I'm Just Looking for a Gift!

Perfect presents for your New York Doll and other hard-to-shop-for music fans

Shopping for a serious music aficionado isn't nearly as easy as it sounds—particularly if you want to secure a reasonably original gift or, at the very least, something your average Pitchdork doesn't already own. Sure, a gift certificate from Sonic Boom or Easy Street Records is thoughtful, but it's also the lazy way out, and we all know it. Here are a few suggestions for those on your list who already own all the Nuggets boxed sets, plus a couple of genre-specific picks for the diehards. Most of these items could probably be tracked down on Amazon or at Borders, but keep your street cred and try to patronize the local independent business suggested after each entry. Punk House: Interiors in Anarchy Photography by Abby Banks, edited by Thurston Moore; $27.50 at Left Bank Books (622-0195). Cheap rent and creative camaraderie make easy bedfellows, a reality that photographer Abby Banks and punk veteran Thurston Moore document with vivid, loving detail in this coffee-table book. This is an ideal choice for the road-warrior touring musician in your life, as he or she will undoubtedly recognize some of the friendly crash pads depicted within, from Olympia to New Orleans. Once DVD $24.95 at Scarecrow Video in the U District (524-8554). As anyone who made it to their spine-tingling concert at the Moore Theatre this fall will attest, the Frames' Glen Hansard and Czech pianist Marketa Irglova make some of the most purely rendered love songs this side of Leonard Cohen or Nick Drake. The art-house sleeper starring this freakishly talented pair of artists finally came out on DVD this week. If someone on your list has ever been moved to tears by music, this is a surefire choice, be it for your emo-damaged teenage sister OR your sensitive, oldies-loving grandmother. CREEM: American's Only Rock 'n' Roll Magazine By Robert Matheu and Brian J. Bowe; $29.95 at Easy Street Records, Queen Anne (691-3279). Rolling Stone may take all the credit, but music journalism wouldn't have the cultural foothold it does without the gonzo fearlessness of this seminal zine. This anthology pulls together the publication's best moments with a stunning collection of rare photos and artwork. Golden Oldies gift certificate From Golden Oldies in Wallingford (547-2260). If you are shopping for a committed crate-digger, you are screwed, my friend. Unless you have access to a window looking into their basement and their soul, you probably don't know what wax they already own (or fervently covet). That doesn't mean you can't honor their carefully cultivated, obscure tastes, and this independent gold mine of rare recordings is even cutting clever deals this month. A $50 gift certificate is just $40 right now—the only caveat is that the recipient can't spend it until after Jan. 1. I Hate Myself and I Want to Die: The 52 Most Depressing Songs You've Ever Heard By Tom Reynolds; $12 (currently out of print, but alive and well on the Internet). You'll probably have to go to Amazon to track this gem down, but if there's an old-school goth or a committed pop music fan with a decent sense of humor in your life, you'll find no better gift. Author Tom Reynolds analyzes the mysterious allure of dour masterpieces by Joy Division and the Cure along with the unintentionally grim notes struck by Barry Manilow and Dr. Hook with a vicious, insightful wit. Mamarama: A Memoir of Sex, Kids, & Rock 'n' Roll By Evelyn McDonnell; $22 at Bailey/Coy Books. Have a friend who has ditched you for domesticity and motherhood? Remind her that she should still make time to rock out with you once in while—while still respecting the fact that her world has changed in big ways. Veteran music journalist Evelyn McDonnell never considered herself a candidate for parenting, but after many years of riotous feminist activism and immersion in the New York punk scene, she ends up discovering her unexpected role as mother of three. A mixed tape Priceless, conceived and executed on your stereo (no, not your hard drive). Mixed CDs are nice, efficient gifts for handing out to multiple recipients, but nothing compares to the care, craft, and patience that goes into making an old-school mixed tape. The best recipients for this are people who have older cars that still have tape decks. Give a killer mix to someone like this, and you can count on being a key part of his or her personal soundtrack in 2008. So bust out that vinyl, obsess over your segues, and don't slack on the track listing and labeling components—with enough craftiness, this one could get you laid. Toss in a copy of Rob Sheffield's Love Is a Mix Tape: Life and Loss, One Song at a Time ($13, also at Bailey/Coy) and you're golden. Donation to Musicares Any denomination, www.musicares.org. This nonprofit has helped an astonishing number of uninsured musicians since its inception in 1989 (former Fastbacks and Visqueen bassist Kim Warnick paid down her staggering hospital bills with Musicares' help this year). The application process for assistance is easy to navigate and the group's overhead costs admirably prudent, so you know your gift will go directly to an artist who truly needs your help. Philanthropic endeavors for true music fans don't get any better than this. rocketqueen@seattleweekly.com

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