The 2020 Gift Guide for Music Lovers
Featuring music books, turntables, electronics and much moreImages via Jammy, Cotodama, Nura Music Lists gift guides
The holidays are stressful, and with this year’s additional stress from…well, you know…everyone is just trying to get through it as painlessly as possible. So if you need to buy a gift for the music fan in your life, we’ve put together a guide to make that process so much easier. From books and electronics to even whiskey (this may help ease the pain of live music’s absence), there’s something for everyone to enjoy. With 2020 being so tough for many musicians, we also encourage purchasing merchandise directly from artists or via Bandcamp. Happy gifting!
Bandcamp Gift Card
Most artists lost a huge portion of their expected revenue due to the pandemic, and Bandcamp is the one platform that stepped up the most, sacrificing their own revenue cut on several occasions to support artists and labels that bring so much joy to our lives. If you need to buy a gift for someone who’s big on vinyl, tapes, merch or digital downloads, consider purchasing a Bandcamp gift card or even gifting a specific album through the platform.
Boujee Petite Airpods Cases
Let’s face it—AirPods are easy to lose, but Boujee Petite has a fun solution to making sure they’re always in your sight. Their online store offers a range of hyperrealistic AirPods cases that resemble Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, Vaseline, a Happy Meal, a Nintendo Switch controller and more. It’s like the “everything is cake” meme, except more practical and less horrifying.
Steven Hyden: This Isn’t Happening: Radiohead’s “Kid A” and the Beginning of the 21st Century
From the author of Your Favorite Band is Killing Me, Twilight of the Gods and Hard to Handle comes a new book examining the importance of Radiohead’s Kid A, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. Steven Hyden examines the most dramatic shift in the back catalogue of one of the world’s most influential and critically acclaimed rock bands.
Fender Billie Eilish Signature Ukulele
Billie Eilish has quickly become one of the world’s biggest pop stars, so if you know someone who likes Eilish and is looking to pick up an instrument (and isn’t too embarrassed to own a ukulele), this could be a gift option. This Fender signature ukulele is covered with Eilish’s “blohsh” logo and even includes a preamp.
Marcus J. Moore: The Butterfly Effect: How Kendrick Lamar Ignited the Soul of Black America
Music journalist Marcus J. Moore dissects the rise and immense influence of 13-time Grammy winner Kendrick Lamar. It’s the first cultural biography about the rapper, who’s best known for albums like 2017’s DAMN. and 2015’s To Pimp A Butterfly.
Heaven’s Door Whiskey
The Venn diagram of people who like Bob Dylan and enjoy whiskey is probably pretty close to a circle, so if you know anyone like that, consider buying them some Dylan-co-created whiskey from Heaven’s Door. Their trilogy collection would make the perfect gift for the holiday season, as it includes bottles of Tennessee Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Double Barrel Whiskey and Straight Rye Whiskey. Plus, the 2020 edition of their Bootleg Series, offers a rare 15-year-old whiskey, featuring one of Dylan’s paintings on the bottle.
Cotodama Lyric Speaker Canvas
Cotodama offers a unique speaker for design buffs and music fans alike. The Wi-Fi speaker combines “Lyric Sync Technology” with a chic design inspired by vinyl record artwork to display lyrics and patterns in time with your favorite songs. The speaker is compatible with Google Chromecast, Spotify Connect and Apple AirPlay, and its lyric display service is available for around 2 million songs. This ultra-premium product will bring playfulness and color to any space, and depending on the song, you can even use it as a karaoke machine.
Jammy G MIDI Guitar
If you’re looking for a nontraditional, extremely portable guitar with fun, unexpected features, you have to check out the Jammy G. It’s an electronic (not electric) guitar, so although you may feel like you’re playing a spaceship-like instrument or one of those goofy touchscreen guitars that Muse used to whip out, it’s a really enjoyable experience. Just download the Jammy mobile app and connect the instrument via Bluetooth, and there are tons of cool presets at your fingertips, like Romantic Goth, Fuzzy Funk, Glam Metal and Blues Rock Solo, plus backing tracks to jam along to—you can even use the Jammy G as a MIDI controller.
These bluetooth-enabled, wireless Nuraphones will excite any tech or music junkie. Nuraphones are a combination of in-ear and over-ear headphones, but that’s not even the central feature of this gadget. The big selling point for Nura’s flagship headphones is that they create a unique sound profile for your ears by conducting a hearing test through their mobile app. As it turns out, when sound waves hit our eardrums, they emit a faint noise called otoacoustic emissions (OAE). Nuraphones contain tiny microphones that pick up those emissions, allowing these smart headphones to tailor audio to your ears through a system Nura calls “a self-learning engine.”
Jeff Tweedy: How To Write One Song
Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy guides music lovers, fans and aspiring songwriters through the musical creative process in his new book. Like his previous 2018 memoir Let’s Go (So We Can Get Back), it appeared on the New York Times Best Seller list.
Maria Sherman: Larger Than Life: A History of Boy Bands from NKOTB to BTS
Sources of entertainment that are typically associated with women—especially young women—are often deemed frivolous. That’s one reason why there haven’t been many comprehensive discussions about boy bands from the past and present. But culture critic Maria Sherman takes this topic head on in Larger Than Life, which allows gossip and fan theories to exist in the same space as serious musical analyses.
Audio-Technica Turntable Package
Turntable Lab is a great one-stop shop for quality record players and audio/DJ equipment. Their online store touts a very reasonable deal on their most affordable turntable package, which includes an Audio-Technica: AT-LP60XUSB turntable, plus Edifier R1280DB speakers with a built-in amplifier and Bluetooth connectivity. If you’re looking for better quality sound than some of the hokey suitcase record players out there, but still don’t want to pay an insane amount for an over-the-top audiophile setup, this is the perfect choice.
Noise for Now x Seeding Sovereignty Mask
Noise for Now is a national initiative that allows musicians to connect with and support grassroots organizations that work in the field of reproductive justice. The organization recently partnered with Seeding Sovereignty (an Indigenous-led group “that works to radicalize and disrupt colonized spaces through land, body, and food sovereignty work, community building, and cultural preservation”) to sell a branded mask that benefits both causes. This mask campaign has been supported by dozens of musicians like Bon Iver, Cat Power, Dirty Projectors, Fiona Apple, Fleet Foxes, Kim Gordon, Lucy Dacus and more.
We Are Not Divided Merchandise by David Byrne
Calling all Talking Heads and David Byrne fans. Last year, Byrne founded a “solutions based journalism magazine” titled Reasons to Be Cheerful, which offers sharp, urgent and hopeful stories in fields like civic engagement, climate/energy, culture, economics, health and education. Their We Are Not Divided merchandise line features artwork and hand-drawn designs by Byrne himself, which he calls “dingbats,” emblazoned on various artsy t-shirts, mugs, tote bags and more.