Gift Guide for the Music Head on Your Holiday List
What a fan, finger drummer, or Austin nostalgia freak may want for Christmas
For Those Doomsday Prepping for the Indie Vinyl Backlog
Alexalone Alexaloneworld Burgundy LP
After touring with Texas bands Hovvdy and Lomelda, Alex Peterson's Polyvinyl debut world-built with shades of noise, indie rock, and shoegaze. Appropriately, the album's packaging compiles a fantasy realm of sprites and rainbows with illustrator Karolina Asadova (@minipete_).
May the Circle Remain Unbroken: A Tribute to Roky Erickson Clear Purple LP
This Record Store Day exclusive is still up for grabs, packing tributes by Lucinda Williams, the Black Angels, Neko Case, Gary Clark Jr. & Eve Monsees, and more. The 16-page photo book unfolds a heartfelt letter from album producer Bill Bentley, and a fun flexi disc of unreleased Erickson recording "Love Hieroglyphics."
Pussy Gillette Pussy Gillette LP
Of this prime punk trio's debut, Chronicle writer Carys Anderson decided: "A scene veteran and a bass beginner coin the best band name in Austin – and the music's good, too." That would be guitarist Nathan Calhoun (Butthole Surfers, Gibby Haynes & His Problem), drummer Brent Prager (Fuckemos, Cherubs), and firestorm bassist/vocalist Masani Negloria.
Tele Novella Merlynn Belle LP
Lockhart fixtures Natalie Gordon (Agent Ribbons) and Jason Chronis (Voxtrot) find baroque Americana oddities in an excellent first album with Kill Rock Stars. Tasteful whimsy loops in vibraphone, autoharp, and chimes made by spinning a landscaping tool called the Garden Weasel.
Kimmie Rhodes Picture in a Frame Gold Splatter LP
Not a Christmastime delivery, as this won't ship until late 2022, country buffs may appreciate crowdfunding the first-ever vinyl release of singer-songwriter Rhodes and Willie Nelson's 2003 album. The formidable songwriters teamed up in Luck, Texas, to record the set of simple, emotive duets (named for the Tom Waits track covered within).
For the Listener Who Reads Beyond Liner Notes
A Little Devil in America
by Hanif Abdurraqib
The Columbus, Ohio, author's "Notes in Praise of Black Performance" covers cultural figures like Josephine Baker and the under-recognized Merry Clayton, whose voice distinguished "Gimme Shelter" by the Rolling Stones. Like all of Abdurraqib's work as a poet, critic, and music journalist, the amazingly considered essays are full of surprise.
by Jesse Dayton
The new memoir from Beaumont jack-of-all-trades Dayton details genre-hopping work with Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, and punks like X and Social Distortion. Find a full review from Chronicle writer Tim Stegall on p.66.
Crying in H Mart
by Michelle Zauner
Music is only the backdrop to the debut novel by Zauner, better known as the compelling indie-pop artist Japanese Breakfast. The deeply felt and fragrant story on food, grief, and Korean American identity stands on its own as a fiercely openhearted narrative, not just for JB listeners. But judging from their sold-out Stubb's headline last month, there's quite a few in Austin.
Hip-Hop (and Other Things)
by Shea Serrano
The Cultural King of San Antonio pens a love letter to hip-hop in the third and final installment of his obsessively celebratory (And Other Things) series. Like all of the medium-sized but coffee-table-worthy texts, it's full of asides, at times microscopically focused, and illustrated by Arturo Torres.
Why Solange Matters
by Stephanie Phillips
University of Texas Press
Phillips, of UK feminist punk band Big Joanie, finds common ground in the struggles of the Houston icon, insightfully recounting the rise of Beyoncé's little sister. Centering on the groundbreaking 2016 album A Seat at the Table, the work joins UT Press's "Music Matters" series, which also published considerations of Marianne Faithfull and Bushwick Bill this year.
For the Fan Who Wears Their Heart on Their Chest
Billie Buck's Karen Dalton Shirt
Join renewed recognition of the 1960s blues and folk singer, including new documentary Karen Dalton: In My Own Time, with a tee by Austin Music Award-winning poster artist Billie Buck.
Bjork "I Don't Know My Future" Shirt
From local culture-reworking screenprinters Fine Southern Gentlemen, find an ode to Bjork's 1993 Debut with lyrics from "Big Time Sensuality" on the back, by artist Tarot___1000.
(Not Jackie) Shirt
True fans know that after one too many confused fan interactions, Venson's doppelgänger sister walks around her shows in a T-shirt reading "Not Jackie." By popular demand, you can, too.
Shiela Chilita Shirt
Revisit ACL Fest first-timer Shiela's February debut Chilita with this cutie hot-pink chile pepper motif by artist Celeste Rojas.
Very Nice Records Shirt
Indie-pop superstar Dayglow announced the launch of an independent record label last month, including very nice shirts declaring "Very Nice Records are made in Austin, Texas."
For the Active or Aspiring Musicmaker
The Sound Stone
Marketed as "the World's Most Affordable Guitar Sustainer," this battery-operated pick replacer is handmade in Austin by two brothers – and appears on the encyclopedic list of gear used on the aforementioned Alexaloneworld.
After a successful 2019 Kickstarter campaign, this "DIY cardboard MIDI controller kit" only takes an hour to construct your own electronic instrument. See it hand-painted and in action during Austin beatmaking wiz Flobama's videos.
For the Friend With Blank Walls
Daniel Johnston Exhibition Poster
This poster for the Contemporary Austin's "Daniel Johnston: I Live My Broken Dreams" exhibit, still on display through March 20, 2022, features his feisty work Eternal Battle.
Farewell Dry Creek Cafe Poster
DM @cactus_lee on Instagram
To commemorate the Oct. 31 closure of 68-year-old Austin institution Dry Creek Cafe & Boat Dock, track down this artifact featuring art by foundational Austin poster artist Jim Franklin and Taylor W. Rushing of NOT BAD Illustration.
Japanese Breakfast Levitation Poster
At the poster gallery during Levitation last month, this metallic edition by Indonesian illustrator Ardneks caught my eye. The artist also contributed a great Andy Shauf print to the fest.
For the Under $15 Bracket
ABGB "Hell Yes Helles" 4-Pack
This Bavarian-style lager benefits DAWA (dawaheals.org), which provides financial support to local people of color who work as artists and in the service industry, and features art by founder Jonathan "Chaka" Mahone of Riders Against the Storm.
Black Pumas Patch
While Black Pumas tees may be overplayed in regional dress at this point, the Austin band's pandemic-delayed, sold-out five-night run at Stubb's last May was one for the books. Or a commemorative patch.
"Honk if You're Hot Burrito" Bumper Sticker
I've never really understood what "Hot Burrito" means, only that the term expresses devotion to musical enterprises associated with the Eastside watering hole Hotel Vegas.