Dads with everything, moms who refuse to make lists, and picky sisters create challenges when the gift-giving season rolls around. But never fear: Oklahoma Gazette is here to help you please everyone with something theyve never heard.
TEENAGE BROTHER Whether in the throes of teenage rebellion or just hyperactive, its almost guaranteed that your bro will appreciate some loud, fast music. The Monitor by Titus Andronicus is easily the best punk album of the year, but he probably doesnt own it because people mention things like the Civil War and Bruce Springsteen when they talk about it. The Brutalist Bricks by the criminally underrated Ted Leo and the Pharmacists is another winner thats probably not in his iTunes.
TEENAGE SISTER Introspective? Emotional? Prone to bizarre outbursts? Still really cool because of and in spite of all those things? Your sister definitely needs Live in London by Regina Spektor, as the charming-yet-peculiar songwriter displays the best of her tunes in a 22-song, 73-minute release. Beachcombers Windowsill by Stornoway could make another gift, if she likes attractive British guys playing infectious pop tunes. And really, who doesnt?
ECLECTIC OLDER BROTHER So hes got weird taste? No prob. Surprise him with Im New Here by Gil-Scott Heron (The Revolution Will Not Be Televised), which gives the 70s spoken-word artist a Johnny Cash-style career revival. The album is a brilliant mix of folk music, spoken word and sampled sounds.
Tango 3.0 by Gotan Project is another unique release, as its almost exactly what it claims to be. Tango rhythms arent what usually come to mind when a hipster says dance music, but the tracks flow together for a beautiful, haunting and absorbing listen.
HIP OLDER SISTER Does she listen to a steady diet of Sufjan Stevens and The National?
Even the hippest of the
hip may not have heard the brilliant Magic Chairs by Efterklang.
Falling between The Dirty Projectors moody experimentation and Arcade
Fires epic aspirations, Magic Chairs is a complex, layered work
featuring precise and powerful melodies that rewards multiple listens.
a less epic take on things, Blonde Redheads Penny Sparkle puts out
synth-heavy indie rock thats long on mood and short on riffs.
FOLK-LOVING DAD If
he was raised on Simon & Garfunkel, theres no reason to pass on
Heres the Tender Coming by The Unthanks. The British folk group
incorporates barrelfuls of vocal melodies, harmonies and a capella
sections, making for a pristine, glorious folk record.
on this side of the pond, Break in the Clouds by the
Colorado-via-Oklahoma outfit Elephant Revival will also thrill his folky
soul. In addition to smileinducing folk strummers like What Is Time?,
the disc includes Celtic vibes in its acoustic-heavy sound.
80S-LOVING MOM Contra
by Vampire Weekend is basically the second coming of Paul Simons
Graceland, and I have it on good authority that Graceland was pretty
popular once upon a time. Contra is totally inoffensive musically and
lyrically, and yet its still way fun. Shell love it. Write About
Love by Belle and Sebastian is a pleasant release that hearkens back to
charming 80s/early 90s pop like The Smiths, R.E.M. and The
Cranberries. Again, shell love it.
KID BROTHER/SISTER Because
you dont want your siblings growing up listening to terrible music,
throw down some change for Funky Fresh and Sugar Free by Oklahomas
own Sugar Free Allstars and Jungle Gym by Justin Roberts. Funky
Fresh includes a Beatles cover and sounds by the groups own
admission like James Brown funk. Jungle Gym has such solid songs
that it sounds like a lost Fountains of Wayne album.
snagging the Lust for Life rhythm for New Haircut, appropriating
Regina Spektor on Sign My Cast or aping The Apples in Stereo
(everywhere on the album), this is a fantastic release that would be
solid for adults with nothing more than subtle tweaks in the lyrics.
REALLY LITTLE SIBLINGS Swimming in Noodles by Jim Cosgrove is a silly and fun release that vaguely reminds of They Might Be Giants.
ANYONE IN YOUR LIFE WHO LIKES DANCE MUSIC Having run out of nuclear
relationships, the two best overlooked dance releases of the year are
Black Noise by Pantha Du Prince and LP 4 by Ratatat. Both arent
massive club-thumping albums, skewing more toward low-key,
soundtrack-esque beats and melodies. Black Noise produces a more muted
take, augmenting the beats with warm synths. LP 4 enjoys rhythmic
separation and a sense of drama, producing the more upbeat of the two.
But neither will be confused for glow stick-waving rave music any time