If you're looking for a present idea for someone who's way into punk rock, you know that a simple CD of whomever's newest might not cut it (although if you want to go that route, you should choose one of our best of the last decade). When I compiled this list, I tried to avoid simply making it a list of the latest albums to come out. Instead, here's a list of great gift ideas for anyone on your list who's into punk rock, and also a great list of ideas of things you might want to ask for.
Baldy Longhair Records is releasing their material on cassette tapes once again, with a catalog five releases deep so far. Each tape also comes with a download code for the music on the tape, so even if the recipient of these doesn't have a cassette player (or even knows what one is), they can still get the music, and keep the cassette as a novel conversation piece. Then again, just as vinyl made a comeback, will Baldy Longhair usher in an era of newfound cassette devotion?
Simply put, this little piece of technology is amazing. It's a little piece of equipment that plugs into your MP3 player and attaches to any object, transforming it into a speaker. Boxes, car doors, even inflatable plastic bags work, making it ideal for taking to hotels, skateboarding sessions and anywhere you want to whip up an instant party.
The company has put a little infomercial on YouTube (here), showing how it works. I'll warn you before you watch it though; if you don't want one now, you will after viewing.
If you've never seen the Slingshot, it truly is the punk rock day planner. I've been getting a new one every year, and it's really my main organizational tool.
What makes it more punk rock than your typical day planner? Well, in addition to providing a calendar, day planner and address book, it also holds a contact list of radical leftist groups all over the world, information on dealing with the police and knowing your rights, and a listing of popular activist and alternative cultural holidays. Plus, proceeds help support the Berkeley radical newspaper, SLINGSHOT.
Plus, like I said, it's a great place to keep track of show schedules, phone numbers, and everything else you need to be in the right place at the right time for.
What exactly is a Throbblehead, you say? It's a punk rock bobblehead.
Put out by Aggronautix, Throbbleheads pay tribute to our punk rock heroes, and also get them to nod along to whatever we ask them. Previous years have seen collectibles (don;t you dare call them toys) created in the likenesses of artists including GG Allin, Andrew WK, and Wendy O Williams, with Mojo Nixon and Jello Biafra being the latest additions.
Back in the day, the suitcase turntable was the way to listen to your records. The turntable version of the boom box, we took these things anywhere we wanted to hang out, plug in, and listen to records. Today, Crosley is remaking these great pieces of equipment, and I use my Crosley turntable to listen to records in the living room. For being a self-contained unit, the speakers are surprisingly rich, and the whole experience of hanging out and playing records is positively organic.
An added bonus to their latest model is the addition of a USB port, which allows you to rip your classic records into MP3, then drop them on a player to take to places that records won't necessarily hold up, like in the car.
Of course, if the $250 price tag is a bit off-putting, The Clash is also releasing The Clash Hits Back, a two-CD best-of with a sequence of tracks set to copy the set set list played by the band at the Brixton Fair Deal July 19, 1982 - along with a few bonus tracks. You can order that here.
For a long time, people were reluctant to shoot video at punk shows, because equipment was bulky and expensive. Flip Video has changed that.
About the size of an iPod, the Flip Video fits in your pocket, but it holds about an hour of video on its built-in drive (other models hold even more). It's really easy to use, and allows you to instantly upload video to Youtube. Now there is an affordable, easy way to shoot house shows, concert videos and home movies, then share them with the world. I take mine to SXSW and to Warped Tour (I even carried it into the pit at a Street Dogs show), and I use it to shoot bands in small venues all the time. Now the revolution just may be televised.
If you know someone who's a punk fan, but owns everything they could ever want, why not get them one of the punkest gifts ever - some spaghetti sauce? Ramones drummer Marky has launched his own line of pasta sauces, saying "I watched people on TV cook, I watch my friends and relatives cook, I decided to put something together."
He's even made a commercial here, and while I profess to not having tried it, kitsch value alone could make it a winner, especially if you bought a case and gave a jar to everyone on your list.