Ten New York Holiday Gifts for the Music Fan in Your Life


Sure, you can buy some random music-related present online for your Yanni-lovin’ granny or your Behemoth-worshipping nephew. But this is New York! Go local, go big, go small — there’s a plethora of great gifts for even the most persnickety music fan. Our criteria? Available in, made by, representing or featuring (mostly!) New York/New Yorkers. Happy local shopping, holiday revelers!

The L.O.T.I.O.N. / Sadist USB Flash Drive Earring
If you’re looking for the New York fashion statement that says you’re in the tribe of cyberpunks, this USB flash drive turned earring with laser-etched designs (including the timeless CRASS logo) is for you. Produced by Brooklyn’s Burn Books, this is a fresh mixture of fashion and function, even more than the beer helmet you got for Christmas last year. Yes, this USB drive is loaded with “unreleased live footage” featuring New York-based L.O.T.I.O.N. (which released one of our favorite punk releases of 2014) and Boston weirdos Sadist. This flash drive holds up to two gigabytes of data, more than enough room to keep a few platters’ worth of punk on your person at all times. Complete your look! Cop one for yourself or your mom. [Buy it here] — Nick Lucchesi

Legendary Cyphers Skullies
Legendary Cyphers, the Union Square weekly freestyle event we’ve covered a few times, is now selling rap’s winter head garment of choice, Skullies. With the Legendary Cyphers logo across it, it’s the only article of clothing tested repeatedly to make sure your head stays warm when rapping for long winter hours in Union Square. [Buy it here] — Chaz Kangas

Sting in The Last Ship
For the Police fan on your Christmas list — the band, of course — you can’t do better than Sting live on stage in his own musical at the Neil Simon Theatre. Don’t expect salacious songs about prostitutes (“Roxanne”) and teacher-student affairs (“Don’t Stand So Close to Me”) — the topic of The Last Ship is just that. Sting plays Jackie White, the foreman of a shipyard who rallies his community to build, yes, one last ship meant to sail the world. Mr. Sumner holds the role through January 24, and if your giftee is a hardcore fan, waiting by the stage door post-show for a Sting-signed playbill is a great bonus with purchase. [Buy tickets here] — Katherine Turman

Wild Style Breakbeats
Wild Style is hip-hop’s most iconic movie, but the 1983 flick’s soundtrack has remained swaddled in mystery — until this year’s re-release via Kenny Dope’s Kay Dee label. The elusive funky loops are now presented over seven 7-inch vinyls, housed in a deluxe 28-page “case book” that features interviews with sonic architects Fab 5 Freddy and Charlie Ahearn plus archived art and scans of studio session timesheets originally booked by Blondie’s Chris Stein. For $69.99, it’s heaven for hip-hop junkies. [Buy it here] — Phillip Mlynar

The Downtown Music Gallery
For that one friend or relative with “eclectic” tastes, the Amazon algorithm just won’t do. Eschew the cringeworthy half-smile that results from buying Kind of Blue for a Miles Davis completist by heading to the Downtown Music Gallery, the avant-audiophile’s wet dream. The subterranean Chinatown grotto is curated by Bruce Lee Gallanter, a tireless champion of the downtown scene for over two decades. He can talk Soft Machine till the Henry Cows come home, or if that reference didn’t fly, he might steer the uninitiated toward a King Crimson box set or an Arthur Russell LP worth 180 grams of street cred. Open daily from noon to six, extended hours Sundays for in-store shows. — Aidan Levy [Information here]

Tomato’s House of Rock – THOR
What 10-year-old doesn’t want to be a rock star? Or 45-year-old, for that matter? Well, since 2009, THOR has been helping wannabes achieve that goal. Founder Chris “Tomato” Harfenist stresses that the program is “focused on creativity” and helping students find their own musical voice and style. Teamwork is also crucial, because at the end of a two-month program, your little (or large) musician will rock the stage with their THOR band at a storied venue such as Littlefield, the Bell House, or B.B. King’s. Two-week summer intensives and locations in both Brooklyn and Manhattan ensure a short literal trip to rock ‘n’ roll heaven. With a focus on songwriting, recording, and performance, students start on their own personal journey toward becoming professional musicians. Or pretty rockin’ amateurs. [Information here] — Katherine Turman

Gift Card to Hair Metal Salon
Located in hip Williamsburg (because obviously), this is the best one-stop shop for sick tunes and spiky tresses. The tatted and well-trained stylists cater to local bands and civilians alike at this three-chair hair haven. Pink hair is a specialty, as is the likes of Slayer on the stereo. Just look for the skull and scissor crossbones right off the L train at Bedford. A gift card from here will surely pamper your special Sabbath-loving someone.  — Jill Menze

Rockettes DVD
Know someone who missed the Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall? Or someone who just can’t get enough? Enjoy the Christmas Spectacular year round from the comfort of your sofa with the Rockettes on DVD. (Or Blu-ray!) A holiday tradition since the 1930s, the Rockettes are quintessential NYC entertainment. See the troupe’s performance live on screen, including dances to classics like “The Dance of the Nutcracker” and “Parade of the Wooden Soldiers.” Because nothing spreads holiday cheer like a cheeky Santa costume and a few high kicks. [Buy it here] — Jill Menze

A Tribe Called Quest Sweater
Proclaim membership in the OG hip-hop Tribe by sporting the seasonally appropriate A Tribe Called Quest sweater this winter. One hundred percent acrylic and in sizes from XS to XXXL, it’s a perfect fit for the discerning rap/hip-hop fan on your list. ATCQ MCs Q-Tip and Phife Dawg smartly address social issues and promote positivity, and though the group has claimed its 2013 NY shows with Kanye West were the last ever, you can still sport Tribe’s good vibes on your person and let the world know you’re a fan. Check the rhime, buy the sweater. [Here]Katherine Turman

And for those who prefer to give rather than receive…

A Musical Donation
This holiday season, why not give back to the musicians who keep the New York city streets and subways alive with the sound of music? Sure, we’ve all heard an off-key “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” a time or two, but for every miss, there’s a performance by an unknown artist you simply can’t ignore. Help spread the holiday cheer by gifting a donation of a buck to the hardworking New York street musicians who need it most. — Jill Menze