The Exclaim! Holiday Gift Guide 2014: Music
Published Nov 04, 2014The holiday season is only a few weeks away. Before you rush off to pick up some presents, make sure to check out Exclaim!'s 2014 Holiday Gift Guide, which we will be rolling out in daily instalments this week.
Hardcore music nerds can be difficult to buy for if you're not familiar with which first vinyl pressing on what coloured vinyl is most rare. Here are some gift suggestions that will spark conversation and enrich the lives of any music lover.
The Exclaim! Holiday Gift Guide 2014: Music
Native North America (Vol. 1): Aboriginal Folk, Rock and Country 1966-1985
(Light in the Attic)
In light of A Tribe Called Red's Juno win and Tanya Tagaq's Polaris Music Prize victory, among others, many are pointing to an indigenous music renaissance. The timing is perfect for Light in the Attic's new compilation Native North America (Vol. 1): Aboriginal Folk, Rock, and Country 1966–1985, due out November 25. Touted as the "most ambitious and historically significant project" in the label's impressive history, the compilation features 34 newly re-mastered tracks brought back from the brink of obscurity by Vancouver music archaeologist Kevin "Sipreano" Howes, who invested 15 years of loving research into this project.
Made exclusively by the indigenous peoples of Canada and the Northern U.S., the music spans genres such as Yup'ik folk, Arctic garage rock, and Nova Scotian country blues, with lyrical topics ranging from spirituality to environmental collapse that remain surprisingly, if sadly, relevant. Comprehensive liner notes (amounting to a 120-page hardcover book for the two-CD set and 60 pages for the triple-LP vinyl) bring history to life with unseen archival photos, artist interviews, original album art, lyrics, and narratives tied together by the well-versed Howes. These stories, like Algonquin/Mohawk artist and police violence victim Willy Mitchell, residential school system survivor Willie Trasher, and Métis poet Willie Dunn, to whom this comp is dedicated, are all of a Rodriguez calibre, and that's not false hype, since Howes helped to break that story into the mainstream. If you're lucky, you might be able to snag one of the 200 copes pressed on tan-coloured wax, or the 100 pressed to gold from the LITA website.
In case you saw how stunning Tagaq looked during her earth shattering performance at the 2014 Polaris Music Prize gala (pictured above), you might like to know that you can also snag yourself a set of the fabulously soft seal cuffs she wore from Cheryl Fennell (snowfly.storenvy.com), available in natural grey ringed seal colour or dyed black, dark blue or deep rose. You can also enlist Jamie Look to make you a similar necklace to the one Tagaq wore using sterling silver and muskox horn, an eco-friendly material ubiquitous in the Yellowknife area that her family has called home for the past century. These are far better choices than wearing a headdress to your next music festival.
Tru Thoughts 15th Anniversary Box Set
English label Tru Thoughtshas readied a unique item to mark their 15th anniversary: this box set includes two CDs, a 20-page booklet of exclusive interviews and photos, and three 12-inch coloured vinyl records cut to a pentadecagonal (15-sided) shape. Curated by label co-owner Robert Luis, the musical selections celebrate the past and future through the works of Bonobo, Alice Russell, Zed Bias and more.
Simon & Garfunkel: The Complete Album's Collection
Although their studio output only lasted from 1964 to 1970, Simon & Garfunkel revolutionized folk music with their orchestral compositions, generation-encapsulating lyrics and endless assortment of turtlenecks. This box collects all the studio albums, as well as The Graduate soundtrack, four concert recordings and a greatest-hits collection. Vinyl aficionados may be thrown off by the CD-only format, but considering these albums were remastered from the original analogue tapes, chances are it sounds a hell of a lot better than your yard sale copies.
REMTV Box Set
It's hard to separate the golden years of MTV from O.G. college rockers R.E.M. The Athens, GA quartet became unlikely and at times reluctant stars of the video age, thanks to a steady stream of eye-popping videos and live performances on the channel over three decades. REMTV boasts six discs, including the band's two appearances, with outtakes, from MTV Unplugged, their VH1 Storytellers set, awards show performances and a new doc, R.E.M. by MTV.
Antony & the Johnsons' Turning DVD
In 2006, Antony & the Johnsons embarked on a collaborative tour with self-taught filmmaker Charles Atlas. At shows, Antony Hegarty would perform while one of 13 women stood on a turning pedestal onstage, accompanied by visuals. Seven years later, Hegarty and Atlas have completed Turning, a concert film that explores "the intersection between images of contemporary trans-femininity and visions of pioneering future feminist artists such as Kembra Pfahler and Johanna Constantine." As visually stunning as it is emotionally moving, this one makes a perfect, heartfelt gift.
Need more holiday gift ideas? Then check out our other sections on movies, videogames, music ephemera and books, as well as gifts for the "urban hipster" and hip-hop fan in your life.