Holiday Gift Guide 2016: Musicality

Records, storage, books, instruments, tech gadgets, collectibles and more for the sound lovers

The world may feel very divided this holiday season, but if there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that music possesses a type of magical power that can unite, inspire and entertain us all. Whether punk rock or easy listening is your jam, there’s a commonality in the way we feel when hearing our favorite tunes. With that in mind, we’ve pulled together some excellent gift items for the euphonically inclined—from artist autobiographies and pin badges to synthesizers and limited edition records. See the full guide and all kinds of other gifts for your favorite people in our Buy section.

Prince Purple Rain Tribute Pin

With hard purple enamel and gold plating, this tribute pin ($20) for the iconic musical mastermind Prince carries plenty of personality with a luxe edge—much like the man himself. Music fans have long sported pins and patches to show their dedication to the ones they love, but with Prince’s passing this year it’s never been more emotional to celebrate his immense contribution. This made-in-the-USA item affixes itself by way of posts with rubber pin backs.

Record of the Month Club

For anyone with a burgeoning vinyl collection, it can be hard to know what the next step should be when filling in the gaps. With Vinyl Me, Please, a team of music lovers makes that decision for you—with special editions of contemporary classic’s like The Fugees’ self-titled masterpiece and Beck’s Odelay being recent examples. In addition to the record, subscribers also get one original art print, a cocktail recipe and access to member-exclusive products in their store. There are three membership tiers here: a full annual commitment translates to $33 per month, the Three Month plan costs $36 per month, and a month-to-month membership runs for $42 per month. We recommend the Three Month service, as its a valid trial for what Vinyl Me, Please has to offer.

The Grateful Dead Original Poster

The only work created by renowned psychedelic poster artist Victor Moscoso for The Grateful Dead, “Satanic Santa” ($400) celebrates the band’s two-night residency at San Francisco’s Avalon Ballroom in December 1966, just a year after the band officially formed. This 14 x 20″ original print is valuable both for fans of the Dead and Moscoso alike; the Spanish-American artist has featured in exhibitions at MoMA and is widely acclaimed for his contributions to the underground comic book “Zap.”

Patron Package for Two

Save the date for 12-14 May, 2017: a weekend to experience live music in one of the most unique settings—Paolo Soleri’s experimental architecture built in harmony with the Arizona desert. Founded and run by musicians Hundred Waters, FORM Arcosanti breaks the rules of most festivals out there—an artist’s retreat would be a more accurate description. While entrance is only granted through an application process, there are opportunities to help subsidize the incredible line-up (like Four Tet and Skrillex last year)—by purchasing a patron package ($2300), which includes comfortable furnishings, and access to rare flushing restrooms and hot showers.

Daft Punk Mood Candle

As mysterious as the French electronic music duo themselves, Daft Punk’s unscented “Mood” candle ($40) is hand-poured in Los Angeles by “very nice people.” Each candle is housed in a 30% recycled glass container, burns for a minimum of 100 hours and comes packed in a heavyweight, collectible gift box. Getting lucky not guaranteed.

Mogees Play

Combining a series of apps and a smart vibration sensor, East London-based Mogees has managed to create a tech accessory ($50) that transforms any object into a musical instrument. By plugging the device into your smartphone and initiating one of the apps, Mogees can be played within two modes: Pulse or Jam. The former is a rhythm game, and the latter is essentially a set of tools that provide you with all kinds of sounds, loops and rhythms to create your own musical masterpiece. It’s also compatible with GarageBans and other MIDI apps.

BeoSound 2

Bang & Olufsen is forever on a mission to recreate the sound an artist hears in the recording studio and deliver it to the comfort of your living room. The 91-year-old Danish speaker company has proven themselves through various iterations, from compact to complex, and their most recent product continues that legacy. The beautiful BeoSound 2 ($1895) offers 360-degree sound performance and best of all, features integrated access to Spotify, Deezer, QPlay and TuneIn while supporting Bluetooth, AirPlay, Google Cast and DLNA.

Bad Girl Bandana

Made in collaboration by Deer Dana and Me and You, this Bad Girl bandana ($28) is an homage to Rihanna. Available in black or pink, the 100% cotton accessory is covered in Rihanna’s favorite design motifs—including everything from retro cat-eye sunglasses to fluffy kitten heels and blunts. This makes for a great alternative to the classic paisley bandana and a subtle way to show fandom without going overboard.

David Bowie Portrait Plate

LA-based artist Angela Rossi turns antiquated porcelain plates and other formal dining wares and turns them into modern works of art ($30) through clever mixed-media portraits. Our favorite features David Bowie, but music fans can choose from Prince, Janis Joplin, Sid Vicious, Patti Smith and more, in varying shapes and sizes.

Bill Viola: The Talking Drum

Originally recorded in an empty swimming pool on the cusp of the ’80s in Buffalo, New York, “The Talking Drum” ($635) is a previously unreleased sonic composition by groundbreaking video artist Bill Viola. Newly restored by Viola’s studio and pressed onto 180-gram heavyweight vinyl, this incredible limited edition of 100—each signed and numbered by Viola—includes original archive photography, an essay by Astra Price and the original program notes and invitation from a 1979 Composers Inside Electronics performance.

Classic T-Shirt

Founded by Belgian photographer-turned-DJ Francois Vaxelaire, The Lot Radio is Brooklyn’s internet radio station housed in a shipping container complete with a coffee kiosk. More than just a place for discovering music, The Lot serves as a community space where like-minded souls have a place to gather and exchange ideas of all sorts. Their classic T-shirt ($25) is the perfect way to show support for this ongoing passion project.

Korg iWavestation

Most serious musicians spend an equally serious amount of time on the road, lugging around heavy equipment. While orchestra players may forever be doomed to carry weighty cases, electronic musicians can rest a little easier with Korg’s iWavestation ($20), a modern take on the beloved synthesizer first introduced in 1990. Mix and morph on the go with this iPad/iPhone app, which powers the same tech as the classic in a tinier punch.

Phone-Home Xylophone

Ghostly and Brandnewnoise have teamed up once again and the delightful new product appeals to children, beginners and seasoned musicians alike. The eight-key handheld Phone-Home Xylophone ($250) is more than a toy—it’s a recording device that comes complete with built-in 30-second looping, pitch and delay control. Enclosed in an all-black wooden case (with the Ghostly logo engraved in the corner) the Phone-Home is tuned to the D major scale.

Sharon Jones + The Dap Kings “It’s a Holiday Soul Party” LP

While Sharon Jones sadly is no longer be with us, her vast repertoire of soulful tunes remains. A new limited edition pressing of her (along with the Dap Kings, of course) “It’s A Holiday Soul Party,” ($10) on green vinyl, offers the ideal opportunity to connect with her zest this holiday season. Supported by her acclaimed band, Jones joyously delivers 11 holiday songs, both original and traditional. It’s funky, powerful and lots of fun for all kinds of festivities.

Images courtesy of respective brands, lead image courtesy of Matt Fielder, / Vinyl Me, Please