Toronto music lovers holiday gift guide 2013
Toronto music lovers already have that Arcade Fire thing, or else they do. Not. Want. It. Trust me. So, you're going to have to think outside of the box this year. Maybe you could grab that Arts & Crafts comp, that smooth Jessy Lanza chill-out LP, or that Diana record people kinda like. But those are kind of basic, hey? A little predictable? "Oh, an Arts & Crafts release and some socks, thanks mom." What are the holidays for if not impressing people with your exquisite taste? Oh yeah, love. Here are some more gift ideas for Toronto music lovers (and yes, Drake is basic, but this is drakeTO and anyway, he's great).
Petra Glynt - Of This Land
If you've caught the bug for experimental pop and haven't heard Petra Glynt yet, consider this my present to you. Local artist/illustrator/activist Alex MacKenzie has poured her soul into her cassette EP Of This Land. Her vocals on single "Sour Paradise" will give you chills, and the elaborate packaging pictured above is some of the best artwork Toronto's music scene produced this year. If you like this, check out the Pachamama tape, too.
Heart of Toronto compilation
This banging compilation from Healing Power Records will impress both veterans of and newcomers to Toronto's dance music scene. Look out for Fan Fiction, Prince Nifty, Tenderness, Guy Dallas, Jennifer Castle, Princess Century, Mas Aya - and well, just a lot of awesome local musicians making dance music that steps outside of the norm. The CDs are sparkly, too.
US Girls - Free Advice Column
US Girls has come through with another great album. Free Advice Column features "story songs for the new millennium." It's beat heavy and hypnotic, with the usual twisted soul, plus production by Onakabazien. By the limited edition vinyl from Bad Actors, or get it on Bandcamp.
You want something louder? You want a bang for your buck? You want this Ketamines Pack from Mammoth Cave Records. The pack includes their 7" All the Colours of Your Heart b/w Turning You On on Pleasence Records, Hosehead Records 7" (So Hot b/w New Skull Tattoo + Summer Mothers), plus the new Ketamines LP You Can't Serve Two Masters. You can't serve... missing this deal.
Black Walls - Mary of the Shrines
Just in time for a very gothic little Christmas, you can buy the sweet sounds of Black Walls from Pleasence. The cassette is a steal at $6, and if you're a reformed post rock fan looking for something a bit little metal and a little bit droning, sad, and gentle, Black Walls is your new best friend. Listen on Bandcamp here.
ϟ†Nϟ Sign of Silence T-Shirt
Toronto producer SINs dropped an amazing album this year on Pretty Pretty Records, but he's also been creeping around in the dark designing shirts which combine the whole pin up aesthetic (meh?) with two-headed-albino snakes (awesome!) plus the covered face of a guy who probably lives under my bed. They're a steal at $15, and a good candidate for your new fave XL "don't talk to me" tee.
Hand Drawn Dracula totes
I can't link to this directly, so it's also an excuse to send you to the whole Hand Drawn Dracula store. Don't spend all your money in one place - unless you want to. Anyway, these simple totes are way cute, and if you wear 3D glasses while on acid they probably look even cuter. I love that little vampire guy. He looks so polite.
Keep Drake warm this Chri$tma$
Drake has a web-store worthy of, well, Drake's ego, and while those Drake-does-Blue-Jays caps are sold out, there's plenty of pricey swag to be had, from $150 hoodies to these typesetter's nightmare tees. And the quality, you ask? Hey, if it's good enough for Drizzy...
Writers' note - do bands not make good shirts anymore? Do y'all bands not know how easy putting merch on Bandcamp is? I'm coming up empty. Link yours in the comments.
If you're not sure what your sonic sweetie wants playing from under the tree beyond "something other than Nothing Was the Same all the damn time, please," Rotate This, She Said Boom, Sonic Boom, and Soundscapes all sell gift certs for any amount - as do many of Toronto's fine record stores. While imposing you own music tastes on loved ones might be tempting (see this post), local record shops will tell you these are a good way to avoid looking like a jerk.
Okay, it's a little early. But the first batch of bands has been announced, and some people on your list really love music festivals, so I'm just here to let you know NXNE wristbands are on-sale - and for cheap. From December 10-24, there's a special two-for-one wristband deal. That's right, $75 gets you and a friend info the city's biggest music fest. Planning ahead is for winners.
A neo-classical year
Pretty little church venue (and friend to experimental sound) The Music Gallery offers memberships for only $35 per year. This gets you up to half off to shows, a schedule mailed to your door (until Canada Post finally calls it quits) and no service charges when buying tickets. There are deals for students and groups, too. You can take a look at their 2013 programming here to see if it's for you.
More Toronto-centric gift guides and ideas
Your favourite shit's missing? Link it in the comments and people might spend money on it!
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