By Zachary Swickey
With Christmas officially less than two weeks away, it’s about time that procrastinators like myself get off the couch and do some final shopping for the holiday season. If you don’t feel like getting 26-pound gummy bears for your whole family, then why not consider the gift of music? Don’t go the lazy iTunes gift card route either. Instead, put some thought into this to show how much you care and try to gift someone with tunes they’ve probably never heard but you think they will fall for. They'll never forget the guy or gal who introduced them to their favorite new band, and they’ll appreciate the fact that you seem to know them pretty well.
Fitz & the Tantrums, Pickin’ Up the Pieces
There is no album more perfect to share around Christmas-time than the debut from soul music-revivers Fitz & the Tantrums. As I’ve mentioned many times before, Fitz and Co. (who recently won our first Bands We Like poll) have plenty of widespread appeal with their nostalgic, soul-tinged sounds. Anyone who plays the track “Breakin’ the Chains of Love” while their relatives are roaming the house during the holidays will be bombarded with queries about the awesome music being played – guar-an-tee it!
Mariachi El Bronx/The Bronx, Self-titled efforts
It almost feels like some kind of awesome prank to showcase the fine Spanish-flavored sounds of Mariachi El Bronx to a friend, then turn around and play the group’s original, punk-driven side – The Bronx. Consisting of the same members – the two groups couldn’t be more opposite, but that doesn’t change the fact that they do both insanely well! Mariachi El Bronx will convert non-believers to the niche genre, while The Bronx carry the punk rock torch of musical madness better than damn near any band on the scene today.
Dredg, El Cielo
As I’ve said about Dredg before, the group is constantly in a state of evolution – never sticking to the same sound for more than one album. This presents a quandary when deciding which of their efforts would make the best gift? While all their albums are ear-pleasers, we find the audible journey of El Cielo to be the best disc for someone to become familiar with Dredg. Even the album’s interludes are must-listens and clocking in at just under an hour – you really get your money’s worth.
Dead Man’s Bones, Self-titled
Yes, Ryan Gosling fronts an indie rock band and yes, they are awesome. Despite missing out on the top spot for People’s Sexiest list (it’s okay, I didn’t make it either dude), Gosling has had a hell of a year. Even some of his most loyal fans are unaware of his musical side-project: Dead Man’s Bones, which is far more appealing than any album should be from such a successful actor. What better way to show your friends your musical chops than to present them with not only a rad, hipster-coveted disc, but one that is fronted by their favorite actor.
City & Colour, Bring Me Your Love
It took a few years for stateside folks to show City & Colour (aka Dallas Green) the same amount of love he’s been getting at home in Canada for several years (he’s got two Juno awards – the Canadian equivalent of a Grammy – to his name). His debut disc was a remarkable departure from his other group (Alexisonfire, who have since disbanded), but it’s his follow-up, Bring Me Your Love, where he truly finds his sound. The perfect gift for fans who have hopped on the Bon Iver bandwagon, I defy anyone to listen to “As Much As I Ever Could” without getting goose bumps.