You know that friend that is always telling you about new bands to check out, sharing cool music videos and sending Facebook invites to concerts of bands you’ve never heard of? That friend would be a music nerd and I know music nerds are impossible to shop for ... because I am one.
I put together a list to help you get through your holiday gift giving. Everything on the list is available at a store in KC—I stayed off the internet and Amazon, ‘cuz that’s no fun.
Local record store gift cards
Where to cop: Mills Record Company, 7th Heaven, Records With Merritt, Vinyl Renaissance, Brothers Music, Revolution Records, Josey Records
I have an Amazon.com wish list and every Christmas my mom prints it out and takes it to Mills Record Company in Westport, hands it to the owner Judy Mills and then they shop together. That’s the proper way to use Amazon. Ask the music nerd on your list if they have an Amazon wish list, then take it to a local record shop and do your shopping that way. If you’re not feeling that adventurous, grab them a gift card, they’ll love you for it. Gift cards to record stores are like Willy Wonka’s Golden Ticket to people like us. There are so many record stores in KC and they employ great people and lots of musicians.
Ear plugs @ $20
Where to cop: Big Dude’s Music City
Maker: Hearos, Vater and more
Wallet, iPhone, ear plugs. Those three things are almost always in my pockets. If the person on your list is a real music fan, do them a favor and get them some good ear plugs. Ear plugs come in all shapes, sizes and price ranges. The crappy ones you can buy in a pack of 20 at the discount store on the corner should only be used if you happen to misplace or forget your regular plugs. Big Dudes has a nice selection of ear plugs that provide good protection and come with a case.
“F*ck, That’s Delicious” by Action Bronson @ $27.50
Where to cop: Rainy Day Books
Action Bronson is a larger than life hip hop artist who also has a fondness for fine foods and hosts a YouTube show about his love of food. On a recent episode, he tried a dish prepared by the host of Bizarre Foods, Andrew Zimmern.
Zimmern: “It’s been my dream for many many years to put something in your mouth and then hear you say the magic words…”
Bronson: “…F*ck, that’s delicious.”
It turns out that Bronson says that phrase a lot, so much in fact, that he created a cookbook around it. You’ve never seen a cookbook like this before.
Another recent music-themed cookbook, “Dark Side of the Spoon,” celebrates how food and rock music are connected. You’ll find dishes with rock inspired names like Smashing Pumpkin Pie, Fleetwood Mac and Cheese, and Primal Bream. The book is also full of great illustrations of some of your favorite rock stars.
Orbit Plus Turntable @ $335 and up
Where to cop: 7th Heaven
When I bought my last car I spent a few minutes researching and checking out ratings. For the last turntable I purchased, I researched for weeks, read all the reviews and asked my friends who had similar models. These things are important. It sounds great, it looks sharp and it has a good cartridge with an elliptical diamond stylus— those are big words for “a great needle.” If you’ve been listening to music on some lame Crosley starter rig, this thing will blow your mind. If you’re stacking this up next to turntables twice the price, this unit will more than hold it’s own. Plus, it comes in white, black, red, blue and green and has a clear platter. Think how cool your #nowspinning posts will look on Instagram.
Band merchandise @ $15 and up
Where to cop: Your local music venue
If you see me at a show I’m probably sporting a tee from one of my favorite KC area bands. The easiest way to grab a band tee, of course, is to go to a show at a venue like recordBar or The Riot Room and buy a shirt directly from the band. If you can’t do that, a few bands have merch set up on their website. Here’s a few you can’t go wrong with.
Whenever I sport the Making Movies “We Are All Immigrants” tee, I feel like I should carry extras around with me in a backpack and hustle them. Everyone loves it.
Hembree’s “Holy Water” tee reps one of my favorite songs of 2017 from a hard-working KC band that just put out a great EP, “Had It All.” Grab this tee for the indie rocker on your list.
A tee from Katy Guillen and the Girls is a conversation starter. Whether I’m at QuikTrip, The K or a concert, someone always comes up to me to say something like, “Oh, you know Katy Guillen and the Girls, they’re great!” Hell yeah they are. They just put out a great new album, “Remember What You Knew Before.”
Shelves to store records @ $64.99
Before we had an Ikea, getting great shelves to hold vinyl was a problem. I would scour Craigslist for people hustling their old shelves and twice ended up in strangers apartments buying gently-used Ikea Kallax shelves. These shelves are a game changer, and for the price, they’re hard to beat. I’ve got three at my place holding my collection. They’d make a fine gift for the vinyl collector on your list and you can bond with your friend and build the shelves together!
Headphones @ $70 to $300
I don’t splurge too much on myself, but I always make sure to have a good pair of headphones. According to their website, Nebraska Furniture Mart has 40 pairs of headphones in stock at the store—I’ve had luck with Beats by Dre and noise canceling by Bose. While you’re at the store, try it for yourself. Listen to the same song on a cheap pair of headphones and then on a quality pair of headphones—it’s a new world.
Rino gift cards
Have you been to North KC lately? The area around Armour Boulevard near Screenland Theater is bustling with all sorts of cool new places to check out. There’s a coffee shop, Colony and it shares a space with a great new music venue, the Rino.It reminds me a lot of the venues at SXSW in Austin. A gift card would be great for the music fan who appreciates coffee, food and brews.
90.9 the Bridge membership @ $5 and up
Where to cop: bridge909.org/donate
We’re talking about music fans here, right? No doubt the music aficionado on your list has 90.9 the Bridge set as a preset on their radio dial and maybe a magnet on their car. The Bridge is a listener supported radio station, which means it’s fueled by people who love great music and support all things Kansas City. How cool would it be to make a donation to the station in the name of your favorite music fan? For as little as $5 per month, you can turn the person on your list into a card-carrying sustaining member of one of the best stations on the planet.
Music venue merchandise @ $15 and up
I bet the music fan on your list has probably had some of the greatest nights of their life at a concert. Why not gift them a token of that memory in the form of a T-shirt? You can purchase them online and at local venues including the recordBar and the Riot Room.
Mills Record Company, 4045 Broadway Blvd., millsrecordcompany.com
Big Dude’s Music City, at 3817 Broadway, bigdudes.com
Rainy Day Books, 2706 W. 53rd St., Fairway, rainydaybooks.com
7th Heaven, 7621 Troost Ave., 7thheavenkc.com
RecordBar, 1520 Grand, therecordbar.com