In the time of streaming media, when everyone has access to nearly everything, music people can be especially hard to buy gifts for nowadays. With that in mind, we’ve avoided the typical cash-in box sets and basic concert T-shirts this year, instead trying to track down items that are as unexpected as they are welcomed.
Big Boi Dog Shampoo ($15)
If you want your dog to feel as loved as Big Boi’s dogs—I mean, just look at these little guys—you’ll want to check out the rapper’s signature line of dog shampoos. There are many different styles—from “Scrumptious” to “Invigorate”—and all of them are made with natural ingredients like rosemary, lavender oil, and cucumber extract. It might not be the next OutKast album, but we’ll take it.
David Bowie Shorts ($185)
Zara Mirkin’s Merch Junkies clothing label takes simple vintage pieces like cotton tees or varsity jackets and embellishes them with logos of bands like Hole, KISS, and AC/DC. Shorts like these green ’70s Bowie ones are a mainstay on the site—and what better place to express your fandom than on your booty?
How did Auto-Tune find its way into the music of Morocco’s rural Berber communities? How did a cracked copy of FruityLoops come to soundtrack the fallout from Egypt’s Arab Spring? And why did Fugazi always tour with an electric clothes dryer in the back of the van? Pitchfork contributor Jace Clayton, aka DJ/rupture, answers all these questions and more in one of the year’s best books about culture: a fiercely intelligent, surprisingly moving look at the interrelation between music, technology, and ethics in a networked world.
Spooky Rihanna socks! Perfect to wear with those elusive Rihanna Puma creepers! And speaking of creepers, check out the dismembered hand near the toe—very “Bitch Better Have My Money” murderous.
Take a whiff of “Innocence,” with its notes of sweet orange blossom and vanilla bourbon, and your mind just might call back to that time you tried your dad’s cocktail as a kid and suddenly felt very warm and happy (and kinda sick). Crafted by Sanae Intoxicants, the same company that boasts a Hotbox fragrance, this Eau de Parfum concocted by Father John Misty is the perfect gift for the romantic cynic in your life, or just someone who needs a reminder of their fleeting youth.
Earlier this year, when asked what his forehead tattoo—misidentified as a cross—signified, Atlanta upstart 21 Savage famously responded: “Issa knife.” The moment of literalism made for a great Vine, but the full interview reveals that the permanent sharp object between his eyes is also a tribute to his late brother. So now fans can wear this shirt with pride, and in solidarity with Savage.
This dazzling graphic novel casts a wide and empathetic net in its look at the life of troubled folk iconoclast Daniel Johnson, as well as the burdens of mental illness and the tetchy romanticism society affixes it. In its vivid, folkloric style, it even seems to appraise you, the reader, via a hundred-strong repetitions of scattered eyes, peppering every page amid beautiful depictions of Johnston’s rise to pop infamy. It’s a complex, worldly journey worthy of his own.
The Dilla Turntable ($120)
J Dilla’s record collection was massive—the subject of rabid fan fascination and eBay bidding wars. While you might not be able to pick up any of his records at this point, the late producer’s estate has designed a new turntable to kick off your own crate digging explorations. The portable player features a sumptuous graphic of a black-and-white cloudscape, a pair of built-in speakers, software to record music directly onto your computer, and an exclusive 7" single of “The Sickness,” Dilla’s collaboration with Nas.
Donut 45 Adaptor ($16)
Speaking of Dilla… these vinyl adaptors aren’t officially associated with the Detroit legend, but it’s easy to see how his classic album Donuts—which was largely based off of songs sampled from 45s—inspired their design. Your dusty old singles have never sounded this delicious.
After raising $418,628 on Kickstarter—nearly 10 times its original goal—a new board game co-created by the Decemberists is now officially in the works. The beautifully designed hybrid card/board game, which looks like something you might find in an ancient fortune teller’s lair, is due for release next year, but you can sign up for pre-order info right now.
It’s time to leave everything behind, starting with your phone. Call, text, navigate, and pay right from your wrist with the Samsung Gear S3. The Gear S3 is water resistant with military-grade durability and a battery that can last for days—so you can venture on. [Requires separate qualifying wireless plan. Check out all the requirements and carrier for details.]
Todd Terje Underwear ($30)
The don of Norwegian space-disco joyfulness has long made music that evokes the beach, the tiki lounge, and other locales with notably permissive dress codes. Do skivvies telegraph fandom as publicly as a T-shirt? Obviously not. But there’s something to be said for letting nothing come between you and your Todds.
Following Lemmy’s passing earlier this year, listening to Motörhead records can now feel like some kind of divine sinner’s ceremony—so down some Jack and Cokes, light up a cigarette, and set one of these Saint Lemmy candles aflame.