probably playing in the background. I love books that combine my love of music with my love of the written word, and these are some I've read and some I'd like to read:

   ·Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks - Neuroscience and phenomena related to the way our brains interact with music.
   ·On Celestial Music: And Other Adventures in Listening by Rick Moody - a great contemporary author recounts his connections with music over time.
   · Love Is A Mixtape by Rob Sheffield - Love, loss and mixtapes by a really smart writer.
   ·Hang the DJ: An Alternative Book of Music Lists - a compilation of music-themed lists from contemporary writers (Jonathan Lethem, Ali Smith and many more).
   ·The Infinite Variety of Music by Leonard Bernstein - a master and consummate educator talking about music--from Mozart to jazz and a great deal in between.

And, don't forget, experiences make beautiful gifts as well. The symphony, a great rock show, a series of lessons for someone who never learned to play piano--these are things that can be just as nice and maybe more meaningful than even a coveted object. That said, if you see a '62 Fender Jaguar guitar out and about, I will not turn my nose up at that, especially if it has a big bow on it.

What's on your musical holiday wish list?

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About The Author

Ben Shine

Ben Shine

Bio:
Ben Shine markets meaningful nonprofit missions by day and immerses himself in culture by night. A lifelong music lover, he's been to hundreds of concerts, owns thousands of albums and consistently has three different songs going through his head. Unfortunately, one of them is almost always "Take My Breath Away"... more

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