The Best Gifts for Every Music Lover, From Metalheads to Rap Moguls
This may seem like a no-brainer, but when you’re picking out gifts for your loved ones, crushes, frenemies, and polycule members, you should probably try to cater to their interests. And music lovers, mercifully for us as gift-givers, tend to be pretty vocal about what they like, whether it’s through their parade of band shirts or endless chatter about what festival they’re blowing their paycheck on next.
Some of the best gifts we’ve ever received have been thoughtfully curated albums, the headphones we end up using every day, and that long-coveted vintage tour sweatshirt. So with this gift guide, we wanna pay it forward and make the hip hop heads, metalheads, Deadheads, punx, jiggly jazz-heads, freakazoids, indie goons, and audiophiles of the world very merry indeed. Here you go: the best gifts for music lovers, from the super-practical to the hard-to-find memorabilia they’ll treasure forever.
The best music tech gifts
Marshall Acton III speaker
This super attractive, great-sounding Bluetooth speaker is exactly what you’d hope for from Marshall—and also happens to be a fave of our staff writer. Its angled tweeters, OTA (over the air) updates, and adjustable bass and treble controls make it a top-tier gift for music lovers (and one that’s likely to sell out as the holidays draw closer).
Sonos One is the best bang for your buck you’re going to get for a Wi-Fi speaker. Don’t be deceived by its modest size; you can easily move it from shelf to desk to bedside, but it packs big sound and has a tuning system that tailors its audio to sound the best in your space. Plus, it easily joins forces with everything else in Sonos’s product line for an easy surround-sound experience.
Already have a One, and looking for a bass boost without having to drop a G or more? Pick up the Sub Mini, which will deepen your sound experience whether you’re cranking Miles Davis, Metallica, or just reruns of Married… With Children. Its unique design faces two powerful subwoofers inward to maximize the nuance of your audio while simultaneously preventing distortion, buzzing, or rattling.
Hearing protection is essential for anyone spending a lot of time at loud live shows—and upgrading from the $1 foam earplugs they sell at the bar is definitely the right move. Our editor tested Loop’s earplugs, which are designed for noise reduction without muffling audio, and loved how they both prevent tinnitus and look like Klingon jewelry. Now, our staff spots them all the time peeking out of the ears of hot people at cool shows. The gold ones make a perfect stocking stuffer.
If you haven’t heard about why the AirPods Pro are considered the gold standard for ear buds—from their wireless charging case and immersive sound to their stellar noise cancellation and transparency mode—you haven’t been listening. Any recipient of a pair is guaranteed to use them all the dang time.
A MicroKorg, the best beginner’s synth
Thinking about starting a synthwave project? You’re gonna need gear, and the MicroKorg is the perfect place to start. Beloved by both n00bs and seasoned musicians, it’s a lightweight, portable keyboard and MIDI controller that makes it super easy to experiment with making electronic music. It’s packed with cool sounds and effects, and perhaps most importantly, it’s stupid-fun to mess around with.
The best gifts for metalheads
A Slayer necklace
All the most highly coveted Slayer tour shirts are like $500 now because the LA streetwear peeps got to ’em, but you can still get this Show No Mercy pentagram necklace for the price of a slightly irresponsible lunch.
The greatest band biography ever…
…And the most sordid. Regardless of how you feel about Mötley Crüe’s music, if you’re ready to read a serious page turner full of incredibly morally bankrupt tales of life on the Sunset Strip, with a huge emphasis on sex, partying, and drugs, there’s nothing quite like The Dirt.
A Behemoth candle
We all love the ambiance a beautiful candle provides, whether the vibe is “bathing in rose petals at a spa” or “performing an occult ritual whilst blasting extreme metal.”
The best gifts for hip hop fans
For the person who loves rap almost as much as they love their dog
Snoop Dogg recently dropped an entire line of pet products—we shit you not; and yes, a little on-the-nose. This gold dog bowl just might be the star of the show. What, you’re telling me your perfect little miscellaneous pit mix doesn’t deserve to eat out of a throne of gold? Yeah, of course he does—that’s what we thought. And yes, it’s made of food-safe stainless steel and even has a nonskid rubber bottom. Comin’ real, it’s the next episode (of pet ownership).
The story of the chopped and screwed king
Every hip hop fan should know not just DJ Screw’s name, but also the deep influence he had on all of modern music. Né Robert Earl Davis Jr., DJ Screw got his start as a bedroom producer in the 90s, inventing the chopped and screwed style of remixing and lighting a fire in Houston’s rap scene. To get the full story of his extraordinary life, author Lance Scott Walker spoke to childhood friends, collaborators, and rap moguls to paint a picture of just how important he was to not just his community, but music as a whole.
Life advice from Gucci Mane
Look, when it comes to achieving legendary status and navigating the ups and downs of modernity, who are you gonna trust: some run-of-the-mill life coach in a polo shirt, or critically acclaimed, platinum-selling recording artist Gucci Mane? This book is packed with wisdom from the Atlanta rapper himself, and as the impeccable reviews will tell you, it’s “one of the realest books ever” and is “like The Art of War meets 48 Laws of Power broken down in layman’s terms.”
For the Frank Ocean-loving softboi
Ah, Frank. One of the most unique artists of our generation, and certainly one that is produced some of the most iconic album art of our generation. Take it back to the beginning with this sweatshirt depicting his very first mixtape, Nostalgia Ultra.
The best gifts for people who love punk
A pair of Docs
Through all genders, all ages, and all decades, Dr. Martens’ iconic 1460 boots have cemented themselves as the durable, forever-cool footwear of punks, goths, and other kids who hang out under the bleachers. This eternally appealing unisex style is also known for being easy to break in and virtually indestructible. If you don’t have Docs, are you even an alt?
The greatest oral history of punk rock ever writ
Yes, I’m talking about Please Kill Me, the very un-PC, very gnarly, very based oral history of early punk rock, featuring interviews from every band that saw their blood, sweat, tears, and cum make punk rock what it is today. If your gift recipient hasn’t read this yet, they’re in for a truly wild, page-turning ride full of characters that truly define the term “degenerate.”
Dan Ozzi’s Sellout
Once upon a time, rock writer Dan Ozzi was an editor at VICE’s own Noisey, but then he peaced out to go write this exceptionally interesting and much-needed book about the major label punk rock gold rush of the 90s and early 2000s. The book is hella good, so we forgive him for leaving—and also, we couldn’t put it down. Grab it for all the friends in your life who liked [fill in the band] “before they got huge.”
A Discharge woven blanket
We just love that it exists. The woven blanket scene is really poppin’ these days.
The best gifts for other vibey music weirdos
For Velvet Underground obsessives
When neon-sign brand Yellowpop collab’d with Andy Warhol’s estate last year, our first thought as fans of those Velvets was: How do we get our hands on that crazy-cool banana? It’s lighting, it’s art, and it’s an objet—it first conjures the image of that iconic Velvet Underground self-titled album cover, and it will tell houseguests that you have an opinion about the supremacy of Loaded over White Light/White Heat.
Make a Deadhead happy
There’s so much weirdly hot Grateful Dead merch out there these days, it’s hard to know where to start—but may we suggest some skater socks, a Nixon watch, or a scented, happy-looking dancing-bear candle?
The early-aughts hipster bible
Meet Me in the Bathroom is to the 00s indie rock gold rush as Please Kill Me is to the late 70s punk scene—a sordid, sidewinding journey through New York City, this time uncovering the origins, pitfalls, and parties of bands like the Strokes, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and LCD Soundsystem. If you want to give the gift of knowing what it was like to be there when Karen O became a modern icon or when James Murphy first did Molly, this is as close as you can come in 2023.
A vintage snapback of choice
Cruise the halls of eBay, and you’ll find a treasure trove of vintage band snapbacks, trucker hats, and beanies, including these prime picks. Want a collector-level Green Day hat? An original Nevermind dad hat? An Evanescence beanie?! The online auction world is your oyster.
A Cameo from Lil Xan
There are still plenty of random AF musicians left on the strange and wonderful platform that is Cameo to entertain your loved ones, including several members of Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, Josh Todd of Buckcherry, Lisa Loeb, Counting Crows singer Adam Duritz, Marky Ramone, and Stitches (IYK, YK). We say get a Cameo from Lil Xan for your 13-year-old niece. She’ll lose her mind.
Now if you’ll excuse us, we’ve gotta go wait for our Spotify Wrapped to drop.
The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story.
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