Musical Christmas Gift Suggestions – Rock the Turkey!

Two weeks to go! Time for Christmas gift panic. What should I buy…

So in the spirit of Spend Matters public service, here are our musical recommendations ...all subject to the usual get-out clauses (they may have it already etc..)


We have to assume they will have Ed Sheeran, Florence, and James Blake already. But for younger teenagers, the Rizzlekicks album Stereo Typical will go down well and is actually highly enjoyable for all ages. With touches of old school reggae, ska and all topped with cheeky and witty teenage lyrics, it's an album that won't annoy anyone on Christmas Day, and even Grandpa may get misty eyed remembering his Trojan compilations of the 60s... If the recipients are older and more rock in their outlook, they may have Sinners Never Sleep from the popular You Me At Six already, so perhaps go for the Blackout, with Hope - rabble rousing shouty metal with bad language but a sense of fun from Methyr Tydfil..

Angst ridden student nephew / niece

Boost your street cred with EMA and PASTLIFEMARTYREDSAINTS – a brilliantly dark yet listenable singer-songwriter rock album from a young lady called Erika M Anderson who came out of the prairies– goodness knows what the farmers of South Dakota made of her as she grew up there, but we should all be glad she got out to make her unique country / goth / grunge music.

Twenty something party animal

Of course they won’t usually buy CDs - digital only – or perhaps vinyl if they’re actually DJs themselves. You could buy them the latest dubstep club mix 12-inch but it may cause the turkey to explode when it hits infrasound levels, and the subwoofer can cause older family members to become strangely agitated.. So what about a couple of clever, fashionable but non-threatening albums? Little Dragon with Ritual Union (brilliant Swedish electro dance-pop) or M83 and Hurry Up We’re Dreaming (brilliant French indie dance-pop). Both are quite listenable over the egg-nog but hip enough for the dance crowd…

 Your true love

Show your sensitive side with Ryan Adams’ Ashes and Fire or Ben Howard with Every Kingdom – we’ve reviewed both very positively here recently. Or if he / she prefers female vocalists, Feist’s Metals is just a very fine album of well crafted timeless songs. An alternative approach if your partner is going through a mid-life crisis is to buy them boy / girl band stuff: The Wanted with Battleground or One Direction’s Up All Night (for the ladies) or the Saturdays On Your Radar (for the chaps). Although actually, wouldn’t they just prefer the poster / calendar / T-shirt rather than having to actually listen to the music? Band T-Shirts are good presents, I’ve found.

Trendy muso uncle / godmother / best mate

Burst Apart by the Antlers is one of those albums that you can find something different in every time you listen. It can operate as pleasant background music, but there's far more to it lyrically and musically – one of the albums of the year without a doubt. If they’re really hip and have this already, and it is high in the best of the year charts for the serious music media, try St. Vincent with “Strange Mercy” or Wye Oak with Civilian.

Hillbilly cousin / slightly worrying next door neighbour with the cowboy boots

Lydia Loveless with her second album Indestructible Machine sounds like she’s inherited musical genes from both Loretta Lynn and Joe Strummer. With a punk attitude and country roots, allied to a great voice and serious songwriting ability for a 20 year old, she’s going to be a big country / rock star, y’all know what I mean?

The old folks

Surprisingly, we find that the 70-80+ age group rather like the new generation of boy bands, the combination of clear vocals and a “good beat” proving popular. My mother (83) announced that she was rather impressed by The Wanted (see above). For older chaps – Kitty, Daisy and Lewis are a bunch of London siblings who re-create raw 1950’s rock / R’n B / ska with real energy and affection. Smoking in Heaven is their latest. Their Mum was in the Raincoats…which makes me feel absolutely ancient.

Good luck!

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Voices (2)

  1. Dom:

    I have to say I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the music blogs on SM this year..opened my eyes to some music I wouldnt have otherwise heard..
    My highlights of 2011 in music were:
    Gig of the year: those who know me will see that the return of Thunder at High Voltage was the highlight
    Other notables: Gentlemens Pistols and Rival Sons
    Jim Stapley at the 100 Club

    Albums: Sirens Song by the Union : very different and as good as the debut album the year before…still need to be a bit more interactive in live shows but would suggest either album as a stocking filler..

    Diary of a soul friend by St Jude. Great new UK band from south of England with a girl singer like Janis they are very good and still a chance to see them in smaller venues
    Guitars Beers and Tears by Dave Colwell as I really like it and he deserves some success!

    Ones I would like to see have success in 2012
    The Union
    St Jude
    Jim Stapley: young singer /songwriter with a great voice and songs.
    Great EP on Itunes just out

    Oh and maybe a thunder reunion again!
    Happy Xmas and New Year

  2. Adam H:

    Some good choices there Peter. No doubt everyone you are buying for this year will be very pleased with their gifts, and if not, you will have yourself a nice little collection.

    Adam S and I have been refelcting on the year over on alphabetbands as well. Feel free to drop by for gigs and EPs today, tracks and albums to come.

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