The Gift Guide for the Music Fanatic Who’s All About Vibes

It can be hard to buy gifts for music lovers. Anyone who is capable of sparking an hour-long debate over the advantages of mono mixing, or the superiority of New Order over Joy Division, or the very important reasons they’re still running WinAmp over Spotify tend to be pretty uncompromising in their tastes. How to satisfy these folks who appreciate the finer things in life, be it a limited edition color vinyl record played on high-end speakers or a glass of eggnog made using Charles Mingus’ famous recipe kicked up with Martell Blue Swift Cognac, sipped casually by the fire while listening to the man himself? Don’t worry, we went right to the source. VICE has historically been staffed by a legion of disaffected music snobs, and that makes us authorities on this type of holiday gift guide, one that caters to this audiophile and connoisseur. It’s all about vibes, man. So here are our suggestions for the record geeks in your life that are so good, you might even get them to take their headphones off a minute.

Bluetooth Karaoke Microphone


Bluetooth Karaoke Microphone

Is the party officially over or officially started when someone busts out a karaoke machine? This question has been taunting us for years, but at the very least, BONAOK’s all-in-one microphone makes for a very efficient set up. Sync it with your smartphone, cue up a track on its built-in speakers, and treat the people loitering around the living room with a majestic take on “Call Your Girlfriend.” It’s magic. Once you break the seal on karaoke, a Saturday night won’t ever be the same.

An Acrylic Song Plaque

We used to hang up record sleeves as wall art. It was a quick, efficient way to inform guests that you were really into Fleetwood Mac, but didn’t necessarily own a turntable. Over at Etsy, ipicprint has updated that classic bit of amateur room decor for 2021. For about $20, anyone can be the proud owner of a glass plaque that immortalizes one of their favorite songs as it would appear on the Spotify app—complete with gleaming play, skip, and shuffle buttons. No, this plaque can’t actually play music, but it’s the perfect gift for anyone who takes an auteur pride in their playlists.

Bluetooth Turntable

In 2021, turntable maintenance is no longer annoying. You don’t need to purchase a bulky preamp, a spindle of copper wires, and a bespoke set of analog speakers; instead, anyone can own a record player that directly syncs to whatever bluetooth-enabled audio systems they already have in their house—significantly cutting down on the overhead. If you have someone in your life who is vinyl-curious but doesn’t want to obsess over the nuts and bolts of the hobby, a bluetooth turntable is a fantastic place to start. 


Martell Blue Swift

Charles Mingus was a world-class drinker, so nobody should be shocked to know that he pioneered his own boozy eggnog recipe in his prime. Rum, sugar, nutmeg, and maybe even some ice cream for good measure. But to really kick it up a notch? Reach for a bottle of Martell Blue Swift, a spirit drink made of VSOP cognac that’s famously (and, to purists, shockingly) finished in bourbon barrels for an extra dash of oakiness. Now that’s a cocktail that’ll make you say Ah, um. Mingus would be proud.

Booze & Vinyl: A Spirited Guide to Great Music and Mixed Drinks

If you want to keep the cocktail theme going, pick up your loved one a copy of Booze & Vinyl, which contains 70 different mixed drinks to pair with classic albums. Have you ever wondered what aperitif would take your Low End Theory listening to the next level? This is the book for you.

Lyric Speaker


COTODAMN Lyric Speaker

How many times did you hear “Poker Face” before realizing it was about bisexuality? How long did it take to understand that “I Shot The Sheriff” is themed around birth control? All of these questions could be answered a lot faster (and a lot of money) with the COTODAMA Lyric Speaker, which projects the words of the songs you’re streaming through its digital canvas, adding a bit of elegant artistry to the standard sonic rig. Finally, a chance to sit back, relax, and determine once and for all who James Murphy is talking about on “Someone Great.”

John Prine Songbook

Oh Boy Records

John Prine Beyond Words (Songbook)

While you’ve got the lyric speaker fired up, you’d do well to play some songs by John Prine, truly one of the greatest lyricists—so good, in fact, poet laureates envied him—and songwriters America has ever produced. There’s a reason Prine is your favorite musician’s favorite musician, and evidence of why can be found all over the John Prine Beyond Words, a songbook that includes 100 photographs from the folk legend’s personal collection, hand-written lyrics showing how the songs evolved, and lyrics and guitar chords for over 60 Prine classics. It’s a fantastic way to remember the man we sadly lost last year, or to get acquainted with his artistry in a way that’s up close and personal.  

Turntable Cheese Board

Uncommon Goods

Turntable Cheese Board

Cheese boards are inherently kitschy, so why not kick it up a notch with a charcuterie platter designed to look like a record player? One of the annoying things about music fandom is how limited it is to ephemeral digital media in 2021—nobody can show off a curated Spotify catalogue the way they could with their CD collection. At the very least, the turntable cheese board lets guests know exactly where they stand in life, assuming that the Wilco rarities on repeat didn’t get that message across already.

Guitar Glasses

Uncommon Goods

Guitar Glasses

You know what would look great around that charcuterie board? This set of pint glasses engraved with classic guitars. They look great, and encompass the whole century-long history of guitar music. That said, we’re a little upset the Flying V didn’t make the cut. Maybe next time.

The Rap Year Book

Shea Serrano’s 2015 opus attempted to satisfy a daunting task. Could he tell a definitive story of hip-hop by focusing on exactly one song every year since 1980? How is it even possible to distill some of the all-time iconic periods in the genre’s legacy, like 1994 or 2001, into a single track? But Serrano possesses both the knowledge and the wit to pull it off. Today, The Rap Year Book is a valuable resource for all different varieties of rapheads, and a welcome addition to anyone’s personal library. If, perhaps, they already own it, Serrano’s newly released Hip-Hop (and Other Things) would make the perfect companion. 

Vinyl Subscription


Vinyl Record Subscription

Crate digging is hard—hours trudging through stuffy record shops, rummaging through an endless supply of bargain-bin flotsam, hoping to secure one of our holy grails. Is it worth an afternoon’s worth of effort and an exorbitant resale tax for a pristine copy of Safe as Milk? That probably depends on the person. Thankfully, in 2021 a number of companies are eager to do all of that work for you. Vinyl Me Please sends out a record a month to its subscribers, and it never slacks on quality. The latest? A pink-and-orange pressing of Grizzly Bear’s breakout, Veckatimist, keeping the dreams of 2009 alive forever. Vinyl Me Please is a must for any collector who needs a helping hand.

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