Local Current Blog

Gimmie Love: Valentine’s gifts for music nerds

First Aid Kit's drummer at the Palace Theatre on January 30, 2018. Photo by Maddy Fox for MPR.

It’s early February, which means you might be brainstorming ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day. This Hallmark holiday can get boiled down to chocolate and putti (they’re not cupids!). But if you’re in a romantic relationship, it offers you a genuine opportunity to celebrate whatever makes your connection special. For a lot of people, that’s rooted in a shared love for music — so here are a few gift ideas for fellow music nerds.

Single this year? Treat yourself. Or refocus on Galentine’s Day. Just do something based off Parks & Recreation.

Band merch

Beyoncé planned for this. Her new merchandise is all Valentine’s-themed, but you don’t have to buy something with hearts on it to show you love someone. You can order any band merch — T-shirts, posters, hats — for the person you’re with. Just make sure you have their size right.

Concert tickets

This option is nice because it doesn’t actually take up space. And you can enjoy it together. You have the option of buying tickets for Feb. 14 itself — in which case this and this look tough to beat — or buying tickets for the future. A few recommended, intimate shows: tony the scribe on Feb. 15, POLIÇA and s t a r g a z e on Feb. 21, and Dizzy Fae on Feb. 22. Here’s our whole events calendar.


The classic. The standard. For as long as many of us can remember, mixtapes (and mix CDs, and even tailor-made playlists) have been the ideal music-related gift. It’s easy to get too carried away with them. But if you do it right, you can tell someone you love them — and why, and just how much — by handing over a tape.


If you share a special album with someone else, this is the time to buy that vinyl.

Speaker upgrade

Speakers are one of those items that you don’t realize you need until you have them. Depending on your budget, you can upgrade your person’s car speakers, home speakers, or portable Bluetooth speakers; they’ll hear the difference. Smart speakers and headphones work here too.

Instrument accessories

If your significant other plays guitar, you can order them a cutesy pick or customized strap. Similar options exist for other instruments. Or you can take your SO accessory shopping (in Minnesota, you can choose from the Drum Loft, Twin TownVig Guitar Shop, and many more instrument stores).

Music-focused books and movies

In this case, your discography recall is the limit. Just kidding: there are no limits, because this is the internet. Here are a few popular movies with plots or structures that revolve around music: High FidelityThe Perks of Being a WallflowerNick & Norah’s Infinite PlaylistO Brother, Where Art Thou?Baby Driver, and many more. If you want to investigate further, the Guardian made a list of their top 10 music-adjacent movies.

Conversely, a book about music might feel right. We’ve got a whole collection stacked up in our Rock and Roll Book Club, and many bookstores have sections devoted to music. Especially of note: Hanif Abdurraqib’s They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us, Chris Riemenschneider’s First Avenue: Minnesota’s Mainroom, and Ann Powers’s Good Booty (super Valentine’s-appropriate).


Pins are great keepsakes: snazzy and compact. Gigi Berry, local luminary, makes Prince pins at Cherry Moon Press. Other cool stores include Good Dope Supply Co. and PinAlchemy. If you prefer physical shopping, b. Resale always has a display.

Subscriptions and memberships

Getting a magazine delivered is a luxury. If your person would sit down and read it cover-to-cover, order them as many issues of Rolling StoneFader, or NME as you want.

There’s also the option to pre-pay for Apple Music, Spotify, or Pandora. And we’d be remiss if we didn’t suggest a gift membership to MPR.