For the first time in our history, the Hidden Track staff has put together a list of ten items for the rabid music lover in your life. These are all items with the HT stamp of approval and if we don’t own ‘em, we wish we did. So let’s get down to business, ’cause frankly – if you haven’t started shopping yet you’re going to need all the help you can get…
HT Suggests: Logitech Squeezebox Radio
Why You’d Want It: This all-in-one music player allows you to listen to SiriusXM, Pandora, Rhapsody, a whole host of other services, thousands of internet radio stations and any music files you throw at it in any room of your house – no computer required. All you need is a wi-fi connection and you’re golden.
The Squeezebox is the same size as a clock radio and is about as easy to use as it gets once you get past the annoying initial installation. We had a chance to play around with a unit and we loved being able to switch from hearing about the hot stove on sports radio station WFAN to listening to Howard Stern interview Billy Joel on Sirius to streaming Miles Davis’ All Blues over Pandora in just a few short clicks of the click wheel. There’s a handy program guide that makes finding new stations a snap and the color display tells you everything you need to know about what you’re listening to including all the track information from Sirius/XM.
Terrestrial radio might be dying, but the Squeezebox shows that internet and satellite radio are where it’s at for a ridiculously wide variety of listening options.
Grab It At: Amazon.com for $149.99
READ ON for more of HT’s First Annual Holiday Gift Guide…
HT Recommends: HE’BREW Holiday Gift Pack
Why You Want It: While the holidays are all about family get-togethers, we also know that sometimes you need something a little bit stronger to drink to make it through them. So that’s where the fine folks at the Schmaltz Brewing Company come in. The makers of HE’BREW have you covered with their HE’BREW Holiday Gift Pack. You get all seven versions of their annually brewed Jewbelation beer – a different version has been brewed for each year the brewery has been around, with each one stronger in alcohol content than the year’s previous – with Jewbelation 14 topping out at a whopping 14% ABV.
The pack also comes with their latest offering, Vertical Jewbelation, which blends all seven recipes and has been barrel-aged in Sazerac 6-year rye whiskey barrels. The best part is the whole set doubles as a Hannukah Menorah, complete with candles and instructions on how to built it once you’re done drinking that night’s bottle.
Available At: Whole Foods, or your local beer distributor
HT Suggests: Max’s Kansas City: Art, Glamour, Rock & Roll
Why You’d Want It: Max’s Kansas City was an infamously hip night club, located just off of Union Square in New York City, when that area was a bit of a barren wasteland. It was the club where Andy Warhol held court, and bands went to party after their gigs. Max’s also doubled as a music venue where The Velvet Underground was the house band just prior to breaking up, and where the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Bob Marley, The Police and Iggy Pop played some of their earliest gigs in NYC.
This coffee table book celebrates the influential spot, and features some stunning photographs from throughout the club’s existence, as well as essays from Lou Reed, Lenny Kay and Danny Fields.
Grab It At: Amazon.com for $16.47
HT Suggests: Sharper Image iPod Turntable
Why You Want It?: Over the last few years vinyl has made a comeback in a major way as a primary way to listen to music at home again with scores of bands putting out their latest releases out on wax. The problem for vinyl enthusiasts, though, has been the ability to easily transfer that warm sound over to your iPod for portable listening. While newer records come with digital download codes, what about all those old albums you’ve either inherited from your parents or picked up cheaply?
Turntables with USB ports aren’t something new, but you almost needed to be an sound engineer to be able to transfer music quickly and easily. Sharper Image’s iPod Turntable has taken the fuss right out of it, with a dock right on the turntable that simultaneously transfers music into digital files right onto your iPod, while you listen to music. There’s even an option to back that music up directly to your computer, too.
Grab It At: Sharper Image for $199.99
Why You Want It?: We’re loving Logitech for the music lover in your family this holiday season, as another one of their devices has gotten the HT stamp of approval (they didn’t pay us or give us anything, we promise). Their rechargeable iPod speakers are the perfect green way of not only making your music collection portable, but giving it full crisp sound thanks in part to three different types of speakers with a total of eight speakers on this bad boy.
With an eight-hour rechargeable battery, you should have enough juice to blast both pre- and post-show tunes this summer either in the lot or at your favorite music festival (it also comes in handy for tailgates, the beach, your deck, etc.) Oh, it also happens to come with a remote, and a travel case, if you weren’t sold on this already.
Grab It At: Amazon For $119.99
HT Suggests: Syl Johnson – Complete Mythology
Why You Want It?: Here’s something for the vinyl loving, music collecting audiophile in the family: Syl Johnson: Complete Mythology from Numero Group encapsulates the legendary Chicago soul singer’s extensive body of work. The box set comes with a four-CD, six-LP collection spanning the entirety of Johnson’s career along with a 50-plus page booklet filled with dozens of photos and an over thirty-five thousand word exposition telling the story of the eccentric crooner’s life. If you’re thinking you’ve not heard of Syl Johnson, you’ve probably heard one of his songs sampled by the likes of Kid Rock, Michael Jackson, N.W.A. and Public Enemy among countless others all detailed in an index of samples also included. Typical of Numero Group the packaging is impressively sleek and sharp and will look great on anyone’s shelf.
Grab It At: Numerogroup.com For $75
HT Suggests: JVC HANC 250 Noise-Cancelling Headphones
Why You Want It?: This pair of headphones works nearly as good as Bose’s top-rated QuietComfort noise-cancelling headphones at a fraction of the price. They are comfortable, feature 85% noise cancelling, weigh just 5.3 ounces and most importantly – offer outstanding sound quality. Good headphones are essential for music freaks and the JVC HANC250s fit the bill perfectly without leaving a gaping hole in your wallet.
Grab It At: Amazon For $110.24
HT Suggests: Road Trips 2011 Subscription
Why You Want It?: Each year, the Grateful Dead vault opens for four Road Trips compilations and this year the band is offering Deadheads a chance to pre-order all four 2011 releases, so that you can receive them as soon as they come out in February, May, September and November. By subscribing, you’ll get free shipping on all four releases and you’ll get a bonus disc to go along with Road Trips Vol. 4 No. 3, the May, 2011 release.
Grab It At: Dead.net For $95.50
HT Suggests: Korg Kaossilator Dynamic Phrase Synthesizer
Why You Want It?: HT fave Mike Gordon brought one of these bad boys with him on his recently completed solo band tour and would give the Kaossilator to random audience members who would use the touchpad to “jam” with the group. How it works is that you pick one of the hundred pre-set sounds and manipulate that sound by moving your finger over the black touchpad to change the pitch of the sound.
You don’t need to be a musician to have fun with the Kaossilator, but if you are a musician you’ll appreciate all scale and key controls as well as the adjustable BPM and gated arpeggiator. The kaossilator can record and playback phrases and patterns that you play on the touch pad – loop style. Then, during playback, you can play along or even add another layer to the loop recording.
Grab It At: Amazon For $107.10