Holiday Gift Guide — Part 2 (Books/Accessories/Clothing)

Special Features / December 5, 2014

For Part 2 of our holiday gift guide we’re looking at the books, vinyl accessories, clothing and other items you should be picking up this holiday season. Every single item is personally recommended by one of the MV writers. And as this is our last section, I have to thank Zach Behm, Dave Fisch, Alan Miller and Paul Vinas for helping me put this together.

Part 1, featuring records and turntables can be found here. Also, if you simply want to support Modern Vinyl in your Christmas shopping, pick up all Amazon purchases through this link.

Shopping list…..finished.




Dust & Grooves: Adventures In Record Collecting
$68 — $95

The now 436-page coffee-table book from the Dust & Grooves team was originally released on Record Store Day 2014 but is now in its second edition. The highlight of that second edition is an interview with Questlove and his mass record collection, along with interview with Gilles Peterson, Kieran Hebden, of Four Tet, The Gaslamp Killer and Egon. The book’s foreword is written by the RZA and if you’ve ever checked out Dust & Grooves, you’ll know you’re getting some of the best vinyl related work around, especially in photography. There’s both a regular version for $68 and yeah that’s pricey, but these books are high quality and massive. A slipcover edition, for $95, will also be on sale for those super fans.
[Chris Lantinen]


You Don’t Know Me But You Don’t Like Me

Nathan Rabin, writer for both The AV Club and The Onion, hung out with both Phish and Insane Clown Posse fans, in order to draw some honest, universal truths from the connected and passionate fanbases. What follows is exactly that, some truth regarding two possibly misunderstood groups of music lovers. After all, it was the FBI that tagged Juggalos with a “loosely organized hybrid gang” tag recently, making this possible purchase all the more timely.
[Chris Lantinen]


In The Grooves: The Visual History of The Vinyl Record

The man behind Enjoy The Ride Records, along with his newest venture, Paper Books, have their first release up for sale. In The Grooves sits at 124 pages of waxey (is that a word?) glory, with full size 12” illustrations of some of the better looking vinyl products released in recent years. Glossy paper is accompanied by the humorous price of $33.33. A little pricey, but you’re supporting an upstart company.
[Chris Lantinen]


33 1/3 Series
$10 — $15

The 33 1/3 series has been providing music fans with short books about culturally important albums since 2003. Each book in the series is devoted to a specific album and with that a reader will generally get an in-depth analysis of that work. No album seems to be off limits as the series has seen writers tackle everything from Andrew W.K’s I Get Wet, to The Beach Boys Pet Sounds to most recently Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. The titles are pretty hit-or-miss so be sure you check out a review first. If you need a good starting point, I would recommend their analysis of Neutral Milk Hotel’s In An Aeroplane Over The Sea by Kim Cooper. I knew a lot of the band and the album before I read it, but I kept learning awesome things. The book covers the band’s history, a look at their previous works, an in depth analysis of each song — from how it was made, to its meaning within the context of the complicated album — citing interviews with band members. The book even contains many facts most fans seem to think are a mystery surrounding bandleader Jeff Mangum. One of the best books on music you can read.
[Zach Behm]


The Wes Anderson Collection

Earlier in 2014 it was rumored that a Wes Anderson vinyl box set would be out by the years end. Wes Anderson’s soundtracks are top notch — it was a shoe-in for best vinyl release of the year. Unfortunately the box set has yet to be announced — all that has been are the studio sessions Seu Jorge did for The Life Aquatic that may or may not be a bootleg. If you or someone you care about still needs their Wes Anderson fix I suggest The Wes Anderson Collection, written by Matt Zoller Seitz with illustrations by Max Dalton. The 336-page book is framed around an in-depth interview between Seitz and Anderson that focuses on every aspect of each of his films starting with Bottle Rocket and ending with Moonrise Kingdom. It features a vast amount of information surrounded by quality images and artwork. Eye catching and informative, this coffee table sized book is a must have for any Wes Anderson fan. I received this as a gift last Christmas and have poured over it throughout the entire year since.
[Zach Behm]


Wivenhoe Park

I picked this book up at Grimeys Too in Nashville simply because the cover art looked intriguing. What I found was a well written book about growing up in ’80s Britain that turned me on to some fantastic british alternative bands, none more than The Jesus and Mary Chain. Ben writes with a frenetic speed, pushing the reader through all of the emotions he went through as a young man trying to make it as a writer in land far away from home. It’s a quick read, but one that will stay with you.
[Alan Miller]


Killing Yourself to Live

Love him or hate him, Chuck Klosterman has some incredible thoughts on life and music. Killing Yourself to Live chronicles his time driving across the USA to research a story on dead rock stars, learning things he didn’t know about himself along the way. It’s the kind of book that can turn from humorous to somber in an instant, but it stays enjoyable throughout.
[Alan Miller]


Vinyl Junkies

There are a lot of us out there with this “vinyl addiction” and this book chronicles a few of them. This book could be seen as a cautionary tale in many ways, the author really knows how to show the dark side of collecting, but it’s also a fascinating read that documents the mind of the collector, and why we collect what we do. My only complaint was the lack of female input (only one), but other than that it’s an enthralling read.
[Alan Miller]

Vinyl Accessories


Porchlight Coffee and Records Slipmats

Zach Bolotin, out of Seattle, has a few striking and custom slipmats currently on sale in his webstore. They all work from a basic black and white color scheme but the images themselves are interesting and the felt mats printed through Night Owls are the same we use here at MV and are top notch. The moon one, pictured above, designed by Bolotin, is a highlight but all are recommended.
[Chris Lantinen]


Vintage Vinyl Journals
$30 — $40

These journals, which won’t be around for too much longer as the company is actually going out of business, have an outside constructed from a vinyl record and an inside composed from recycled paper. In other words, if you’re a writer, jotter or sketcher, I couldn’t think of a cooler way to capture your thoughts. These babies are all hand made and span genres, from soundtracks to present day rock and The Beatles. Use the code SALE15 for 15% off.
[Chris Lantinen]

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Mobile Fidelity Inner Sleeves

Ever picked up a Mobile Fidelity release? First off, if you haven’t, do yourself a favor and get to it. Second off, they feature some great, anti-static inner sleeves that keep your records both clean and ready-to-play. They’re selling a 50-pack of the sleeves for $20 and while that may seem high, it will be worth it when you’re able to pass the collection down to your kid since you took such grand care of those discs. Only inner sleeves you’ll ever need.
[Chris Lantinen]


Vinyl Record Coasters

There’s about a million different variations of these and you could home make them with a little elbow grease and some thrift store records, but if you want to pick some up, grab them over at 2 Vinyl Cats’ Etsy shop. The coasters here aren’t just a random assortment like you’d find from the mass produced ones, but all deal with the same album, giving your vinyl flair a little bit of solidarity. They’re kinda pricey, but handmade and they do take requests.
[Chris Lantinen]


Vintage Disc Washer
Price Varies

The Disc Washer is back thanks to the vinyl resurgence! The problem is, the new ones suck! The new company that makes them traded out the directional bristles that collect the dust on your record for an odd corduroy fabric that just pushes dust around scratching your records. Take it from me and buy yourself or a friend a vintage Disc Washer on eBay. One of the best choices I ever made. How do you know if its a vintage model? Look for “D3” in the title or description and if that’s not there a dark real wood handle is your next indicator. Try to get one of the little red bottles and brushes too. If taken care of it will last you a lifetime. Every record, even new should be cleaned before spinning and this will help get the job done without having to make a big mess. Tip: Just use distilled water for the liquid.
[Zach Behm]

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Behringer PP400 Phono Preamp

Behringer are known for making simple and cheap equipment and this preamp is no exception. A preamp takes the signal from your turntable and boosts it to a level more acceptable to modern stereo equipment and it’s a necessary piece of hardware for older turntables. For less than $30, there’s really no excuse not to have one of these around.
[Alan Miller]


Shure M97xe Cartridge/Stylus

After buying a used or entry level turntable, a quick sound upgrade is to replace the cartridge. The Shure M97xe is a mid range cartridge and stylus combo that gives you good clarity without too hefty of a price. The cart also includes an attached brush which helps stabilize the needle as well as catch any small debris on the record.
[Alan Miller]

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Carbon Fiber Brush

A carbon fiber brush removes large debris from the record, as well as helping to dissipate some of the inherent static found on all vinyl. It’s a necessary tool and every vinyl enthusiast should have one.
[Alan Miller]

Moo Mat


Okay, so you spent a fortune and got yourself an audiophile turntable, now what? Do you and your turntable a favor and get a Mooo Mat. Whats a Mooo Mat? It’s an audiophile level slipmat that is comprised of a cork bottom with a cowhide top. You might be thinking “that sounds a little weird” but the Mooo Mat is actually designed to enhance your listening experience. The cork bottom and the cowhide top work together to reduce both vibration and static, something every vinyl collector should seek to eliminate. The mat also looks great and comes in a variety of colors and patterns. Think of the mat as a cigar room rug, but for your turntable. You can pick up one from their site, or from Music Hall dealers across the country. As their site says “Vegans & PETA need not apply.”
[Zach Behm]

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Audioengine A2+Speakers/p4 Passive Speakers
$250 — $280

Audioengine currently have the desktop speakers on lock. These speakers are highly recommended by music fans thanks to their great sound, and their built in digital-to-analog converter). They also have active monitors so a pre-amp is not needed with these. Another benefit is that they are small, yet pack a powerful punch. They come in black and white. Audioengine also have their popular P4 Passive Bookshelf Speakers. These are very similar to the A2, they just don’t include a built-in amplifier so they are slightly cheaper. These come in black, white and bamboo. You can also add a speaker stand to your order.
[Zach Behm]

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Isonoe – Isolation System – Turntable Feet (4 Units)

If you live in a noisy home with a lot of stomping, or a house that shifts depending on the weather, an isolation feet are essential. The design helps reduce vibration and the feedback that is found in your home. These will attach to most audiophile and DJ level turntables. They come in black and silver, and Turntable Lab recommends using them with the Isonoe Sorbothane Boots.
[Zach Behm]

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Cork Platter Mats

Cork platter mats are essential to getting a quality sound from your turntable. They help dampen vibrations from your room or the turntable motor, and help reduce the static electricity that your turntable emits. Just because you use one of these does not mean you still can’t put a decorative mat over it, static will still be present, but just having the cork or rubber mat is a huge improvement.  Trust me, this is a must have for any record collection.
[Zach Behm]

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Deathstar Slipmats

Does this really need any explanation? So awesome.
[Zach Behm]


Display Stand

Playing a record for friends and want to show off that cover art? Pick up one of these relatively cheap display stands and throw it next to your turntable. Or maybe you just want to impress yourself? Either way, that’s a relatively low investment for something you’ll use quite often.
[Chris Lantinen]


Spin Clean

The Spin Clean is a must have for any enthusiast who buys used vinyl. The design of the Spin Clean is very reminiscent of the old RCA Discwasher, but it has the distinct advantage of allowing you to deep clean around 10 records in the time it would take to clean just one with the Discwasher. I use it on all of my records and highly recommend it.
[Alan Miller]


Screen Shot 2014-11-16 at 12.24.42 PMVinylize

Making the big bucks and what to display your passion at all times? Look (get it?) no further than Vinylize, an eyewear company utilizing vinyl veneer for eyeglass frames. This “upcycling” product is priced at around $450 for a frame and includes a case, again made from a recycled vinyl record. If you’re lucky and have perfect eyes, just go for the sunglasses.
[Chris Lantinen]


American Football Beanie

While you’re over at Polyvinyl you can pick up an American Football knit hat! Now even if your AF T-shirt or hoodie is covered up by a winter coat, you can still rock some merch and show some love on the top of your head. Don’t have an AF T-shirt or hoodie? They got those too! Now all they need are socks and underwear and you can have an entire American Football outfit.
[Zach Behm]

 Screen Shot 2014-11-16 at 12.30.26 PMMiddle of Beyond Christmas Sweaters
$40 — $85
Middle of Beyond

Created and pioneered by tattoo artist Ezra Haident, Middle of Beyond is one of the neatest and most creative independent companies in business today. They sell quite a few interesting products – but their most popular by far are the Ugly Christmas Sweaters. All ugly Christmas sweaters have some level of weird to them, but Middle of Beyond take it to a whole new level. Featuring a Yeti Abominable Snowman design, a Zombie Santa Claus (patterned with images of snowflakes and brains) and more. They are teaming up with Mondo again after the success of their ‘237’ (The Shining) collection, this time bringing both a Fargo (TV) and Gremlins themed sweater to the Mondo online store. They are both up for pre-order and should be to you by Christmas.
[Zach Behm]


The Plural of Vinyl Is Vinyl

Although we don’t quite bang this drum as hard anymore (let’s just accept all record collectors) I can’t pass up the best “The Plural of Vinyl is Vinyl” shirt out there. The High Fidelity/No Sleep crossover has main character Rob Gordon endorsing the correct grammatical use of our namesake format and just about all sizes are still in stock. Represent both a good label and a message that if overstated now, should still be important. We should at least know our own language people!
[Chris Lantinen]


Buying Records

Another great vinyl-themed shirt comes from Evan Weiss and Into It. Over It.’s merch store. A nice utilization of Peanuts can be found on the high quality shirt (one I do own) and this is definitely a popular one amongst collectors. This one sells out often, so grab it now.
[Chris Lantinen]

v600_endlessbullshitLife Is An Endless Series….

A sweatshirt only available in X-Large seems like a strange choice for a Gift Guide, but maybe there’s one X-Large fan out there who will buy this, wear it to his first day of spring semester classes and can tag us in the photo on Twitter. I’ll love you forever.
Update: This is getting restocked in all sizes soon so keep checking back!
[Chris Lantinen]



The Postal Service — Everything Will Change

Not everyone was able to attend the occasional band’s 10-year reunion tour (tear…) but Sub Pop’s offering us some redemption with a live DVD of the band’s Greek Theater stop in 2013. The Ben Gibbard, Jimmy Tamborello and Jenny Lewis trifecta would blow through most of Give Up during this tour, along with a couple new tracks from Give Up‘s 3xLP reissue. The Blu-Ray/DVD package is only $14, so quite affordable as well.
[Chris Lantinen]

 Inside Llewyn Davis

A movie that remains in my thoughts following its late 2013 premiere, you’re looking at one of the best music films in recent memory. Its unflinching look at the battle between credibility and commercialization should apply to artists of all breeds, but especially those playing passionately to half empty bars and living paycheck to paycheck. It’s an added bonus that the film’s music is just so good, with the film’s performances (they recorded it live) differing from what was released on the soundtrack. “Hang Me, Oh Hang Me” and the above performance of “Fare Thee Well” are true standouts, with lead performer Oscar Isaac (who’s about to become a big Star Wars star) giving us one of the memorable “actor singing” showcases.
[Chris Lantinen]

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Adjust Your Tracking: The Untold Story Of The VHS Collector
$20 — $30

I’ve always noticed little similarities between the vinyl and VHS collecting communities, from just how passionate the fanbases are and how the fans and collectors interact with one another. I’ll admit there’s a quality discrepancy, after all, no one can argue that VHS is actually better picture quality while we argue for vinyl’s sound all the time. But look at the collector community in this indie documentary, which comes from a couple dudes who share a college with me. You can pick it up on DVD or on a VHS/DVD combo pack. Bust out the old VHS player and dive into the cool documentary.
[Chris Lantinen]

71nxw2L8NHL._SL1500_Beyerdynamic DT 770 Headphones

Listening to records through a good set of headphones can be a mind blowing experience (try Pet Sounds, or early Pink Floyd) and the DT 770 provide the means for that trip. While definitely not the cheapest headphones on the market, the sound quality and comfort are excellent. I use these daily, sometimes for hours and they have yet to fail or become uncomfortable.
[Alan Miller]


Better Homes and Gardens 8 Cube Organizer

For those of us that don’t live near an Ikea, there’s a great alternative to the classic Expedit/Kallax for vinyl storage. The Better Homes and Gardens 8 Cube Organizer is available from Walmart and has almost the exact same measurements as the Ikea Kallax. It’s also built the same, with the exact same dowel and cam method, so there’s no worries of it being any less sturdy than the Kallax. At around $70, I highly recommend giving it a try.
[Alan Miller]

Sasquatch_Ornament_2_1024x1024Middle of Beyond Ornaments

While you’re over at Middle of Beyond checking out their ugly Christmas sweaters take some time look at their new, super weird glass ornament collection. Decorate your tree with Cthulhu, Krampus the Christmas Devil, Sasquatch and more! They also have some really cool rugs that would look amazing in someone’s record room. I mean how cool would it be to have a rug in your room that featured the iconic rug pattern in The Shining. It would certainly tie the room together — just don’t get snowed in.
[Zach Behm]


Third Man Records Stocking Stuffers
Prices Vary

Apart from their new audiophile turntable, Third Man Records has listed a bunch of new products under ‘stocking stuffers’ at their online store. They got everything from 45 boxes, to a custom Zippo lighter, to a sick guitar strap. So if you have a friend or loved one who is into Jack or Third Man be sure to check this stuff out. All this small stuff is really affordable too.
[Zach Behm]


Antonio Sanchez — Birdman OST

One of the biggest standouts this year in cinema is Birdman. By now you’ve probably heard how amazing the movie is, along with one of the best aspects of the entire film, its score. For Birdman, the great drummer Antonio Sanchez was hired to compose. Sanchez’s drums mirror the mental state of Michael Keaton’s character, it’s incredibly effective and truly is the backbone of the entire film. A vinyl release has not yet been detailed, but you can pick up the CD from Amazon.
[Zach Behm]


Black Keys Print by Methane Studios

Georgia’s Methane Studios continues to put out amazing prints, especially this one for the Black Keys show in Alberta last month. The poster uses images and colors similar to the band’s latest album, Turn Blue, to create a retro-inspired radio so perfect you can almost hear the stations. The three-color print, which is an edition of 225, was created by Mark McDevitt and is available now on their site.
[Paul Vinas]


Queens of the Stone Age Print by Miles Tsang

This poster is actually one piece of a three-part set to commemorate a string of Canadian dates for Queens of the Stone Age. Artist Miles Tsang fills every inch with detailed lizards in this poster inspired by Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas. This five-color print, including glow in the dark ink, is printed on French paper, is signed and numbered by the artist, and limited to 205.
[Paul Vinas]


Andrew Bird Print by Neal Williams

There’s something about this poster that appeals to me as a fan of Andrew Bird. The abandoned plane, billowing clouds and overgrown weeds give it a rustic charm that captures the feel of his latest tour. Even the colors have a calming effect that makes this poster perfect for any room/setting. The poster, created by Neal Williams, is a five-color print limited to 100 made exclusively for Andrew’s show at the Paramount Theatre in Austin, Texas.
[Paul Vinas]


311 Print by Munk One

One look at Munk One’s poster for 311’s show in Dallas probably leads to more questions than answers. The cowboy is self-explanatory, but why the ray gun and moon terrain? Much like the Queens of the Stone Age poster featured, this is a two-part set with the other date taking place in Houston. The crossover works well with Houston’s print starring an astronaut with a six-shooter and the obligatory tumbling, tumbleweed. Unbelievably, this five-color print limited to 70 is still available on Munk One’s site.
[Paul Vinas]

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Nine Inch Nails/Soundgarden Print by Ames Bros.

Nine Inch Nails and Soundgarden’s co-headlining tour this summer was a dream to those that grew up during the alternative music explosion. What better way to remember your younger days than with this arcade-inspired print by Ames Bros? The poster uses the classic “Centipede” font and was sold over six dates across Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia and Florida. The four-color print is limited to 115, and available now.
[Paul Vinas]


Tokyo Police Club Print by Delicious Design League

Delicious Design League is a local favorite of mine; hailing from Chicago, and using bright colors and bold designs to celebrate shows at some of my favorite venues.  This print in particular was inspired by Tokyo Police Club’s song, “Miserable,” which starts with the lyrics – “I want to travel to the future.” This three-color print is printed on beautiful French Blu Raspberry paper and is limited to 80 pieces.
[Paul Vinas]

Hope you enjoyed the first annual gift guide! Hope next year is bigger and better.

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Christopher Lantinen
Chris Lantinen is the owner and editor-in-chief of Modern Vinyl. Along with his modest collection of sad sounding records, he collects his share of soundtracks and previously adored indie up-and-comers. Chris is currently a professor of journalism and public relations at Edinboro University in the Erie, Pennsylvania area.

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