Gift Ideas Round 1: Jazz, Indie Pop, Hip Hop
The holidays are creeping up. There’s less than a week before Hanukkah and Christmas will be here. If you’re like me, then you wait until the last minute before buying gifts for those in your life. And with waiting comes the mind-numbing anxiety of not knowing what to get. To help you, and also to sort some of this out myself, I’ve made some genre-specific recommendations for the music lover in your life.
For the jazz aficionado in your life, there’s nothing better than grabbing a local record. Luckily, Kansas City has a thriving jazz scene. If the beatnik on your list loves organ-driven lounge jazz, look no further than Chris Hazelton’s Boogaloo 7′s Soul Jazz Fridays (recorded live at The Green Lady Lounge). If the vinylphile likes a more experimental bent to their jazz, go for Jorge Arana Trio‘s Mammoth. Jazz and metal come together seamlessly on this epic album. For the quieter, turtlenecked jazz lover in your life, there is Eddie Moore and The Outer Circle’s Kings and Queens. Massive beats and complex piano lines come together to form an album that is wild and tender.
If there’s someone on your list who seemingly has every indie record released in the past few years, then you know the pain of wading through Pitchfork’s top albums only to know this person has all of them. If your indie lover likes the Mac Demarco, Kurt Vile, Steely Dan area of indie pop, then get them Sam Evian’s Premium. The album is wavy and laid back and insanely catchy. For the headier indie fans, there’s the Record Store Day exclusive release of Radiohead’s A Moon Shaped Pool. This deluxe edition comes packaged in a 78 album book inspired case complete with a section of master tape–the perfect indulgence for the post-rock lover in your life. For those on your list who like their rock with some girl power, look no further than Super Unison’s Auto. Politically savvy and riff-tastic, this album burns through any listeners ear canals and remains in the mind for days.
For the hip hop lovers, there are a few choices out there. For those who love the weirder ends of rap (think Del Tha Funky Homosapien, Danny Brown, etc.), there’s Mykki Blanco’s Mykki. Half-Eminem inspired craziness, half-lovelorn croon, Mykki is taut and smart. For those who love grimy beats and concise lyrics, Vince Staples’ Prima Donna is the perfect album. Meta in the best ways, Staples’ EP has all the energy of his previous releases with a critical eye focused on fame. If you have an indie rap fan (WHY?, Twenty One Pilots, P.O.S., LE1F, Kool A.D.) on your list, check out Yoni & Geti’s Testarossa. My favorite album of 2016, this record is smart, visceral, and utterly enjoyable.
And remember, if there is still a doubt in your mind about what to buy those picky vinylphiles in your life, there are always gift cards. Screen printed on 45s these gifts are truly the perfect record.