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music gifts toronto

10 holiday gift ideas for the music lover in Toronto

The gift of music can be harsh territory - the more music obsessed your recipient is, the more unlikely they are to be satisfied with your well intentioned pick. And while the thought still counts, the beat is off. Case in point: 14 year old me unwrapping Britney Spears thanks to HMV directing my auntie to it hot sellers for teenage girls. (No grduge, they let me trade it in for a Cardigans single).

While a ton of great albums came out this year from Taylor Swift to Farewell My Concubine, either you know exactly you know what your tuned in pal/relative wants, or you're in a little over your head right now. While I can't solve all this year's holiday problems, let this gift guide give you a nudge toward satisfaction. If all else fails, keep the receipts. That CD single got a lot of play.

Here are my picks for making music lovers happy on the holidays (and whenever).

Bow to their taste with gift certificates for indie shops
Almost all Toronto's indie music shops including Rotate This, She Said Boom, Sonic Boom, Soundscapes, and brand new Tonality sell gift certs. Supporting your favourite local record shop and give them an album they'll treasure forever, no returns necessary. (If gift certs are too informal, package it with a homemade digital mixtape on a cute USB stick.)

Make memories with live access
Tickets to upcoming concerts are a choice gift for the fan who can't quite scrape the cash together to see Swans, and it gives them something to look forward to. Music Gallery memberships are great for fans of boundary pushing music; on the other hand Field Trip early bird passes went on sale today.

Show you're in the know with Toronto's indie labels
Crafty break out label Healing Power will package Eucalyptus, Guy Dallas, Bile Sister, and Skull Bong vinyl, CDs, and tapes for $25. Email them for the deal. Or check out Pleasence, Telephone Explosion, Inyrdisk, Paperbag, Hand Drawn Dracula, Buzz, Mammoth Cave, Deep North, DETH, Optical Sounds, Dine Alone, Arts & Crafts, You've Changed (hint: Constantines reissue) and more.

Dress them with music
Aside from the above epic DFA 1979 holiday sweater, Nirvana cover band Hervana have some cheeky 90s tie-dye gear which will be available at their show this weekend, Wavelength's Mike Pereira designed tote bands are at Sonic Boom, and DETH just launched its spooky D.U.M.E. clothing line.

Craft their skills
Naturally our music hub of a city has tons of options for learning how to follow and break the rules. See our guide to general music lessons, guitar, voice, and piano, and check out specialized schools like Ukulele High School and Off Centre DJ School. Coach House Sound also offer studio time as an Indiegogo perk.

Feed their souls and their stomachs
While Dine Alone once cornered the venn diagram for music/food fans (find them in a ton of Toronto shops), the Zunior Eats - 10th Anniversary Charity Cookbook has edged in with recipes and writing by By Divine Right, Sloan, the Weather Station, Ron Sexsmith, the Tragically Hip, and more. Proceeds from the waste-free PDF go to Daily Bread Foodbank.

Keep them warm with winter reading
Get lit with our list of books on Toronto's music scene, hit Sonic Boom for 33 1/2 books, or grab Neil Young's memoir Special Deluxe: A Memoir of Life and Cars. Then TYPE Books has some interesting titles.

Embrace the freak scene with Wyrd Distro
Remember that huge grant Weird Canada got to run a Canada-wide distro for independently produced music? It's up and running, and you can search by genre or by location. If you can't settle on a disc or tape, this eye bleed mug is sure to startle your intended each morning.

Give the gift of Drake
Show the Drake fan in your life you take care with official gear from the now-open OVO pop up/store on Dundas West, or wow them with a strange and wonderful bootleg item from our Drake merch round up. (Onesies are available, but the Uggs are just a legend.)

Encourage an active lifestyle
Hamilton punk band Simply Saucer's Reckless Agitation 7" record is also a frisbee. Keep fit and have fun. You wouldn't think a curmudgeon like Mammoth Cave Records' Paul Lawton would make something that suggests fun in the outdoors, but this city music scene is full of surprises.

What amazing items did I miss? Leave your ideas in the comments.

lcboThanks to the LCBO for sponsoring our 2014 Gift Guide.

Photo: themadadubon on Instagam

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