I can feel your anxiety from here.

Christmas is just over two weeks away and you’ve still got shopping to do.  You opted for the “lots of little presents” route, instead of the “one big enchilada” route, and now you find yourself a few gifts short of a stocking.  Worse, you’ve got one or more rockers on your list, and they’re such ungrateful snobs that you’re afraid to get them anything having to do with music for fear of the inevitable snarky comment ending with the word “lame.”

What’s an elf to do?

Relax- I’ve got you covered.

Here is a handy gift guide with ideas for that hard-to-please guitar hero in your life.  This assortment of albums, books, DVDs and other trinkets will have at least one gift idea that you can use.  Except for hip hop fans.  I wouldn’t know what to get one of them other than maybe a yacht, a case of Cristal, and some bangin’ booty, and you should be all aces.

Without further ado, here are some last minute shopping ideas for the music fans on your gift list:

 

ALBUMS

Dreamhouse, by Steve Poltz

This is my 2010 Record of the Year– a supremely enjoyable disc that is distinct yet listenable, and catchy yet original.  Mind you, this is neither heavy nor metal.  Quite the opposite, It is the ultimate Sunday morning audio companion, although it also works particularly well for long drives, afternoon runs, and uncomfortable conversations with your children about what you found in the back of their dresser drawer.  Purists and listeners from many genres will drool over the quality of both the songwriting and the production.  Poltz’ unique tunings and extraordinary finger picking technique create a sonic atmosphere full of rich textures and light melodies that wash over his smart, vibrant lyrics.  It is a gorgeous listening experience that intensifies with each play.

One of the most unique aspects of the album is the warmth it exudes- this is due to the old school production by Canada’s Joel Plaskett (himself a talented [and tragically underrated] singer-songwriter).  Produced on two inch, sixteen track reel-to-reel tape rather than digitally, Dreamhouse captures that FM sound from the Seventies, creating an intimate theme throughout.  The attention to detail within each song is impressive, with each flourish, lick, and note having a rich purpose that serves its song perfectly.

“I Love What You’ve Done With This Place” is my personal favorite.  “Digging for Icicles,” a song about a couple meeting in a car crash, is another stand out, and “License Plate Eyes” has the power to improve any mood.  This won’t appease death metal or gangsta rap stalwarts, but most other musos will dig this in a big way.

American Slang, by The Gaslight Anthem

This is my Rock Record of 2010.  What a listen.  It combines the teeth-gritting, blue collar swagger of Bruce Springsteen with the added blitz of jagged guitars and machine gun drums that make the songs both dirty and danceable.  Now, I am possibly the worst dancer in the history of human movement, so if I say a record is danceable, it is a momentous statement.  And no, you will never see me dance.

“Bring It On,” “American Slang,” “Stay Lucky,” and “Boxer” are my favorites.  Good luck finding a rock fan who can’t find something on American Slang to love.

Dethalbum II, by Dethklok

In the interest of full disclosure, strictly speaking, the band Dethklok does not exist in the real world.  Dethklok is a virtual band that exists only in cartoon form on the Adult Swim mega-successful “Metalocalypse.”  Yet the songs from this fictitious international thrash band are as legit as any music released in the past ten years.  The follow-up to their debut (Dethalbum) has earned impressive reviews from some of rock music’s most discerning critics, routinely receiving four and five star reviews for show creator Brendon Small’s ferocious musicianship.  Admittedly, the lyrical content of Dethalbum II veers towards the capricious, but the thunderous grooves of these songs drive like supernovas hurtling through the cosmos.  While drunk.  Drunken supernovas hurling through the cosmos, while being chased by cops.  Really fast cops, obviously, because supernovas can really hustle.

The record reached 15 on the Billboard Top 200, demonstrating that there’s an audience for good music, no matter what the source.  Dethalbum II is fun as hell and just as catchy.  It is best suited for thrash fans, but anyone who likes their rock heavy will appreciate this album.  “The Cyborg Slayers” is my favorite song- pure brutality.

Other suggestions:

Lisbon, by The Walkmen– jumpy, spacey melodies for fans of The Libertines and Band of Horses

Halcyon Digest, by Deerhunter– plush, ghostly sound textures for fans of Dead Confederate and Radiohead

Right Hook of Love, by Wirepony– slamming garage rock with more hooks than a coat room

 

BOOKS

When Giants Walked the Earth, by Mick Wall

When Giants Walked the Earth is the most well-researched, evenhanded, and insightful account of the Led Zeppelin story that has ever been written.  While many had assumed that the book to end all Zeppelin books was written by Stephen Davis over twenty years ago, Giants shows that there’s much more to be discussed.  This is not simply a re-telling of a familiar story- stunning new revelations, inventive flashback sequences, and Wall’s insight borne out of thirty years in the music industry make this a fresh take on arguably the most fascinating band on the planet.  Amid a library wing of books about Led Zeppelin, Giants has emerged as the definitive chronicle of “the last great band of the Sixties; the first great band of the Seventies.”

The stories of Led Zeppelin’s rise to the the throne of rock and roll Valhalla are juicier than raw meat, jaw-droppingly depraved, and often culminating with tragedy and violence.  Wall’s prose is fast-moving, readable, and full of his unique observation and insight that elevate this book to the highest level of rock literature.  This will make an ideal stocking stuffer for music fans and in particular, the rockers in the house.

 

Life, by Keith Richards

The eagerly-anticipated biography of Rolling Stones founder, guitarist, and substance-abusing cornerstone exceeded all of my expectations, which were relatively high in view of the critical acclaim this book has received.  I most enjoyed the way Richards tells stories, both fascinating and mundane, with a perspective that is candid and down-to-earth.  There are no airs of self-importance here- just some great stories that make you feel like Keith himself is talking to you over some double screwdrivers in the back booth of a club long after the gig has ended and the equipment loaded.

In particular I enjoyed Keith’s discussions of his own influences and the iconic music he subsequently created.  Far from a jaded elder statesman of rock, he is a rabid music fan in every sense of the word, and his knowledge of blues is both passionate and encyclopedic.  There is much to tell in a 49 year career, and Richards comfortably spins his yarn with depth, honesty, and loads of mind-blowing stories.

This book is for anyone who likes to read.

 

Hit Hard: A Story of Hitting Rock Bottom at the Top, by Joey Kramer

Joey Kramer has been Aerosmith’s drummer since the band’s inception, but this book is not the story of Aerosmith.  As Kramer himself notes, others have already documented the band so well that he could add little to the account.  Instead, this book focuses on Kramer’s personal experiences both inside and outside of the band, highlighting the physical and emotional abuse of his youth that later manifested as addiction and depression in his adult years, even while riding a worldwide resurgence in popularity for his band.  As the millions poured in, his unhappiness and dysfunction increased exponentially.  The story is light on self-pity and heavy on self-reflection, which makes it a keeper.

Kramer’s journey from a small kid getting beat up by his father to a multimillionaire rock icon is an engaging tale that I was surprised to enjoy as much as I did.  His observations and experiences with Aerosmith are entertaining and at some points, thoroughly uncomfortable (like the conversation with guitarist Joe Perry, early in the band’s history, when Perry dismisses him with a rhetorical, “Why do we have to be friends?”).  Ultimately it is Kramer’s evolution towards self-awareness that makes Hit Hard so satisfying.

A relatively fast read, this is especially suitable for the music fan who has a trip coming up that involves some air travel.

 

Other suggestions:

Bob Dylan in America, by Sean Wilentz– highlights the “Blonde on Blonde” sessions with vivid new insight.

Threepenny Memoir, by Carl Barat– the ex-Libertines member pens a surprisingly addictive (pun intended) memoir about his youth, the Libertines, Dirty Pretty Things, and quite a few horrific stories about Pete Doherty.  Good luck putting this down once you start.

 

DVDS

Ladies and Gentlemen The Rolling Stones

Yes, there is a decided slant towards classic rock in this list, but the fact is that nearly fifty years into the genre, rock and roll’s most legendary bands have again captured the attention of popular culture.  This documentary showcases the Rolling Stones’ four Texas shows on their 1972 tour of the US, supporting “Exile on Main Street.”  Wanton drug use and other examples of rock and roll excess are generally absent here (life behind the band’s velvet rope has already been well-documented in Cocksucker Blues), but the live footage features the band at one of their loosest, most fertile periods.

This is for Stones fans and music collectors who have been waiting 30 plus years for this movie to come out on DVD.  The last time anyone could get their hands on this was in Australia in the 1980s.  Extras are OK, but for Stones freaks only.

 

Metallica/Slayer/Megadeth/Anthrax: The Big 4 – Live from Sofia, Bulgaria

You knew we were going to get to some more metal, didn’t you?  This live concert DVD (available in blu-ray) captures the four titans of thrash metal playing together for one night on June 22 in Sofia, Bulgaria.  The behind the scenes footage and rehearsal clips alone are worth the price, but the live shows are explosive.  I checked out the Deluxe Boxed Set, which contains five hours of music, in addition to the kind of kitschy schwag that one tends to expect with these things (A guitar pick!  A color booklet!).  But the sound quality is supreme, there are an astounding number of interviews, and the set lists will have thrash fans throwing up horns so much that they’ll need to get checked for tennis elbow.  Which they’ll probably call “Devil’s Elbow,” or something cool like that.

For rockers and thrash fans- especially Megadeth and Metallica fans, as those bands get the best overall treatment in the DVDs.

Who is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin’ About Him)?

The astonishingly talented and ultimately tragic Harry Nilsson receives a reverential and thoroughly entertaining documentary from director John Scheinfeld.  Once known (by The Beatles) as “The Beatles favorite American musician,” Nilsson penned hopelessly catchy songs such as “Coconut” (“put de lime in de coconut…”), “One,” and “Everybody’s Talkin’.”  He was John Lennon’s friend, confidant, and toxic twin, but it is his friendship with Ringo that I found most touching, and quite sad.  Nilsson died of a heart attack in 1994, adding to his cult status.  There are loads of interviews from his friends, ranging from songwriting giants Jimmy Webb and Randy Newman to people like Robin Williams and members of Monty Python.

This is for everyone.  It is awesome.

Other suggestions:

Michael Jackson: This is It– MJ fans cannot get enough of this DVD, capturing the tour rehearsals leading up to his unexpected demise in 2009

Rock Prophecies– venerable rock photographer Robert Knight visits rock legends, “discovers” a 16 year old guitar phenomenon, and reveals an unexpectedly pained personal tale of living with a parent suffering from Alzheimer’s.

***

Happy and safe holidays to all my friends, colleagues, authors, readers, family, and friends!

From Ronnie and me to all of you…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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JOE DALY writes for a number of publications, including the UK's Metal Hammer and Classic Rock magazines, Outburn, Bass Guitar Magazine and several other print and online outlets. He is the music and cultural observer for Chuck Palahniuk's LitReactor site and his works have been published in several languages. When he is not drafting wild-eyed manifestos, Joe enjoys life in San Diego's groovy North County, teaching music journalism, doing yoga, running, playing guitar and spending tireless hours in deep and meaningful conversations with his beloved dogs, Cabo and Lola. You can check out his rants at http://joedaly.net and follow him on Twitter: @JoeD_SanDiego

120 responses to “2010 Year End Gift Guide for the Music Fan”

  1. pixy says:

    brah. i fully support all your suggestions here. and the one i’d give for the hip-hop peeps out there is kanye’s “runaway”. for serious. i don’t listen to that stuff regularly and it is SO growing on me… like the ivy of death on all the trees out here. as perezhilton would say: AMAZEBALLS.
    and i also appreciate the shout out to my canadian boyfriend. not that one, but the joel plaskett one. he’s beyond fantastic.

    i can’t think of better words to use because tonight’s the last night of the writng class and it has eaten up all my words like a greedy tapeworm.

    • Joe Daly says:

      Pixy-

      Glad you dig the suggestions. I’ll keep the Kanye recommendation in my back pocket, Justin Case (I really had a friend with that name when I was a kid).

      Why doesn’t Joel Plaskett get more props? Is it because music like his doesn’t sell cars or cell phones? I saw him get three or four stars in one of the UK mags, which is pretty good, as those bastards over there are miserly with their stars.

      • pixy says:

        i’m convinced it’s because he’s canadian. i think the only want to be known for one boy at a time and it’s justin bieber’s time now.
        the dude’s won canadian grammies! he was good enough to open for paul mccartney when he played toronto (not that that has too much cred with me, but i know that it does to some)! and he’s incredible! he totally has it in him to sell cars and cell phones – i betcha he does in canada-eh!
        and i say all this lovingly because the EXACT same questions could be asked of polio. do i love him this much because he’s steve (# of years omitted for subjects vanitys sake) years ago? maybe. and that’s ok.

        *sigh* people are idiots.

        ps – the kanye thing was so good it made me re-write my final essay. i had to completely change my argument and opinion. he’s such an ahole.
        pps – sorry about all the exclamation points. you know better than to get me talkin’ on canadians. 🙂

        • Joe Daly says:

          I had heard about his grammies (do they call them “grandes-meres” in Canada?), but hadn’t heard about the McCartney gig. That’s not a big deal? That’s good to know. I formally withdraw my application to open for Paul McCartney the next time he plays Wembley.

          How could you write about Kanye without stabbing yourself with a spoon? What do you think about the lengths of the songs on that album. I heard a review last week that said most were upwards of 6+ minutes long, with lots of filler. True?

        • pixy says:

          i didn’t say it wasn’t a big deal, that’s why i added the parenthtical aside! i’m just MEH about mccartney to be honest. i would love to hear the furhman tapes played in full live at wembley. that would be AWES.

          and i didn’t necessarily write ABOUT kanye, but more about “runaway”. i’ve never (and probably never will) listened to any of his stuff previously and it’s all modl’s fault that i saw it in the first place. but it’s DEFINITELY something you need to watch in order to appreciate the full effect of the album. so go onto youtube and watch the high-def version of it.
          my paper was originally about how the quality of the music listener’s experience is dwindling at an astronomical rate these days since mp3s and stuff came along. how people don’t chill out with a whole album anymore and flip through the gate-fold sleeve and pore over liner notes and stuff because it’s just not there anymore, blahblahblah. and then i saw “runaway” and said “oh shit. i have to re-write my paper because if THAT’S where listener experience is going, then i’m all on board.”

          i hate his assface for that.

        • Joe Daly says:

          The Fuhrman Tapes have played the Royal Albert Hall, but not Wembley.

          Yet.

          I need to read your paper. I much prefer getting a whole album than three or four one offs from a couple different ones. I think of all the times I’ve listened to an album for one or two songs, and after a few listens, my favorite ones are tunes I routinely skipped when I first got it.

          I don’t think the album is dead yet, but it sure is harder to find ones worth listening to from beginning to end.

        • pixy says:

          oh joe, you don’t need to read my paper. it’s not good. i already know it’s not. i only completed it because i know i’m at the point in the class where i simply need to turn something in and everything will be ok. and that’s all i’m doing with this paper – just showing up. quality was chucked even before i re-wrote. i wouldn’t force that stuff on my worst enemy. surprisingly though, i’m fairly confident as to my grade on the paper simply because i know the quality of the other papers the instructor will read. but i love that you are curious. i’m much more comfortable sharing my 1st paper (a narrative) than i am with sharing this one.

          i’m going to do something much better for megz. she requested that i contribute to her geek out zine at the beginning of the quarter and i told her i would if she could wait until the quarter was over. i’m going to geek out about “runaway”. and then you can read about it in her webzine. 🙂

          and i will totaly buy a ticket to the UK to see the furhman tapes at wembley.

        • Joe Daly says:

          i’m going to geek out about “runaway”. and then you can read about it in her webzine

          Now that will be worth the wait. Everybody’s talking about zines this week. That rocks!

          Furhman Tapes at Wembley will be epic. They’re trying to get Oasis to reunite to open.

  2. Nathaniel Missildine says:

    This gives me a lot to check out, though you went and relegated The Walkmen to the ‘other suggestions’ pile. Maybe their song Victory could be the purchase for anyone just giving the gift of one iTune this year. Those guys have a sound like no other.

    I will look for Steve Poltz, as the suggestion you gave me in a comment a while back of Woodpigeon had me listening to them for months.

    • Joe Daly says:

      Nat, I’m stoked you’re hip to The Walkmen- they have quite a few good tunes floating around there. As far as the new one goes, I’m more partial to Angela Surf City. Now I’m going to have to give Victory a fresh listen or two.

      Glad you liked Woodpigeon, so I’ll be looking forward to hearing what you think of Poltz. Like Woodpigeon, he’s originally Canadian, and I think you’ll find that his sound is unique without being too far out of bounds.

      I’ll keep my fingers crossed that Pere Noel puts some of these treats in your stocking this year.

  3. Ooh, I like The Gaslight Anthem. Gave it a listen after reading this. They remind of Jesse Malin, whom I love. Thanks for the introduction. And great shopping list here!

    • Joe Daly says:

      Glad you like them, Cynthia! That album hasn’t left my car’s cd player since I first burned it almost two months ago. There are some great acoustic versions of the songs on YouTube as well.

      Great call with the Jesse Malin parallel.

      Thanks for the comment!

  4. Gloria says:

    Shit, Joe Daly! You, Erika Rae, Zara, G. Xavier, et al – too much stuff to read during the busiest week in recent history. I’ll get to this, but when I do, the discussion euphoria will be turned down to a slow simmer and there will be that gelatinous film across the top. Hopefully I’ll still be able to give it a stir and spoon out something delicious. (Believe me, I’m even more tired than my metaphors.)

    • Joe Daly says:

      I like that film across the top. It’s like an extra treat. The ol’ skin on the bean dip!

      Your metaphors are fantastic.

      Know what else is fantastic? Your timing. I was at a show last night here in San Diego, and noticed that Concrete Blonde is playing down the street from me on Tuesday. How effing rad is that?

      • Gloria says:

        I think I just wet myself a little. That’s SUPER RAD.

        And I am about to mail you your CD and everything. Awesome. 🙂

        • Joe Daly says:

          I’ve never seen them before, so it will be a zesty new experience for me. Don’t think it will be a sell out, which is bad for them, but good for yours truly. Will let you know how it goes.
          Thx for the disc! Now that I’ve got this piece up, I can compile a suitably savage mix for you. 🙂

        • Matt says:

          Dude, you’ve never seen Concrete Blonde? Holy fuck!

          They are fantastic!

        • Joe Daly says:

          Stoked. What a string of shows in San Diego. Usually Christmas is pretty dead, but last night I saw the Dandy’s, next week will be Concrete Blonde, and Cracker’s coming right around the corner. Briefly flirted with seeing Bedouin Soundclash tonight, but think I’ll take a pass, although I dig their first album.

  5. Matt says:

    Love that Poltz is top of this list. Dreamhouse might be my personal favorite of his records.

    And Wirepony – fuck, yeah. My one complaint about the record is it just seems to go by so fast. Want more, damn it, more! Can’t wait for them to get back from the U.K., as I could really stand a Wirepony show right now.

    I’m neither a hip-hop or R&B fan, but I have to say, Cee Lo Green’s The Lady Killer is pretty near the top of my list of favorite albums of the year. Completely exceeded my expectations, which were high to begin with given the great word-of-mouth on it from some people I trust.

    • Joe Daly says:

      >>Dreamhouse might be my personal favorite of his records. <<

      Agree. It’s like everything has come together for that album- the best of his playing, singing, and production all collide onto a supremely enjoyable platter.

      I forgot you’re a Wirepony fan! They’re pretty killer live, eh? You’re right about that record being too short- it’s a teaser. Hopefully they’ll get more out soon.

      Ok, I will check out The Lady Killer this week, as I’m hearing nothing but great things about it. I’m certainly open to good music, regardless of the genre, so I’ll give it a listen and let you know. Thx for the tipsterdoodle.

      • Matt says:

        Yeah, Dreamhouse is like the best of Poltz without actually being The Best of Poltz. It’s got the sensitive, One Left Shoe side, it’s got the ruminating playfulness of Chinese Vacation, a bit of the anything-goes anarchic spirit of the Rugburns…good, solid record all around.

        Wirepony are fantastic live, and Patrick is a very, very cool dude. When I bought a hard-copy of the album (having gone with a digital copy first) he gave me a second at no charge. I mailed it to Simone down in South Africa, who digs it as well. Or so she claims, and I’ve no reason to doubt her word.

        • Joe Daly says:

          Matt, I think that’s the best summation of Dreamhouse that I’ve read. You’re so right that it combines the best qualities of his other albums. One of my friends once called One Left Shoe the ultimate hangover album, so it makes sense that Dreamhouse would be for those mornings when the head’s not too foggy.

          Wirepony made it to S. Africa. How cool. Seems like only yesterday they were blowing the roof off of the Casbah. Were you at the show when they opened for Anya Marina?

  6. Very cool, Joe. This is just what I needed to figure out what to give myself. Especially the Nilsson doc. I really want to see that. He gets overlooked because a few of his cheesier numbers are on AM radio all the time, usually as a two-fer with Harry Belafonte’s Banana Boat. But he was a really interesting, creative guy with a number of tunes that are actually pretty great, before the descent into drugs and madness, etc. If you like him, check out Delaney and Bonnie’s Accept No Substitute album. Pretty funky stuff. They also were pals with Lennon and Clapton and the whole scene, signed to Apple, popular for a bit, and now all but unheard of. I believe Bonnie was the only white Ikette to ever sing w/Ike and Tina. Either way, she’s got a great voice, super-raw.

    • Joe Daly says:

      Thanks, Sean- you’ll love the Nilsson doc. You’re right about the curse of his more gimmicky songs- he could write the shit out of a song, and it’s pretty clear that his contemporaries all knew it. He was sort of a train wreck though, which seemed to make him more popular as a party boy than a collaborator for many.

      Never heard of Delaney and Bonnie. See, this is the benefit of putting this stuff up here. I’m off to check that out. Are you serious about Bonnie being the only white woman to sing with Ike? Great trivia.

      Looking forward to hearing what you think about both the Nilsson doc and the Slayer/Megadeth/Metallica/Anthrax doc. Keep me posted.

  7. Richard Cox says:

    Screw my friends and loved ones. This is a list for me. All me. You didn’t steer me wrong with Dead Confederate, after all.

    Hellooo, iTunes!

  8. Irene Zion says:

    Goddammittohell, Joe!

    You know I don’t do music,
    but I can’t not comment on you
    even though it’s the middle of the night in dubai
    and I just gave victor a massage with the lotion in the hotel
    and now we both smell like arabs.
    I know that sounds bad,
    but there’s this scent that they seem to like here
    that is really cloying to me
    and now we smell just like that.
    and the soap and the shampoo and the gel smells the same.
    when we try to get on the boat tomorrow
    they are going to triple check us
    and they won’t even know why
    they’ll just have a feeling
    and it’ll all be because we can’t get this scent off of us.

    If you think that some advocate group is going to come after me now,
    please delete this.
    Otherwise, please, please, please write something that isn’t about
    music, politics or sports.
    Love, Irene

    • Richard Cox says:

      Dubai? Are you going to ski indoors?

    • Joe Daly says:

      Irene, I think you’re OK so long as you don’t kiss in public. Also, you should probably avoid getting all liquored up and throwing half-empty wine bottles into store windows. I’d say that if you two can stay ahead of those two caveats, you’ll be fine.

      Out of curiosity, what was the scent on the bottle of oil in your hotel?

      • Irene Zion says:

        @ Joe,

        They were normal, except for the onion-dome cap, hotel bathroom products with no ingredients.
        Victor says he thinks it’s camphor, but I actually like camphor, so I don’t think that’s it. I really have no idea, but everyone in Dubai smells of this scent.

        I have a picture for you. (It’s on it’s way.)
        Victor and I don’t drink much, contrary to what my children say, so that part won’t be a problem. Plus we are very careful to clean up after ourselves, so if we broke a window, by mistake, we’d clean it up.

  9. […] madman in support of Dreamhouse which is the album of the year at Nervous Breakdown. Read about it here.. Dave Marsh and the True Love Rules continue to rock around the Maritimes playing Dave’s […]

  10. Greg Olear says:

    Nice list, Joe. The Gaslight Anthem record rocks.

    For me, the best album of the year is Janelle Monae’s The Arch-Android. She’s an R&B singer from KC, but the album incorporates just about every musical style out there. “Tightrope” is a hip hop/dance number, and other tracks sound like Bowie and even classical winter music. It blew my mind, that album. Plus the kids dig it.

    • Joe Daly says:

      Thanks, Greg. One of the benefits of doing lists is that people tend to kick in their own raves and faves, and I end up with a new list of music to explore. Between you and Sean, I’ve got some new homework that I’m looking forward to doing.

      Monae sounds fascinating and I’m stoked to check her out. It’s an interesting tightrope that an artist can walk when putting out an album that crosses a lot of genres. It can showcase the artist’s versatility, but I think it should still have a theme or something to ground the overall work. Otherwise, the different styles make it sound like a karaoke exercise, with no real identity. Sounds like Monae is the former- I’ll let you know what I think. Thx for the tip!

  11. J.M. Blaine says:

    Everybody’s getting
    Danzig
    from me
    this Christmas.

    • Joe Daly says:

      You’re such a traditionalist.
      Funny but I had a Danzig comment
      in there.
      Then I removed it.
      But if you notice the tags to
      the post
      you’ll see that I forgot to
      delete Samhain.

      I’m a size
      medium
      btw.

    • Reno j. Romero says:

      11-

      i thought we said TNB was a NO DANZIG zone? didn’t we agree on this? what, you can’t keep your agreements, 11? i’m shocked. stunned. but because i love you from here to heaven let’s do this again: no Danzig. not in this life or any other. and definitely not the pages of TNB! now, are you OK w/ this? can i trust you to keep your end of the deal? don’t make me travel out to them green hills and hunt you down. watch it, pal. contract, contract, contract.

      am i demon,
      r

  12. Zara Potts says:

    What? No Steve Winwood or Take That?

    Cupcake, I’m disappointed.
    If I was going to celebrate Christmas this year, I would take your suggestions and furnish my loved ones with them, but I’m being an official grinch this year. Do you think they will hold up until Christmas 2011??

    🙂

    • Joe Daly says:

      Pookie,

      I was going to suggest Take That, but when I saw that their reunion drew 5 million viewers last month, I figured that anyone who would want some Take That was probably all set.

      I’m pretty sure that with the financial crises permeating Europe and the US, they will postpone Christmas until there’s more liquidity in the system.

      Out of curiosity, what do bogans get for Christmas? What do they want?

      • Zara Potts says:

        Bogans want anything from AC/DC or failing that – a DVD of ‘Gladiator’

        Black eyeliner and a fringed leather jacket for girls.
        Patchwork leather waistcoat and a tee shirt with the word ‘Fuck’ on it for boys.

  13. Simon Smithson says:

    Just when I think the pimping has reached supersaturation levels… Dethklok.

    Sir.

    I salute you.

    • Joe Daly says:

      Thank you, brother.

      I only wish their Christmas special were available on blu-ray. Have you seen this? I love the technique they use for changing scenes.

      http://video.adultswim.com/metalocalypse/christmas-special-underway.html

      I’m looking forward to hearing what Santa brings a pimp of your stature for Christmas. It would have to be something commensurate with your pimping. I just can’t see how he’d get a national park down the chimney.

      • Simon Smithson says:

        I have not! And I’m currently at work, so I’ll have to watch that bad boy later.

        I do remember, fondly, their plan to record in the Marianis Trench, as it’s the most metal place on earth.

        Santa will clearly have his work cut out for him this year. He’ll be confused as to which of the giant golden chimneys of Daly City’s Pimp Palace to drop your gifts down. I guess, as befits your pimping, he’ll likely drop gifts down them all.

        • Joe Daly says:

          Another reason why your pimping is so legendary- taking on the shackles of the working man, just to get a sense of what the non-pimps must feel.

          The one rule I give Santa each year is that once he’s down the chimney, he can help himself to the milk and cookies, but hands off the guitars. Ever since “The Unpleasantness of 2003,” the rule has been in effect.

  14. D.R. Haney says:

    If anybody wants to be really nice to me, they’ll give me a copy of Lisbon. I don’t mean you, Joe. No, of course not. I’m saying this to no one in particular. Joe.

    • Joe Daly says:

      I’m saying this to no one in particular. Joe.

      If you were to email me your address, I may (or my not), have some Christmas socks to send you. Who knows?

      With stuff like that, we can only wait and see.

      Because socks are like that. Especially Portugese socks.

      I need more coffee…

    • pixy says:

      i must start employing this masterful art of subtleness.

      • D.R. Haney says:

        It took me a while, pixy. Much money was spent on lessons.

        Oh, and Portuguese sock sounds vaguely pornographic, Joe, like Spanish fly or French tickler.

        I need more coffee, too.

  15. Dana says:

    Nicely done! Couple of great ideas for Billy on the list. And as usual, a couple of things for me too.

    heh: “This book is for anyone who likes to read.”

    I love that I found out about this post from Steve’s website. 😀

    • Joe Daly says:

      Are you guys Nilsson fans? Even if you’re not, I’m sure you will LOVELOVELOVE that documentary.

      Let me know how it goes!

      • Dana says:

        No! Bill’s probably more aware of him than I, but I finally realized about 12 seconds ago that whenever I saw the name in print I would think Harry Chapin (eek!) and my eyes would glaze over. I’m all about checking this out! (Although who knows, maybe Chapin is absolutely fascinating too.)

        • Joe Daly says:

          Even more of a reason to czech out that documentary. If for no other reason than to hear the interviews of all his friends.

          Get thee shopping!

        • pixy says:

          i wholly agree about the nilsson doc. i wartched it this weekend on ye olde netflix and it was RADNESS. and it totally reminded me of someone… hm.

          lesson learned: don’t ever get in a screaming match with john lennon.

  16. Lorna says:

    Wait a minute…..a virtual band that exists only in cartoon form? This sounds too good to be true. I must check them out. I love, love, love that you include Gaslight Anthem and happily thank you for the introduction to them.

    You TNBers are killing me this week. So much to read and so little time. I’m off to Youtube land for further research of your suggested rock gift items.

    Thank you Joe Daly.

    • Joe Daly says:

      Oh Lorna, they are as close to “too good to be true” as it gets. They show’s creators actually tour as Dethklok from time to time, but bizarrely, they’re never as good as their cartoon counterparts.

      Stoked that you like the GA. I mentioned to I think Nat (in a comment above), that there are some good acoustic GA songs on YouTube. I pulled the music off of a couple of those videos and dropped them into my iPod for driving around music. Good stuff, FYI.

      I’ll be interested to hear what you think of the other music. Rock on, Lorna!

  17. Reno j. Romero says:

    mr. joe:

    nice. talk about some delicious research. jams. dvds. books. hell, do you have any porn recommendations. no, not for me. no. for my cousin…

    now, anthrax…

    is joey singing? i believe he is. i always liked his voice. and my rule has been that i can’t listen to a band if i can’t stomach the dude/chick pulling the vox. that’s why i can’t listen to metallica. james is not a vocalist by any stretch of the imagination. he was better in the lightning days when he knew he wasn’t a vocalist (that’s why they tried to get john bush (armored saint) to sing for them). he’s simply dreadful and gives me gas. speaking of john bush: he’s the baddest. love him. anyhow, i’m rambling…

    i think i have to check out that gaslight band. sounds interesting. okay, with that happy holidays and hopefully your stocking will be packed to the gills when you wake on the 25th.

    • Joe Daly says:

      Thanks Reno! Unfortunately, I’m dry on the porn stuff, although I hear that “Shaving Ryan’s Privates” is coming out with a tenth anniversary deluxe set sometime in the next year. I don’t know what you get with that…

      Belladonna’s back! You’re right- his voice is solid, and probably best suited to their band.

      I don’t mind Hetfield’s vocals, although he’s far from a notable metal/thrash vocalist. I will say that his vox on Death Magnetic are his best, in my opinion. First time I’ve really felt like he’s actually exploring a range. Have you heard that album? If so, thoughts?

      Love Armored Saint, btw. Talk about a band that missed out on well deserved props.

      Thanks for the holiday wishes and here’s hoping your stocking is packed with some rockin’ treats as well!

  18. New Orleans Lady says:

    My dad is the most difficult person in the world to shop for on any occasion. He has a bad habit of just telling you why your gift to him was stupid or not needed/wanted.

    Last Christmas I bought him a special Led Zeppelin DVD set that was pretty BA. Behind stage scenes, interviews, never before seen footage, and concerts! He loved it! I also gave him a Pink Floyd set. Both are appreciated and who doesn’t like to get Led out every now and again? Some of us more than others but you know…

    we can’t all be perfect.

    • Joe Daly says:

      NOL-

      Now you are one thoughtful daughter! The Zep DVD set? Awesome. How’s the Floyd set? Which one did you get? Always interested in seeing some old school Floyd shows…

    • Reno j. Romero says:

      NOL:

      hey, you know how to shop, eh? great gifts. zep! yay! good to know. i’ll get in touch w/ you regarding my wish list. i’m not a needy guy, NOL, i just NEED. we’ll chat about it. see you under the tree, NOL.

      • New Orleans Lady says:

        under the tree or under the mistletoe?

      • Joe Daly says:

        Indeed. I want to be on NOL’s gift list next year! Hopefully 2011 boxed sets and DVD collections will be announced by summer so we can make a push to get on her good side nice and early.

        • Gloria says:

          She’s a great gift giver. I can neither confirm nor deny reports that she once sent me explosives through the mail for Vaginapallooza.

        • Joe Daly says:

          I just don’t know what to do with that there comment. That’s the kind of comment that keeps a guy up a night.

        • Gloria says:

          Vaginapalooza was my very Pagan, vagina only, all night drunkfest to celebrate my divorce being final. There was nudity, wine, ceremonial herb burning, music, toasts, speeches, drunken walks in the woods, and a fire ceremony.

        • Joe Daly says:

          >>There was nudity, wine, ceremonial herb burning, music, toasts, speeches, drunken walks in the woods, and a fire ceremony.<<

          That sounds super familiar. I’m pretty sure that’s how Simon gets ready for work in the morning.

        • Gloria says:

          Believe me, Simon tried to get a golden ticket to the ceremony. Okay, I’m lying. He didn’t. However, there was a small number of dogs trying to figure out how to sneak in wearing a kitty outfit.

        • Simon Smithson says:

          @Joe: With the exception of that fact that I like to detonate a small and self-contained A-bomb, that’s accurate.

        • New Orleans Lady says:

          Yep, that’s right.
          I’m a bad ass.
          hard core.

          😉

        • Reno j. Romero says:

          all i want to know is when the hell does vaginapalooza 2 takes the stage? i want backstage passes and VIP treatment. who do i need to schmooze? how many cartwheels do i have to pull (uh, thanks, jack)? i want nakedness and hooch and fire and music and speeches, all that. i want IN. this should be a party involving both boys and girls. all bits present! we can celebrate my divorce! and anyone else’s for that matter. who’s in?

          burning ambition,
          reno

        • Gloria says:

          @Reno – Vaginapallooza II will occur when next I get divorced. Unless I’m divorcing you, you’re welcome to be there. 😀

  19. I didn’t realize what an absolute genius Michael Jackson was until I saw This Is It. I remember Thriller only in that I was young enough it terrified me and became a particularly tragic memory of my childhood.

    And then, of course, the crazy. I didn’t really understand Moonwalker (that was the movie, right? With the claymation bunny. I don’t remember a whole lot). And then there were the 90s and last decade, wherein he became increasingly yet understandably more reclusive amid tabloid allegations and various lawsuits.

    That was all I really knew of him.

    And then I watched This Is It, and saw him in a new light. I really think that show would have been a comeback for him. He was really on top of his game.

    Will be checking out your recommendations when I have the chance. Trying to think what CDs I’ve liked in 2010. The new Rodrigo y Gabriela and Sleigh Bells are the only ones that come to mind.

    • Joe Daly says:

      Will,

      I had a similar experience- I stopped paying attention to MJ after Thriller, buying into the lunatic hype that overtook his persona. Then seeing This Is It, admittedly a reluctant exercise, I realized just how savvy and talented he is. Totally eye opening, and it caused me to think of his other work in a new light. I’m not saying I went back and bought his catalog, but it was refreshing to be able to see him getting into it, and understanding a little better just how he reached the heights he did.

      RyG are fantastic- thanks for the tip!

    • Gloria says:

      I didn’t remember that Michael Jackson was an absolute genius until this past Halloween, when I showed Tolkien and Indigo Thriller for the first time. They fell in love. And because I was watching it fresh – through their eyes – it was new for me again after 25 years. And god damn it’s genius. Then we watched the live version of Billy Jean where Jackson first premiered The Moon Walk. Then we watched Beat It and Bad, which led us to Eat It and Fat, which began another hour involving Weird Al Yankovich. It was a long night. 🙂 But a great one.

  20. JSBreukelaar says:

    Bingo. I just ticked someone else off my gift list. Thanks!

  21. Gloria says:

    What a great list, Joe Daly. Out of all the music, I’ve been meaning to get to Lisbon, by The Walkmen the most.

    And of the book/DVD selections – the Stones related ones are highest on my “must have” list.

    Great write up, sir!

    • Joe Daly says:

      Thanks, Gloria! Lisbon is a really great listen. I’ve got it on now, as a matter of fact. Reminds me of Jeff Buckley crashing into Broken Social Scene.

      Here’s hoping that Santa places you squarely on his “Nice” list and fills your stocking up with some Stonsey treats.

  22. Brian Eckert says:

    Joe, I hope you’re happy. You’ve ruined my December 23rd “rush to the mall to gather whatever gifts seem appropriate after smoking a joint on the car ride” thing. Now, I’m considering all the thoughtful gifts I should be buying that are based on a deep, nuanced understanding of people–not people as online avatars–but REAL people, man.

    In all seriousness, cool piece, bro. I read an excerpt of the Richards memoir in Rolling Stone and it seems like the real deal. What I was surprised to find was the fact that his reputation permeates all he does–the man has been off of hard drugs for decades, but he’s still used as the butt of countless substance abuse jokes.

    One line in particular was memorable: “They’re wishing me to do things that they can’t. They’ve got to do this job, they’ve got this life, they’re an insurance salesman..but at the same time, inside of them is a raging Keith Richards.”

    • Joe Daly says:

      >>What I was surprised to find was the fact that his reputation permeates all he does–the man has been off of hard drugs for decades, but he’s still used as the butt of countless substance abuse jokes.<<

      No kidding, eh? I’m amazed at the fact that he can still drink. Most people who have been through what he has can’t even drink, as it will lead them straight back to the bad ol’ days.

      But yeah, he’s certainly done things that most people would love to try, but the circumstances appear too dire. But Keith’s amazing. He’s like an armadillo- no matter how many times he’s run over, he’s back out on the road.

      Sorry to mess up your shopping plans. If it makes you feel any better, there’s no difference between avatars and real people. That’s what I’ve come to understand, at least.

      Thanks for the comment and have a great holiday. I’ll be in Central Mass for Christmas, and none too stoked for the cold…

  23. Erika Rae says:

    This list was in itself a Christmas gift. And since I have no money this Christmas, I shall get right to work finding some of your suggestions on YouTube to try them out (in all their various pieces). Yep. I’m just that cheap right now.

    • Joe Daly says:

      Good to hear! Have you figured out how to pull music from YouTube? If not, let me know and I’ll shoot you a link. It’s an easy way to get some “hard to find” versions of different songs.

      And there’s no “cheap” at Christmas time- you’re just sticking to your budget. 🙂

  24. Great idea for a post, Joe. I’m going to probably buy the Dethklok album on your advice. Also, my parents sent me the Keith Richards book as an early present. The bastard Chinese govt opened it, though, but I guess they deemed it none-too-subversive.

    • Joe Daly says:

      Thanks a bunch, David! Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on Dethklok. Let’s hope the government lets you order something so heavy!

      Have you started Keith’s bio yet? Thoughts?

      Rock on!

      • I reckon Dethklok was based upon the Chinese govt to some extent…

        Also, I haven’t started Keith’s book. I recently managed to get my ass sat down and have begun editing my own attempt at a novel. It’s been sitting around for too long and badly needs work. Keith will have to wait…

  25. Uche Ogbuji says:

    I think I speak for Slade Ham as well as myself when I suggest adding Nneka to the list. Some of us have been in the know for a while, but she finally broke Stateside this year.

    That’s real.

  26. No Ke$ha? What kind of Christmas list is this Joe? Sheesh.

  27. Lisa Rae Cunningham says:

    JD! Sorry I’m so late here… I had this one branded on the brain as a definite read. I’m playing catch up.

    I got your hip hop fans covered:
    Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

    Awesome music advice, as always. Rock on, brother.
    PS: You read Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs yet?
    PPS: How’s the book coming??

    • Joe Daly says:

      LRC-

      It always rocks to hear from you. You are the final nail in my Kanye Koffin- I’m off to download the album now. Wish me luck and thx for the tipsterdoodle!

      I did read SD&CP and was surprised how much I dug it! In fact, it rocked me so much that I went out and downloaded his IV audiobook, which has accompanied me on all my holiday driving around activities. Great recommendation!

      Book is coming along nicely. I guess it’s a good sign when you have to sort of force yourself to get up and run some errands. 🙂

      Hope you’re well. Czech your mail this week!

      • Lisa Rae Cunningham says:

        Klosterman is King. He’s a free thinker, and funny. Look forward to your venture into rock ‘n’ roll lit. I’m lobbying for an advance copy. And I’ll have a happy eye on the mail… 🙂

  28. […] can tell you which records from 2010 to go to the store and buy (or download on iTunes), and which rock biographies are worth perusing, and why supergroups so […]

  29. […] of rock bios in 2011. Certainly the commercial success of Keith Richard’s biography, Life (which I found a most excellent read) has renewed publishing’s interest in rock properties, resulting in the expansive promotion of such […]

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