LOS ANGELES (AP) — For obsessive record collector or for the casual listener, singer or rock star of tomorrow, a music-inspired gift is never a mistake during the holidays.
The challenge, of course, is in making a decision. Is a genre-specific festival ticket the best way to go? How about a box set suitable for a novice audiophile?
Here’s a guide to a variety of gifts for the audiophile in your life—from photo binders for K-pop superfans to a pair of some of the best headphones on the market and a cheese board that looks surprisingly high-res.
That will be music to their ears.
GIVE THEM SIMON: There are vinyl box sets and then there are “Four Women: The Complete Records of Nina Simone 1964-1967.” a massive seven-disc collection built from the seven albums Simon released on the Philips label during her most prolific period. These are “Nina Simone in Concert” and “Broadway-Blues-Ballads” from 1964; 1965’s “I Put A Spell On You,” “Pastel Blues” and “Let It All Out”; 1966’s “Wild Is the Wind”; and 1967’s “High Priestess of Soul,” remastered from the original tape. It’s the perfect way to celebrate the musician and civil rights activist, and the perfect gift for a music fan on the go. Price: $199.96
PRESS PLAY: The cassette has revolutionized the music industry and the music listening experience: you can make mixtapes for loved ones, record that hit song from the radio, or best of all, take your favorite album with you. in “High Bias: The Twisted Story of Cassette,” music journalist Mark Masters provides the definitive text on the small but mighty piece of plastic. Perfect for the pop culture obsessed. Price: $20
FOR YOUR ENJOYMENT: In 2021, Harry Styles entered the beauty game with his company Pleasing, starting with colorful, gender-neutral nail polish. It continued to grow, eventually including skin care and makeup. This holiday season, Styles got into the fragrance game. Launched this month, The Styles perfume line includes ‘Closeness’, described as a ‘woody musk scent’, ‘Rivulets’ which is a ‘floral, fresh amber scent’ and ‘Bright, Hot’, ‘an intoxicating woody amber scent with top notes of plum and tobacco. ” Something for everyone, or at least the pop fans in your life. It’s a welcome distraction from One Direction’s indefinite hiatus. Price: $135
SAY CHEESE: It might give an audiophile a heart attack, but that doesn’t make it any less fascinating. ‘Tis the season to break out the charcuterie board and throw a great holiday party – but why not do it in musical style? The “Revolving Cheese Board” from Uncommon Goods is exactly what it sounds like – a cheese board designed to look like the most expensive, sleek turntable, featuring a turntable and a hidden slicer in one arm. Delicious. Price: $78
HEAR IT MAINLY: There’s never a wrong time to upgrade your headphones—in fact, it makes a great gift. Sony MDR-7506 Headphones are a particularly wise choice. This pair is perfect for aspiring producers, music students, future podcast hosts, anyone who wants to look cool walking down the street with studio-grade headphones, and more. They are the industry standard for a reason. Price: $80-$130
WHAT IT WAS: On November 7, Barbra Streisand released her much-anticipated memoir, “My name is Barbra.” She had talked about it for years — in 2021, she told Jimmy Fallon that Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis asked her to write a memoir in the early 1980s, when the former first lady was an editor at Doubleday. (Hell, during a 2009 interview with The Associated Press, Streisand mentioned that she wrote chapters about her life by hand. “I go back and forth,” Streisand said at the time. “Do I really want to write about my life? Do I really want to relive my life? I’m not sure. 1040 pages—these are the revelations that await the reader. From her childhood to her marriage to the creation of Yentl and beyond. Price: $47
K-POP COOL: Too often, holiday gift guides—even those specifically designed for music enthusiasts—fail to account for dedicated, artist-specific fandoms. And that’s a shame, because the most thoughtful gifts are often the most specific. They communicate to the recipient of the gift that he is indeed receiving them. That they listen. For K-pop lovers, why not pick up photo card folder where can they store their limited edition collection? Just make sure you know what their “likes” (a K-pop term for a favorite member) are first, right? That would be awkward. Price: $13 – $20
NOT A PHASE: In his second book, “Goth: A Story”Lol Tolhurst, co-founder of influential “goth” group The Cure explores the often misunderstood movement he calls “the last true alternative outsider subculture.” It’s about the musical subgenre born out of punk and angst in the late 70s, of course (Joy Division, Bauhaus, Siouxsie and the Banshees), but it also touches on Tim Burton’s films, Edgar Allan Poe’s poem The Raven, Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein, Emily Brontë and an adolescent period marked by black nail polish and nihilism. It’s a well-rounded, interdisciplinary and definitive history and part memoir, perfect for that friend who swears he liked this band before they were big. Cost: $20 – $25
SOMETHING IS HAPPENING: In 1995 The roots dropped their influential sophomore album Do You Want More?!!!??!, a critically acclaimed album in the hip-hop canon. Now, almost three decades later, a four-LP box set has been released – a remastered version of the original two LP albums and now with bonus tracks curated by Questlove himself. He and Tarik Trotter aka Black Thought wrote the liner notes, and it’s the kind of exclusive commentary you can only pay for. (And if you’re feeling really generous, you can also throw in Trotter’s new book, The Upcycled Self: A Memoir on the Art of Becoming Who We Are , and become the best giver in your circle.) Price: $89.98
I LOVE YOU: What do music fans really want for the holidays? The live music experience, of course. In 2024, the Latin Music Festival kiss me a lot is headed to Austin, Texas after the success of its inaugural year in Los Angeles and should be considered a hot ticket. The lineup includes Los Tigres Del Norte, Banda MS, Borderline group and many more – an event you cannot miss. Price: $275 – 950
For more of AP’s 2023 holiday gift guides, go to: music, movies, coffee table books, gardening and coincidencegrab bag.