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Jazz Vinyl Starter Kit
Available at Academy Annex, 96 N 6th St, Williamsburg $50
In addition to having the borough’s best selection of rock and electronic obscurities, Academy also has an unbelievably good and reasonably priced used jazz section. For right around $50, you should be able to grab five canonical records from labels like Impulse and Blue Note.
Grado SR60i Headphones
Available at Dijital Fix, 281 Bedford Ave, Williamsburg $79
It doesn’t get much more local than this: the legendary, family-owned audio company is based on 7th Avenue in Sunset Park, and their awesomely vintage looking SR60i on-ear headphones are generally regarded by audio nerds as the best buy under $100.
Frankie Rose & the Outs Tote Bag
Available from Greenpoint-based screen-printers kingslandprinting.com
It says “I know a thing or two about the local music scene, I respect women who wear a lot of black, am always prepared with a hair comb and reading material, and care about the environment.” For that special Type-A conservationist bordering on music snob in your life.
Tickets to Jeff Mangum at BAM
Available at… well, Craigslist is your best bet at this point. Sorries. Varying prices.
Everyone needs a good cry by late January. Give the gift of catharsis with tickets to one of the two (technically sold-out) shows by the enigmatic frontman of Neutral Milk Hotel at Brooklyn’s most majestic venue.
Northside posters by Two Arms Inc.
Available from Greenpoint-based designers twoarmsinc.com. $25 each or $60 for set of four
June 18, 2011: Guided by Voices, Wavves and Surfer Blood at McCarren Park. We will never forget. Neither should you. Or the loved one you’re buying for. (Limited-edition prints for each of the aforementioned bands are available, plus a general Northside poster with festival lineup.)
Parts & Labor complete discography
Available at Insound.com Roughly $120
Five albums, three EPs and a few 7-inches, perfect for a younger sibling under the impression that Andrew W.K. is cool, or a friend who missed the boat on one of the most consistently gutsy, hard-hitting bands operating out of Brooklyn. Parts & Labor have announced an “indefinite hiatus” starting in February, and you’ll want someone to lament with. Not a good gift for your Mom, though.
33 1/3 book on Television’s Marquee Moon
Available at Word, 126 Franklin St, Greenpoint $12.95
In the latest installment of Continuum’s series of pocket-sized guides to landmark albums, we have Brooklyn-based NYU English professor Bryan Waterman spilling over the origin and myth of Downtown cool, long, long before it moved across the river.
Subscription to Tape Op magazine
Available at tapeop.com Free
Since you’re obliged to listen to your friends’ bands anyway, you might as well make it a little easier on the ears. A one-year subscription to home-recording bible Tape Op will ease your hood’s would-be lo-fi savants into creamier, more creative sounds (at the very reasonable price of 100% free).
DIY Ukulele Kit
Available at uncommongoods.com $40
After the year she had, soon to be heralded in a blitz of year-end lists, “make me Merrill Garbus” is no-doubt a trending X-mas wish. Cultivate the Tune-Yards in your own back yard by gifting this handsome make-your-own ukulele kit. Nothing like crafting a tiny instrument with your own hands, using it to rock out at top-chest.
Available at Altiusgifts.com $25
“No, no, no, I wanted to make live beat loops like Merrill!” Well, ok, how about this nifty beatbox contraption from the makers of the classic Stylophone device, once utilized to add spooky sci-fi ambiance to Bowie songs? Affordable beats at the touch of a wand.
The Year Punk Broke DVD
Available at Soundfix Records, 44 Berry St, Williamsburg $20
You know, we tried to come up with some sort of super clever way to attach this particular item to Brooklyn, but fuck it: If there’s a person in your life who isn’t an asshole and has ever expressed any affinity at all for punk and/or indie rock, you should buy this for them.
Spotify Premium Subscription
Gift cards are not currently available, but you’ll figure out something, we’re sure. Spotify.com $120
The jury’s still out on how fairly artists are being paid by Spotify (it’s indisputably better than when we just steal stuff, mind you), but living here in Brooklyn, you spend a lot of time walking around and riding subways, and would thus be well served by a Spotify Premium account, which allows you to listen to basically any song you could think of, wherever you are.