The holidays are for spending time with your favorite people—friends, family, neighbors (maybe even kids and pets)—and one of the great unifiers is music. This year, as the world sometimes sounds unstable, there’s even greater value to simple joys, like sharing music with those you love. There are plenty of options below, from guitars to speakers, vinyl and more. Take a look at the full Musicality Guide for more and our BUY section for other items that might just make others a bit happier.
The Ed Banger Records team chose their favorite AIAIAI headphones, the TMA-2 ($270), to upgrade with a new reinforced PU headband for the collaborative release. The headband comes complete with a thick foam padding for more comfortable wear during long sessions. Delivering plenty of bass and clear sound, these headphones also come with two cables and a special edition Ed Banger carrying pouch to seal the deal.
“Bizarre Ride II” 25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition
Released in 1992 via Delicious Vinyl Records, Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde ($60) is turning 25 years old—and to celebrate, this deluxe edition is available for pre-order now. Including a double-LP along with three 12″ singles, there are also brand new liner notes by respected music writer Jeff Weiss. With plenty of humor, clever word play and textured, lush production, this record was a refreshing departure from the era’s focus on gangsta rap—and remains a classic.
Queen of Bebop: The Musical Lives of Sarah Vaughan
Written by Elaine M Hayes, “Queen of Bebop: The Musical Lives of Sarah Vaughan” ($19) explores the jazz musician and human/women’s rights activist’s incredible—yet often looked over—existence and legacy. From her early life in Jersey, to the ways in which she helped desegregate radio, to performing at the Apollo, to her civil rights work, Vaughan was truly a force—paving the way for women of color in the music scene and beyond. This book traces a true success story, and it’s inspiring.
Loft Record Console
Made from high-quality North American Walnut, Wrensilva’s new Loft Console ($3000) is a beautiful and useful piece. Capable of playing music via vinyl, Sonos, mobile (3.5mm jack) or auxiliary (RCA), it’s a machine that will complement almost any room in the home. Additionally, there’s storage for 120 records, making the Loft the pinnacle of form meeting function.
Plastic milk crates, IKEA Kallax shelves, repurposed wooden crates—these classic storage options tend to hide the one of the best things about owning vinyl: album covers. Kickstarted into reality, Chicago-based flipbin has designed a slightly angled aluminum holder for easy browsing (and flaunting). The Model 33 ($75) can hold about 33 12-inch records, more than enough for an epic holiday party playlist. Lovingly made in the USA, it comes in nine different colors for extra decor flexibility.
Brooklyn’s brandnewnoise handmakes the Loopy Lou ($76), a petite but powerful recording device that offers both single playback and continous playback with a looping switch. It’s a straightforward, handy device that even offers pitch control. Ideal for an at-home studio, and for anybody interested in exploring looping in recording or for performance.
In an edition of just 15 units (produced per month), COTODAMA’s Lyric Speaker ($4500) beautifully displays the words of some two million songs as they play. Much more than just a traditional karaoke bouncing ball screen, this handmade product is a design object as well as a functional one. Made in Japan, this WiFi-enabled speaker’s track collection will continue to grow.
Voyager Golden Record Box Set
The Golden Records (first created to be taken aboard the Voyager spacecraft launched in 1977) were always intended for extraterrestrial ears. Made with 55 greetings in different languages, nature sounds, plus all kinds of music, the contents were chosen by a committee chaired by Carl Sagan. With tracks from Beethoven to Chuck Berry, the records were meant to serve as a welcome for alien life, and an introduction to Earth. Now, the Voyager Golden Records ($98) are available for human ears as a three-vinyl box set complete with a 96-page book that includes images transmitted back from the Voyager probes and more.
2018 Vinyl Subscription
If you’re unsure what record (or records) to gift your musically-minded friend, Stones Throw has a subscription service ($300) which means a recipient will receive every single one of their vinyl releases for 2018. Founded back in 1996 by Peanut Butter Wolf, the label doesn’t only produce hip-hop, but also psych-rock, jazz, synth-pop, soul and more.
St Vincent Guitar
A collaborative design between powerhouse musician St Vincent and the engineering team of Ernie Ball Music Man, this electric guitar ($2099) looks and sounds like no other. From the hand-rubbed rosewood neck and fingerboard to St Vincent inlays, Schaller locking tuners and a five-way pick-up selector, the custom configurations make it quite the sonic force. When the guitar first launched it was available in black or custom Vincent Blue, a color hand-mixed by Annie Clark, but it has now expanded to Polaris White, Heritage Red, Tobacco Burst, and Stealth Black as well.
Images courtesy of respective brands