'Tis the Season for Tunes | Music | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly
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'Tis the Season for Tunes

Gift ideas for the music lovers and music makers in your life.


  • Erin Moore

It's gift-giving season, and you're probably rolling your eyes at this list already. But this is one guide where I'll avoid using the dollar-sign symbol and focus on one thing: how to cater to the music lovers and the music makers in your life. The two are distinct, and I'd argue the latter has more abstract needs than what can be found at a record store.

For Your Music Lover

The Dependables

Randy's Records, 157 E. 900 South, randysrecords.com

Graywhale Records, 1773 W. 4700 South, graywhaleslc.com

It depends on who and what you're looking for, but here's a tip: Need a gift for a youngster? Start at Graywhale, where you can get them some cool, classic stuff for an affordable price, used, along with any gear your young fan might need, like good headphones or an actual high quality record player (don't buy those crap Crosleys from Urban Outfitters, for the love of God and sound quality). Some of my first records and CDs came from here, and introduced me to artists I still love.

But what about someone who's been there, done that? Someone whose car console is already stuffed with accumulated CDs, or who's already sold off records they liked at 19, but can't afford new ones because of skyrocketing rent prices in SLC (this is maybe about me)? Get them something reliable but fresh at Randy's, which is still affordable, and has a knowledgeable staff who will help you find just the right crate to dig through. Support your aging and still broke friends, and help them bulk up their collection once more with a can't-go-wrong classic.

Something Rare

Peasantries + Pleasantries, 804 S. 800 East

Diabolical Records, 238 S. Edison St.

Albatross Recordings & Ephemera, 315 E. 300 South

Does your music lover have tastes that are simultaneously really specific and really broad? Look no further than the curated collection of Parker Yates' homey storefront, Peasantries + Pleasantries. If you know one single band that your giftee likes, just tell Yates, and he'll probably have, if not the best, then certainly the most interesting or rare record by that artist or band. If your giftee loves rarities in particular, look to Yates' wall of special early pressings and first editions, prized parts of his personal collection that he generously puts up for other people to purchase and enjoy.

If you want to support local artists, then Diabolical is the spot. Not only do they have a killer collection of obscure, cross-genre records ranging from the vintage to the merely minimally-pressed, they've usually got a few records or tapes by a number of SLC's talented local artists. This alongside Diabolical tees, totes and other merch. For another benefit: Go in on a Tuesday and spend $20 on anything in the shop for two free tickets to any of a number of upcoming shows you can to either take your pal out to, or to gift them.

If you can't find what you're looking for in either of these spots, take a gander at the collection at Albatross Recordings, which resides in the front of Boozetique and where post-punk and goth—both new and old—have a strong presence. Once you find the right piece of music or any of the other knick knacks sold alongside them, wander into the jungle of cocktail shakers and bitters that makes up most of Boozetique, and secure some ingredients to ensure your friend can really relax into the music.

For Your Music Maker

A Simple Favor

Most of my friends in bands—the ones who spend the bulk of their time playing music and putting on shows—don't have very much money to spend on themselves. Like other folks in our fantastic modern world, they work shit jobs for shit pay, and on top of the expense of maintaining an instrument collection ... well, there's not much to go around. So may I propose not just sponsoring some practice space hours at Downtown Music, or a gift card to Guitar Center so your music maker can stock up on instrumental needs, but supporting your friend in other ways. Take them out for a grand dinner at their favorite spot before their next show. Feed them enough to give them some leftovers to munch on the next day. Some friends in bands have remarked that playing music has burned them out on music entirely, which tells me maybe the best gift for your favorite troubadour might just be something that reminds them they're a normal person, too, and not just a musical genius made for rocking all the time.

Two Birds One Stone: Buy Merch!

Does your friend ever stand next to you at a show, on their second $8 venue beer, regretting that they didn't save money for that sick tour T-shirt at the merch table? Well then I have one last spot for you to spread your generosity—the damn merch table! Be sneaky; go buy that T-shirt—or almost sold-out screen printed pullover, or limited-release record—while your friend pisses out that beer in the bathroom. And if you've got a friend in the band? So much the better. Rep their T-shirt, spin their records at home and financially support your hard-working, talented friend.

See? Not all gifts need be bought on Black Friday at the mall or at Amazon. Our locals can provide more for each other than any mall ever could.