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Gifts For the Hearing

Stuff for music lovers and obsessives

Beatles For Sale Yet Again?

The supposed big news for 2010 was that Apple’s iTunes finally got the Beatles catalog. Hasn’t everyone at this point ripped their stash of these discs—even the ones we re-bought again last year when they were remastered—to listen to on their iPods? Yes. So, at this point the fact that you can download the Beatles is just a marketing huzzah for iTunes.

Need something Beatles for a gift? Luckily, the end of the year never comes without some kind of Beatles-related items appearing in stores. This year, it’s all about the solo Fabs. There’s the John Lennon Signature Box, which collects every one of his solo recordings for the first time ever in one set, plus a disc of rare tracks. For fans of “The Quiet One,” a marvelous limited edition remastering of George Harrison’s landmark solo debut All Things Must Pass on LP is out there. Last but certainly least is Paul McCartney and Wings’ Band on the Run, available as a new CD/DVD—which includes an audio documentary, rare video footage, and a hardbound book, as well as an expanded vinyl edition.

And if you’re looking for Ringo solo…well, sorry to hear it. And was I hallucinating or did I see a collection of Beatles album drinking vessels available at a major retailer? There’s always that. Dig a pint glass!

Find it at: iTunes, Record Theater.

Slayer: The Vinyl Conflict

Sony Legacy

“Silent Night”? “Jingle Bells”? No way! Nothing rings in the sounds of the season quite like “Reign in Blood” or “Hell Awaits.”

So maybe this is not the ideal gift for Grandma, but there’s no hardcore, vinyl-loving metalhead who would not salivate to find this underneath the tree. Here are all 10 albums, from 1986 to 2009, that the thrash metal overlords recorded for the American Recordings label, remastered from the original tapes, pressed on high-grade audiophile 180-gram vinyl, and with all original art and packaging fully restored. The only drawback: the lack of Slayer’s Metal Blade debut, Show No Mercy, though that is also available separately as vinyl reissue.

Find it at: Record Theater.

Coltrane on Coltrane: The John Coltrane Interviews

Edited by Chris Devito

(Cappella Books)

Nearly 50 years after his death, John Coltrane’s music is as vibrant, relevant, and entrancing as ever. Coltrane on Coltrane is somewhat like getting a “complete discography” of his own words, as it collects every known interview the saxophone titan ever did—including some published here for the first time—and puts them into a complete collection to be glimpsed and pored over as one body. In spite of the dozen or so Coltrane biographies, several of them excellent, this eye-opening book, in essence from the mouth of the man himself, that offers one of the most complete pictures of his jazz-redefining body of recordings and all-too-short life.

Find it at: Talking Leaves.

Netflix membership

I know what you’re thinking: “Why would Netflix be in the music gifts?” In past years, I would suggest a litany of worthy music documentaries and concert DVDs for ideas. This year, I can take that litany and multiple it by 10. The reason I’ve seen so many more: Netflix. It’s not just for dramas and comedies. The deep catalog of music-related titles is impressive and it is constantly being added to. Queue up the PBS American Masters two-hour feature on Joni Mitchell, then maybe some of 2010’s Rolling Stones: Stones in Exile, followed by the gripping Who Is Harry Nillsson? and finally the indie music shop doc I Need That Record!. This is just the beginning. And with the advent of Netflix Instant, where members can start a selection immediately online, along with the apps making it accessible across smartphones, gaming systems, and devices like iPads, there’s more opportunity to watch (and listen) to music films.

Find it at:

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