8 box sets, board games, and bleep-bloop boxes to buy the music lovers in your life this holiday

8 box sets, board games, and bleep-bloop boxes to buy the music lovers in your life this holiday

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Graphic: Rebecca Fassola

Live music remains elusive as the pandemic rages on, but there are worse things than filling your four walls with the sounds that have long brought you comfort. Maybe that’s song after song from your favorite artist. Maybe it’s music of your own making. Or maybe it’s simply the laughter of family, brought together by a board game that asks them to sing Sixpence None The Richer lyrics. Here, we’ve curated a diverse range of gift ideas for the music-minded folks in your life, whether they love to hear it, make it, or pontificate about it.

Marah Eakin is the Executive Producer of all A.V. Club Video And Podcasts. She is also a Cleveland native and heiress to the country's largest collection of antique and unique bedpans and urinals.

Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.

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MTV: The Throwback Music Party Game

MTV: The Throwback Music Party Game

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Graphic: Rebecca Fassola

Are you the kind of freak who remembers Dishwalla and Bubba Sparxxx? Can you recite Silverchair lyrics off the top of your head? Can you, with a straight face, tell us what song is sweet like “chic-a-cherry cola”? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you are both older than you ever thought you’d be and the perfect audience for MTV: The Throwback Music Party Game, which requires at least a passing familiarity with Riki Rachtman and Martha Quinn to play. To win, players must draw upon their knowledge of the mainstream hits of the ’80s, ’90s, and ’00s as they pertain to eight different categories, including Teenage Angst, Best Of Unplugged, and Hip Hop Hits. Card prompts, charades, and, if you’re feeling brave, actual performances are required to prove to your children just how “with it” you used to be. In 30 years, after all, they’ll be doing the same with the TikTok hits they’re currently absorbing.

Buy it at Target.

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Bob Mould, Distortion: 1989-2019

Bob Mould, Distortion: 1989-2019

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Graphic: Rebecca Fassola

Does someone in your life need to be reminded of how good guitars can sound? Does this person need to have an amp explode in their face, the sheer power of rock hurling them into a pile of debris, Marty McFly-style? If so, we recommend Distortion: 1989-2019, a sweeping new box set that’s all Bob Mould, all the time. Beginning with ’89’s seminal Workbook, the Hüsker Dü veteran’s output unfolds across 18 LPs comprised of his solo work, his alt-rock outfit Sugar, and his out-of-print electronic experiments with Loudbomb and Blowoff. Four live albums are also collected here, as are a handful of rarities and collaborations with the likes of Foo Fighters, The Golden Palominos, Throwing Muses, and Vic Chesnutt. Rounding out the collection is a 72-page booklet featuring contributions from Fred Armisen, Richard Thompson, Shirley Manson, and Bethany Cosentino, as well as liner notes from journalist Keith Cameron. All that’s missing are the scripts he wrote for WCW. (Yes, Bob Mould wrote for WCW.)

Read The A.V. Club’s Primer on the music of Bob Mould. Buy it here.

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Cat Magic Punks apparel

Cat Magic Punks apparel

Illustration for article titled 8 box sets, board games, and bleep-bloop boxes to buy the music lovers in your life this holiday
Photo: Courtesy of Cat Magic Punks

Described as a “celebration of cats, art, punk, and community,” Cat Magic Punks benefits organizations like Alley Cat Advocates, The Bail Project, and Detention Watch Network with shirts, beanies, masks, mugs, and totes suited for the anti-racist cat lover in your life. Dark, extremely metal designs evoke punk flyers of yore, pairing piercing feline gazes with slogans like C.L.A.W.S. (Cat Lovers Against White Supremacy) and ABOLISH (M)ICE. The designs come courtesy of Ryan Patterson—owner of Shirt Killer and founder of punk bands like Fotocrime and Coliseum—who dedicates the designs to his late kitties, Waylon and Willie.

Buy it here.

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Moog’s Werkstatt-01

Moog’s Werkstatt-01

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Graphic: Rebecca Fassola

If you, like many artists, find yourself regularly thinking about the Inside Llewyn Davis scene where he sees “What are you DOING?” scrawled on a bathroom stall, might we suggest getting yourself a Moog? With a Moog, you, too, can make bleep-bloop music that lowers the heart rate and answer questions about what you’re doing in lockdown with, “Just playin’ with my Moog.” The Werkstatt-01 is perfect for the casual user, as it is cheap, patchable, portable, and adorable, requiring no prior electronics experience to put together—everything you need for assembly is arranged in the kit, including a CV Expander. Need a refresher on what sounds, exactly, a Moog makes? Allow The Monkees to take you back to the instrument’s early days.

Buy it here.

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Charlie Parker, The Savoy 10-Inch LP Collection 

Charlie Parker, The Savoy 10-Inch LP Collection 

Jazz saxophonist and composer Charlie Parker’s pioneering brand of bebop blazed a trail that’s been paved and expanded by no shortage of modern jazz greats. Before his death at 35, Parker played alongside the storied likes of Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, and John Lewis, all of whom are featured on Craft Recordings’ collection of Parker’s work with Savoy Records between 1944 and 1948. The collection, which unfolds across four 10-inch LPs, contains 28 tracks that include “Now’s The Time,” “Parker’s Mood,” and Grammy Hall Of Fame track “Billie’s Bounce.” LP and CD versions of the box set are available, with each featuring a restoration of the original album artwork, new liner notes from Grammy-winning author Neil Tesser, and a booklet packed with vintage photographs.

Buy it on CD or vinyl.

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American Utopia by David Byrne and Maira Kalman

American Utopia by David Byrne and Maira Kalman

Photo: David Lee/HBO
Photo: David Lee/HBO
Graphic: Rebecca Fassola

American Utopia, Spike Lee’s film adaptation of David Byrne’s Broadway hit, was one of the more stirring films of the year, serving, in the words of our own A.A. Dowd, as both “a balm and a requiem for live experiences.” In conjunction with the film’s release, Byrne teamed up with artist Maira Kalman for one hell of a coffee table book: An extension of American Utopia that combines the show’s text with more than 150 four-color paintings from Kalman, the likes of which were originally created for the Broadway run’s curtain. Nothing can replace the thrill of seeing the show live, but the book, like the film, allows Byrne’s creation to blossom and take shape inside a different medium. For an artist as chameleonic as Byrne, it feels appropriate.

Read The A.V. Club’s recent dissection of American Utopia. Buy it on Bookshop.

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8 / 10

Oda Speakers

Oda Speakers

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Graphic: Rebecca Fassola

Suggesting a streaming speaker for a gift guide is nothing new, but what Oda actually provides is. While the speakers can be used traditionally—hook them up to your stereo, your Spotify, whatever—they also give listeners access to Oda’s quarterly schedule of one-time-only live events and performances from people like Bradford Cox, Jessica Pratt, Madlib, The Microphones, Pastor T.L. Barrett, Terry Riley, and more. Created in part to help support performing artists and musicians, Oda prides itself on creating not only a lovely looking and sounding product, but also one that pays what it says are “meaningful performance fees to participating artists and crew.” It’s a mission statement that’s especially important this year, when the live event industry has been decimated by COVID-19, making Oda a thoughtful gift for the socially conscious music fan who misses a good night on the town.

Buy it here.

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9 / 10

Tom Petty, Wildflowers & All The Rest

Tom Petty, Wildflowers & All The Rest

Though Tom Petty’s 1994 record Wildflowers is widely regarded as one of his best, what was released at the time wasn’t the whole story—at least not to Petty. The late singer initially envisioned the record as a double LP, but was persuaded by his label to hold the second half back for a later release. Now, with Wildflowers & All The Rest, fans can finally get a chance to hear all 25 songs as Petty intended. Curated by the artist’s family and members of his band, The Heartbreakers, the compilation comes in a number of formats, including a two-CD set, a triple-LP set, and even a deluxe seven-LP set, which comes packed with live material, demos, and a 60-page book of unseen photos and notes from Petty’s friends and admirers. It’s the perfect gift for everyone, from true-blue Petty diehards to those who quietly sing the chorus of “You Don’t Know How It Feels” whenever they get sad.

Read The A.V. Club’s Permanent Records on Wildflowers. Buy it here.

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Marah Eakin is the Executive Producer of all A.V. Club Video And Podcasts. She is also a Cleveland native and heiress to the country's largest collection of antique and unique bedpans and urinals.

Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.