Sure, your loved ones may be giddy to open a package and find, say, a new iPod, a Miley Cyrus poster, or maybe even some curtains decorated with musical notes. But for those who want something a bit more unusual, we've compiled a batch of music-related gifts...ranging from essential to downright quirky!
It only took 30-odd years for everyone to realize that well-cared for records sound far better than CDs or MP3s. With the vinyl revolution raging once again (at least as a hipster trend), don’t be left in the lurch. For those who want a stylish, affordable device but don’t want to give up CDs, MP3s, and even radio, the Crosley CR66 Rochester offers a belt-driven turntable with a diamond stylus needle; along with a programmable CD player, an AM/FM radio, an auxiliary input for MP3 players, and even a side-mounted cassette deck. The entertainment center is housed in a wood cabinet that looks like a radio from the 1930s. And there are auxiliary outputs in the rear portion of the turntable to attach the device to stereo speakers. A great (re)introduction to the magic of LPs. $79.99.
The Party's in Your Pants
In their song "Panic," the Smiths yelped, "Hang the DJ." If they could have seen the wave of DJ culture that would sweep across the globe in the coming decades, they might have reconsidered such talk. Then again, maybe it would have inspired them to tie nooses to trees with greater urgency than ever. Regardless, in the current era of tiny technology, you no longer need a DJ (or even a club) to fashion your own rompin’ rave, even if your karaoke machine is out of batteries. The pocket DJ Mixer – made in Berlin, where they know their dance music – features a master controller and two sets of "low," "mid," and "hi" knobs so you’ll have complete mastery over the songs you play, mix, and fade. The device includes cords to connect two MP3 devices. There’s also a headphone jack for private listening, though auxiliary cords are necessary to plug the mixer into speakers. $100.
Cat Scratch Fever
What are cats better at than scratching? Well, eating and sleeping maybe, but even Hello Kitty would pounce at the opportunity to drop some phat, flavorful DJ science while sharpening her claws on this scratching turntable. Your favorite cat lovers can throw away ugly scratching posts and save their furniture from being sliced to ribbons while their kitties learn the art of turntablism. This scratch pad comes decorated with images of smiling cats, paw prints, fish-shaped treats, and joke band stickers including "Run D.O.G." More fun than a bowl of catnip. $35.
Gene Simmons Nutcracker
If you envy KISS bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons' ability to bust the balls of nearly everyone around him, toymaker Kurt Adler has created a way for fans to use Gene's gaping maw to crack some nuts of their own. Modeled after a traditional Christmas nutcracker, the KISS Demon Nutcracker is decorated with long hair, demon black-and-white makeup, a black wing cape, a black rhinestone-adorned outfit, and black boots. The Simmons nut smasher brandishes a black bass guitar and stands on a black and silver stand with a plaque that reads "The Demon," plus a black and silver KISS logo sign. $18.51.
Keep it in Your Hat
Anyone who has tried to put on a winter hat over a pair of iPod headphones knows how awkward and uncomfortable it can be. Hi-Hat has the solution for music lovers who want to keep the tunes crankin' in the coldest temperatures. The stylish black winter hat is available with a red or blue brim, and it features removable high performance speakers and a fabric coated cable with a universal 3.5mm jack that’ll plug right into your favorite listening device. It also includes a hands-free function for use with a cell phone and a controller with a microphone and shuffle button. Around $40.
From a short distance, this colorful item looks like a traditional festive red and black holiday wool sweater. But step closer and you’ll feel the heat rise. The Slayer sweater is decorated with pentagrams, skulls, and, of course, the logo of the thrash metal kings all over the torso. The band's Web site suggests owners wear the sweater “when Hell freezes over!” But now that December’s ugly chill is upon us, we’re betting even a born-again Christian would opt for this cozy item over a flimsy One Direction sweatshirt. $90.
Starving Artist Bank
With the price of gas still sky high and band merch sales declining, it's hard for struggling groups to make it from one town to another without having to sell blood, sperm, or both. Even when clubs make good on their guarantees, it’s a challenge for all but the most responsible musicians to decide whether to spend the cash on something wise, like new windshield wiper blades for the van; or to blow it on, uh, miscellaneous expenses. Fortunately, there’s no need for such difficult choices anymore because the "Drumset or Tour Van Savings Bank" leaves the fate of your change entirely up to chance. Drop in a coin and watch it tumble towards whatever you really need to survive or what you really want to keep your life rockin’. Keep your choices set between "drumset" and "tour van" or use the dry erase marker to determine whether you should keep or fire troublesome band members. $19.95.
Gold Records for All
Whether seeking the perfect gift for a musician that has toiled away for years without commercial success, or a fan who has always dreamed of being a pop star, Gold Creations can create a gold record just for you. Choose what gets printed in the middle of the label as well as what you want written on the plaque. Gold Creations points out that the record is "not playable," but on the upside it "will never corrode, tarnish or fade." Wish we could say the same for some of the songs that have received real gold records over the years. $79.95.
One of the hardest elements of creating a good action figure is chiseling a realistic-looking face. Bandai Tamshii Nations didn't have to worry about that when they were commissioned to construct a Daft Punk figurine. If you "get lucky," maybe your loved one already has one of these newly sculpted dolls wrapped up in a box waiting for you. Or, if your significant other can’t stop spinning Random Access Memories, perhaps you’ll increase your chances of getting lucky if you dig out a random credit card and order him/her one of these funky robots now. $40.
For the musically inclined (or incredibly bored) math student, a company called Suck UK have marketed a Music Ruler decorated with printed markings to play different musical notes and the finger positions needed for the sounds to ring out with clarity and confidence. The manufacturers insist the item is "great for entertaining friends and coworkers" and, fortunately, it includes a usage guide. The Music Ruler is played with one edge protruding over a desk or table at varying positions depending on the note the user wishes to strike. Then the player presses down and releases the edge of the device to create the desired tone. Imagine, with a bit of practice, being able to play along with your favorite songs between solving complex geometric equations. Or join up with four or five of your friends, and have the most rulingest band ever! $6.74.
Molded to look like a pair of audiophile headphones, these cufflinks should bring out the style and savoir faire of any music fan who wants to up his game and strut his stuff. Instead of a traditional pivot clip, the cufflinks are held in place by inserting one of the headphones’ earpieces through the buttonholes. Says the manufacturer, they're perfect for French cuffs and can also be displayed from an open collar button. $69.
What the Dickens?
With all the tablets, iPods, and cell phones lying around; the average music fan, at times, may not appear to be terribly well rounded. There's no need to continue leaving unread copies of the Wall Street Journal on the coffee table. Now, a company called Retrograndma has created iPhone and iPod docking stations that attach to a faux copy of Selections from Charles Dickens. Pass the eggnog while you recharge your phone, and feel comfortable knowing your company thinks you're literate and in touch with the holiday spirit. Retrograndma also sells docking stations for other titles, including Harry Potter and Nancy Drew books. Or contact them and they'll customize a title of your choosing. $35.99.
- Arts & Entertainment
- Gene Simmons