How many gift guides have you read that started off by reminding you that “the holiday season is fast approaching”? Probably too many by this point. If you’re like me, you just get stressed out and close the tab before even realizing that some of them have awesome suggestions. Don’t do that here: Although some of the following suggestions might require a little elbow grease and an understanding of simple wiring systems, any of these would be gifts that a music fan would be happy to receive. You’re welcome.
For The Friend Too Embarrassed To Admit He Loves Top 40
A year-long subscription to Spotify, the digital music service that lets you listen to pretty much anything for only $10 a month. Get a gift card here.) This is a godsend for people like me who make blanket statements like “I only listen to top 40 when I’m in a cab, which is never, because I am very poor.” The Premium account is a little pricey at $120, but the Unlimited version will only set you back $60 for a year.
For The Friend Concerned With Street Cred
A pair of Beats By Dre Studio Colors headphones. I have a pair of regular boring old black Beats, but there is an unspoken head nod that comes with wearing these that almost makes up for the price. The new versions come in different colors like pink, purple, and orange, which will help make it a lot more obvious that you have on $350 headphones. To be fair: mine were a gift, but I still prefer them 10:1 over all over-ear headphones I have tried. If you have a giant head, maybe get them a pair of earbuds instead; my Charlie Brown-esque friends complain that they’re a little tight.
For The Friend Who Is Always Coming Up With Names For His Synth Band
A Korg MINI-KP Kork Mini Dance Koss Pad (Pocket Size). These things are like a tiny dance party in your pocket. Its touchscreen allows you to make all sorts of fantastic synth sounds, which you can then record, loop, playback, and manipulate all you want. Might want to include a pair of headphones with this one, because it can get a little annoying to the envious onlooker, but trust me, your gadgety music friends will be completely enamored with it.
For The Friend Who Likes To Get High And Listen To Music At Home
A LED Light Box that flashes to music. This is a pretty DIY project, but it will indubitably yield a very positive response from your stoner friends. Here’s a link to some instructions on how to build one, and a video of what it can look like when it’s finished. Companion gift: the most recent Battles album. Or E.L.O, depending on what they’re into.
For The Friend Who Likes To Get High And Go To Concerts
A portable vaporizer. This little gadget looks like a walkie-talkie, and is far more discreet than smoking a joint at a concert. It emits barely any smell, and the vapor isn’t noticeable at all. Added bonus, you kind of look like a security guard while using one, so no one will mess with you and you can make your way to the front of the venue no problem. Get your friend one of these, and they will be sure to enjoy those 4 nights of Phish shows stress-free (although are Phish fans ever truly stressed?)
For The Friend Who Travels A Lot
LMFAO’s I’m In Your City, Trick box set. The party rockers recognized that not everyone is in Miami all the time, so they went ahead and did covers of their hit single “I’m In Miami Bitch” using over 40 city names and slightly nicer language. A lot of these cities are off the beaten path, so your friend who has to travel to, say, Chattanooga or Fort Worth or New Bedford will be sure to be the life of the party for giving these cities their due when he takes over the DJ booth at the Holiday Inn Airport Bar.
For The Friend Who Lives Somewhere Chilly
Earmuff Headphones. True, the Beats could count as earmuffs as well given their size, but these are much more subtle, cheaper, and fur lined which is important come wintertime. I can’t vouch for the sound quality, but your friend will appreciate your acknowledging that some places can get colder than NYC, although you might not be willing to admit it.
For Your Friend Who Acts Like She Was Around The NYC Music Scene In The ’70s, Even Though She Is In Her 20s
A copy of William Hermes’ Love Goes To Buildings On Fire: Five Years in New York That Changed Music Forever. The senior critic at Rolling Stone penned this book on New York in the ’70s, which looks at the likes of the Ramones and the New York Dolls to the critics who were helping shape the musical scene that was emerging at the time. A must-read for anyone who wants to add a little context to their current interpretation of the New York music scene.
For The Friend You Don’t Want To Actually Spend Any Money On
A zine! Zines are totally in right now, meaning they have been the subject of trendpieces in the Times. Why not make one for your friend to show them that while you don’t have any money to spend (besides the cost of printing out a few pages and giving up a couple of hours of your time) you still care about them?
Possible Zine Subjects:
• The Year Of Skrillex In Facebook Statuses (paste in said statuses, along with photos of Skrillex, and girls with Skrillex haircuts)
•Why People Hate Nickelback So Much (paste in the best comments from these posts, along with photos of Chad Kroeger stroking his goatee)
• Beyoncé’s Baby Bump (photos of Beyoncé being pregnant, along with tweets about said pregnancy)
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 14, 2011