It’s that most wonderful time of the year, when sleigh bells are ringing and in-laws are descending and everyone’s making one last mad dash toward the malls to finish up their shopping in time for the holidays. If you’re like me, you’ve probably waited until right about now to start seriously thinking about what you’re going to get your closest friends and family members—and if you’re like me, you know that the idea of setting foot in a big box retailer or crowded mall sounds like the worst thing ever.
Guess what? Relief is here for you procrastinators, and this year it is coming to you in the form of lots of locally focused, music-themed gifts that you can pick up at any number of independently owned stores around town. For the records mentioned below, I recommend stopping into the Electric Fetus, Treehouse Records, Roadrunner, Hymie’s, or Cheapo, only because those stores have some of the largest local inventories in town. You can also find all of the hip-hop recommendations here at Fifth Element, and the concert venue-specific ideas behind the bars of each of the venues mentioned.
Happy shopping! And to help you stay in the holiday spirit, be sure to tune into our afternoon marathon of Minnesota-made holiday music on the Local Current stream this coming Monday, December 22, from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., which I will co-host along with my colleague Jay Gabler.
For the avid concertgoer
Spring for a First Avenue membership—now available at the affordable $45 “star” level—which will get your concertgoing buddy access to ticket presales, discounts, and the limited edition holiday sweatshirt pictured above. Pair it with a set of high-quality earplugs, available at local record stores like the Electric Fetus.
For the in-laws who only listen to country music
You can’t go wrong with the Cactus Blossoms, one of the most beloved acts in the Twin Cities scene—the brothers Burkam are carrying the classic country torch forward for the next generation of music fans. Pair it with the debut EP from Frankie Lee and a stoneware mug with the Turf Club’s old-school horseshoe logo.
For the mom who loves James Taylor and Cat Stevens
Introduce mom to a new generation of swoony crooners with the new releases from Chris Koza, Dan Wilson, and Jeremy Messersmith—the Minnesota trifecta of soft-souled pop.
For the dad who only listens to jazz
Impress your dad with your good taste by giving him a trio of high-quality releases from Minnesota artists, including the Orange Mighty Trio’s brand-new holiday release, the Bad Plus’s latest studio album, and a new record from prolific Minneapolis bassist Chris Bates.
For the tween who loves Taylor Swift
Pick up a copy of Caroline Smith’s 2013 release Half About Being a Woman, an album that stresses the importance of self-care, female empowerment, and confidence.
For the hip-hop fan in your life
Dessa tote? Check. Slug socks? Check. Doomtree “No Kings” sweatshirt? Check and check. Find it all at Fifth Element, the one-stop hip-hop shop on Hennepin Ave. in Uptown. And you may as well throw in a copy of Toki Wright and Big Cats! new album Pangaea, just to prove that you know what’s up with Minnesota hip-hop.
For the Trampled by Turtles fan that already has every album
Trampled by Turtles have numerous creative merch options in their web store, including the wooden flask, knit hat, and iPhone case pictured above. For the superfan, they are also offering a special holiday gift bundle that includes the flask, a tote bag, and a poster that features the cover art from their latest album, Wild Animals.
For the old-school Minneapolis scenester
Pick up a few of the classic Minnesota rock albums that were reissued this year—including Trip Shakespeare’s Applehead Man and Are You Shakespearienced? and the Jayhawks Smile, Sound of Lies, and Rainy Day Music—plus a throwback tee with the defunct Uptown Bar’s logo—available for quick delivery online.
For the localvore who has everything
As illustrated above, lots of Minnesota artists have come up with unique and creative merch ideas this year. For the fan who already owns every album, attends every Rock the Garden, and knows the Current’s Local Show playlist by heart, think outside the box with these adorable gift ideas. Pictured: A Jeremy Messersmith Heart Murmurs-inspired necklace, a lunchbox from the Electric Fetus, or a t-shirt that proudly advertises Lizzo’s effect on our lives here in the Land of 10,000 bands.