Music Gift Guide 

Find the perfect gift for the music fan on your list

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Trying to find a gift for someone who's into music can seem like a daunting prospect: "What if they already have this album?" But never fear: These music-themed gift ideas should help you find the perfect items to suit the taste of the music lovers on your list, whether they're casual listeners or self-proclaimed audiophiles. In her picks, City Weekly Music Editor Kolbie Stonehocker highlights a few Salt Lake City music shops, while contributor Randy Harward has collected a selection of nationally released novelties and tunes. Steer clear of the bargain CD bins this year—you can do better. Happy holidays!

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Audio Technica Turntable, $119.99 (standard), $139.99 (USB compatible)
She has amassed a sizeable stack of vinyl ... but doesn't have any way to play it. Expand her musical horizons by getting her this beginner-level but high-quality turntable, recommended regularly by the folks at Randy's Records. The Audio Technica turntable features a built-in phono pre-amp—which allows it to be hooked up to either an amp or powered speakers (also found at Randy's)—and high-fidelity sound quality, and can be operated manually or automatically. It also won't shred her precious records, unlike similarly priced faux-retro Walmart turntables. (Kolbie Stonehocker) Randy's Records, 157 E. 900 South, Salt Lake City, 801-532-4413,


Punk Rock Throbbleheads, $25
Need graven images to worship this holiday season? How about a gang of dirty rotten punks? Pennsylvania-based Aggronautix started casting polyresin "throbbleheads" in the image of punk, metal and comedy gods in 2009. They've since dropped 25 different numbered, limited-edition figures honoring dudes like Jello Biafra, Mojo Nixon, The Meatmen's Tesco Vee, Roky Erickson, Gwar, The Plasmatics' Wendy O. Williams, Dwarves, David Cross and flagship license G.G. Allin, who boasts four different versions, including an Extra Filthy Bloody Edition (sadly, it's sold out). The newest releases are The Damned's Captain Sensible and the keytar-slinging Devo Energy Dome Man. Even the box art is cool on these puppies. So build an altar, pick up some throbblers and genuflect, mutha ... superior? (Randy Harward)

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Ugly Christmas Sweaters, $79
Tacky Christmas sweaters might be trendy right now, but that doesn't mean he has to sacrifice his unique style for sequins, jingle bells and nauseatingly jolly designs. Instead, give him the opportunity to show off his love of 36 Chambers-era Wu-Tang Clan, the Moz or blood-thirsty snowmen holiday style with these colorful (and cozy) sweaters made by Shredders, and let other unfortunate souls wear the garish light-up number with the reindeer and snowflakes. (KS) Raunch Records, 1119 E. 2100 South, Salt Lake City, 801-467-6077

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Primus Chocolate Bars, $25
In flavors like sturgeon, cheese and pork soda ... psych. Weirdo prog-rockers Primus, teaming with Asher's Chocolates, actually stuck to conventional ingredients for this merch tie-in with the Primus & the Chocolate Factory album and tour, a celebration of Roald Dahl's classic story about the lunatic chocolatier. (You know ...) Each three-pack contains one each of Professor Nutbutter (it's fulla peanuts), Mr. Krinkle (made with crispy rice) and the aptly named (because dark chocolate sucks) Bastard Bar. The price (roughly $2.38 per ounce) is high, but Primus always delivers quality. Plus, if you buy these, maybe we'll get to see more band candy down the road. Who wants to see an AC/DC bar? Maybe a Slayer-branded Abyss Crunch? My Morning Krackel? Zep Pez? This is fun. (RH)


Heavy Metal Shop Gear, $2-$50
Hardly any article of clothing proclaims one's love of Salt Lake City, metal and black like a hoodie with the Heavy Metal Shop skull logo on it, but that's not the only way to support the landmark SLC music store that's been "peddlin' evil since 1987." The Heavy Metal Shop also carries a wide selection of long- and short-sleeved shirts, sweatpants, tank tops, belt buckles, patches, coozies and, yes, even onesies, all boasting that trademark logo, for everyone on the edgier side of your family. (KS) The Heavy Metal Shop, 63 Exchange Place (360 South), Salt Lake City, 801-467-7071,

Gov't Mule, Dark Side of the Mule $13 (standard), $32 (deluxe)
Dude. Floyd good. Mule good. Mule + Floyd = dude. That kind of monosyllabic logic isn't hyperbole. Gov't Mule, led by gravelly-voiced guitar god Warren Haynes, are legends in their own right, and the idea of them paying tribute to the legendary Pink Floyd should make music fans slobbery. And this set, recorded on Halloween 2008 in Boston, exceeds all expectations. Mule, joined by saxophonist Ron Holloway and two of Floyd's actual backing vocalists, nails Floyd's sublime atmospheric sound while infusing it with that trademark Gov't Mule slow burn. It's a captivating, one-sitting listen that will leave you nearly speechless. (Review is for standard single-disc version. A deluxe three-CD/one-DVD version contains the full three-hour show.) (RH)

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Record Bags, $15-$21
Transportation of vinyl is tricky business; backpacks and messenger bags aren't friendly to the large square sleeves, resulting in dog-eared corners and other unfortunate wear. Specially sized to carry LPs with room to spare for essentials, these screenprinted canvas bags are a perfect solution and come in a variety of eye-catching designs, like the satisfying gloomy one from Stay Home Club that reads, "We are all hurtling toward our inevitable deaths." (KS) Albatross Recordings & Ephemera, 870 E. 900 South, Salt Lake City

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WKRP in Cincinnati: The Complete Series, $140
If you've ever wondered why WKRP in Cincinnati—one of the funniest sitcoms of the late '70s/early '80s—hasn't gotten the complete series treatment, it's because the show was stuck in the same music-licensing muck that once stalled The Wonder Years and Freaks & Geeks. Thankfully, Shout! Factory has turned this problem into a specialty, and they've restored much of the original music (more than 200 songs) by artists like Chic, Nick Lowe, AC/DC and Blondie, whose "Heart of Glass" became a hit after its inclusion in the first-season episode "A Commercial Break." Mostly intact, the series holds up with a heart as big as its wistful opening theme and a sense of humor as rollicking as the end-credits song, with its gibberish lyrics. (RH)

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Local Music, $1-$12
Buying local music at a local record store probably results in extra-good karma, but that's not the only reason a locally made album would make an excellent gift for a music fan. Whenever you buy a local album, you're supporting a passionate local artist with a crappy day job as well as the Salt Lake City music scene, instead of some money-grubbing streaming service or auto-tuned wannabe "musician." And Diabolical Records has a diverse selection, with music from bands including Secret Abilities, Giraffula, Huldra, Red Bennies and many more. (KS) Diabolical Records, 238 S. Edison St., Salt Lake City, 801-792-9204,

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