Thursday, November 28, 2019

Rock And Roll Holiday Gift Guide

This boxed set from The Pretenders is available as part of Black Friday Record Store Day.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone who reads my blog. Even if you’re not located in the U.S., it’s never a bad idea to take a few moments to consider the things you’re grateful for.

It’s also that time of year when indie newspapers and major publications offer holiday gift guides. Their choices are usually demographically inclined toward their readership, but you will discover items you won’t encounter in your local department store. With that goal in mind, here’s the somewhat annual (I’ve missed a few years) Broken Hearted Toy Rock And Roll Holiday Gift Guide.

You might notice I’ve tried to repair certain format issues affecting BHT, applying my non-existent tech knowledge as best as I can. I apologize for it still not being up to snuff, but hopefully, it’s not as obnoxious as it had become in recent weeks.

For the vinyl lovers in your life, choose from the limited-edition releases coming to record stores tomorrow only for Black Friday Record Store Day. It’s not as massive as the April version, but there are lots of choices in every imaginable genre. Keep in mind, the earlier you get there, the better the selection. Also, most record stores prefer you hand them a list that includes the title, artist name, and format (seven-inch single, 10-inch EP, LP, double LP, boxed set, etc.) for each record you’re hoping to buy.

The Beatles’ Abbey Road album is now available in various 50th Anniversary editions that include alternative takes and other bonus stuff, depending on how much you want to spend.

Don’t forget to support your local bands. There are a lot of options for live entertainment this weekend and if you discover a new favorite, be sure to check their website to see if they have music you can download or order through the mail. Buying one of the band’s t-shirts is another option.

The Chicago Museum of Broadcast Communications on State Street has another winning exhibit with Stay Tuned - Rock On TV. It originated at the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame and features the 1933 style Ford that ZZ Top used in a series of popular videos in the 1980s. Treat a friend for the holiday, and you’ll also encounter videos and memorabilia from The Hollies, The Animals, Joan Jett, Cyndi Lauper, Outkast, and several other artists who performed on TV shows from American Bandstand to Saturday Night Live.

The Royal Mint has added Wallace and Gromit to its collection of cartoon characters it has chosen to be honored. The human/canine duo, created by the clever and very British artists at Aardman Studios, are featured on coins that will soon be available to order for from the Royal Mint’s website. Also new this year, is a trio of coins depicting The Snowman from the Academy Award nominated short animation. Prices for each of these range from £10.00 for an uncirculated coin to £980.00 for a limited edition gold proof coin.

Rock and roll books are always a great choice, and since they’re often visually oriented, you’ll want to give the real thing and not a Kindle version. Here are a few recommendations;

For David Bowie fans, Insight Comics offers a 160-page hardcover graphic novel titled Bowie - Stardust, Rayguns and Moonage Daydreams that’s now available for preorder on Amazon. Steve Horton and Michael Allred are the writers, Laura Allred is the illustrator, and the foreword is written by Neil Gaiman. The book is due out January 7.

Another good choice along those lines is Bowie: An Illustrated Life, which combines Maria Hesse’s art with copy by Fran Ruiz. The book is told from Bowie’s point of view and covers ups and downs of his entire career.

Power pop fans will surely love reading Go All The Way: A Literary Appreciation Of Power Pop from start to finish. The book features a number of writers waxing nostalgic about their favorite albums from the genre, as well as quotes from artists such as Debbi Peterson from The Bangles, Kim Shattuck from The Muffs, and Gary Klebe from Shoes. It’s available on Amazon.

Also, be sure to check out Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, as well as websites of your favorite artists for exclusive music, apparel, and other items. Record label websites like Bloodshot, Yep Roc, Mega Dodo, American Laundromat, Kool Kat Musik; and Fruits de Mer are always worth shopping, and The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame website has lots of inductee and exhibit memorabilia. Pledge Music, Go Fund Me, and other crowd funding sites are a good way to support your favorite artists and pick up autographed items. And you never know what rare treasures you’ll discover on eBay.

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