The 2019 FLOOD Holiday Gift Guide

Stressed about gift giving? We got you.

Unfortunately, capitalism is alive and well and its influence is going to pressure you into making holiday purchases. Probably a lot of them. Fortunately, these gifts are presumably for your loved ones, thus making them material expressions of genuine affection, and in the wise words of Madonna, we are living in a material world (and you are a material girl). 

As is our tradition, we’ve compiled a collection of electronics, books, booze kits, vinyl, and puppets for you to peruse and hopefully choose from. Happy shopping!

High School by Tegan and Sara

The power pop twin sisters didn’t just release Hey, I’m Just Like You, their ninth studio album, this past year—they also released a co-written memoir called High School. The book is essentially the duo’s origin story, detailing their childhoods, coming out experiences, early music careers, eventual rise to fame, and all the sisterly squabbles and heartbreaks in between. You can read our digital cover story on Tegan and Sara here for a primer—but rest assured, there’s lots more juicy detail to be found inside the book. $20 from Amazon

Switched on Pop: How Popular Music Works, and Why it Matters

The hosts of Switched on Pop—a Vox podcast about the making and meaning of popular music—have taken their noise knowledge to the written word. Nate Sloan (a USC musicology professor) and Charlie Harding (a songwriter-producer) co-authored Switched on Pop, breaking down the success and irresistibility of a whole slew of twenty-first-century hits. Each chapter uses a different sonic property (meter, timbre, hook, syncopation) to discuss pop’s most chart-topping earworms, from Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe,” to Outkast, Taylor Swift, and Rihanna. You might not listen to Top 40, but you’ve probably heard all these songs a million times somewhere, somehow. $24.95 from Amazon

Astro Poets: Your Guides to the Zodiac

Alex Dimitrov and Dorothea Lasky are poets, astrology buffs, and launchers of popular Twitter account the Astro Poets, which combines their passion for the mystical with their readers’ endless desire for answers. We love astrology for the same reason we love sorting ourselves into Hogwarts houses or Myers-Briggs types: the world is a scary place and humans are messy and fallible, but these organized classifications help it to feel a little more manageable. This book is a mixture of humor, sun-sign-inspired poetry, and advice on everything from love to communication to professional interactions according to birthdate. $18 from Amazon

The Hard Times: The First 40 Years

For five years, The Hard Times has been the only website brave enough to report the real goings-on of the punk scene, and their first foray into The Soft Cover couldn’t have come soon enough. The First 40 Years is the site’s first retrospective of the scene pre-THT.net, recounting all of the iconic events that truly and definitely really did happen. Read our interview with the editors for more info. $20 at IndieBound

Goin’ Off: The Story of the Juice Crew & Cold Chillin’ Records

Goin’ Off is a narrative/oral history of the pioneering hip-hop collective and record label that birthed Big Daddy Kane, Biz Markie, Marley Marl, Roxanne Shanté, Wu-Tang Clan’s GZA, Masta Ace, and more. It’s part of the RPM Series that focuses on record labels, and includes exclusive interviews with over thirty recording artists and industry veterans, plus a foreword written by producer/DJ/Stones Throw label owner Peanut Butter Wolf. $24 at IndieBound

Actual Air by David Berman

This year we lost one of the greatest songwriters of our time, whose lyrical output, as many Silver Jews diehards know, also extended into the realm of poetry. Earlier this year, David Berman’s label Drag City re-released a hardcover version of his 1999 collection Actual Air, which contains some of his most memorable writing. Pairs well with the Purple Mountains LP and a day off for self-care. $25 from Drag City

London Calling Scrapbook

For those of us who’ve adored The Clash’s London Calling for forty years or slightly less, but always wished the packaging of the records was a little more…complemented with a 120-page scrapbook of photos, lyrics, notes, and other BTS goodies from the era, have we got a gift for you! The band is serving up exactly this: the London Calling Scrapbook looks back on an iconic moment in punk with a perhaps irreverently tidy compilation of photographic memorabilia. Revolution rock at its finest. $56 from Amazon

Mary J. Blige HERstory Vol. 1 7-Inch Box Set

Mary J. Blige takes you back to the beginning of her story with HERstory Vol. 1, an impressively curated collection of eight individual 7-inch singles from her What’s the 411? era, including a number of cuts from the subsequent remix album featuring guests like Biggie, Puff Daddy, and Method Man. Contained in an elaborate carrying case, we can only hope HERstory repeats itself for a second volume. $110 from MJB’s site

American Football Puzzle

Not only did we get a new American Football album in 2019, but the first AF release celebrated twenty years of existence back in September—and Polyvinyl honored the birthday with a 12-inch reissue which, for the first time, can be disassembled into 144 pieces. Though the new package doesn’t contain any vinyl, per se, or emit any music whatsoever, the American Football Puzzle can be reconstructed an infinite number of times, providing you with well over forty minutes and fifty-one seconds of bittersweet enjoyment every time. $25 from Polyvinyl

FLOOD Merch and Back Issues

Print is alive! And you can still purchase all eight versions of our last two print issues (FLOOD 10 and FLOOD 9, featuring cover stars like Jeff Bridges, Animal Collective, Wu-Tang Clan, and Paul Dano). You can additionally rep your favorite arts and culture publication with cozy FLOOD-logo sweatshirts and t-shirts. And finally, for the MIA fan, we still have some exclusive, limited edition lithographs with her face on them made by legendary visual artist Jim Evans, a.k.a. TAZ, designed in conjunction with her FLOOD 9 cover story. FLOOD print issues $15, FLOOD merch $20 to $40, MIA lithographs $75, all from Shopify

Embroidered Thank You Tote

Trying to make a smooth transition from plastic bags to something a little less environmentally havocky? How about a near replica of the iconic “Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You Thank You” bag made from recycled polyester taffeta fabric? UncommonGoods has you covered, as they so often do, with this uncommon good, a plastic bag ban subtweet from the mind of Lauren DiCioccio. $38 from UncommonGoods

Levi’s Trucker Jacket with Jacquard

The most classic all-American clothing item? Gotta be the jean jacket. The most classic all-American denim brand? Undoubtedly, it’s Levi’s. And you’re in luck: this year, Levi’s and Google have teamed up for the release of the new Levi’s Trucker Jacket with Jacquard, available in both men’s and women’s sizes—and believe it or not, this jacket’s interactive left sleeve can connect to the wearer’s smartphone to provide access to navigation, rideshare apps, weather and traffic reports, text and phone call communication, music, and more. You get the iconic style of Levi’s and the convenient technology of Google in one fell swoop. Classic trucker at $198, Sherpa Trucker at $248 from Levi’s  

Ginger Beer Making Kit with Copper Mugs

It’s finally Moscow Mule season, and with UncommonGoods’ ginger beer making kit, you’re not only in control of the gingerliness of your Mule, but you also won’t need to leave a security deposit when you’re served the beverage from a copper cup. The kit comes with plenty of ingredients to churn out up to thirty-two cocktails—don’t spend them all in one place. $115 on UncommonGoods

JBL PartyBox 300 

Throwing a holiday party? In search of a sound system whose bass will vibrate the entire block? Look no further than the JBL PartyBox 300, a powerful speaker with light effects, rechargeable battery, and 12V DC input—so you can bring the party anywhere. Plug in a mic or guitar and take the stage yourself to your friends’ eternal annoyance, or stream a playlist via Bluetooth or from a USB stick. Just be prepared for your neighbors to make noise complaints. $399.95 from JBL

Criterion Collection Blu-rays

Give the cinephile in your life the reliably fantastic gift of a Criterion Collection blu-ray disc. Two of our favorites this year are the 4K digital restorations of 1984 and All About Eve, the former an adaptation of George Orwell’s tale of fascistic oppression directed by Michael Radford in the year of the title, and the latter Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s 1950 Hollywood classic about the cutthroat business we call show, starring the formidable Bette Davis. $32 from Criterion 

A24 Merch

Auteur film distributor A24 puts out all the best movies, including three from FLOOD’s very own Best of 2019 list (Waves, The Lighthouse, and Uncut Gems). But A24 is also known for impeccable brand marketing; releasing unusual merch, gorgeous posters, and limited edition collector’s items in honor of the films they’re promoting. You’ll garner nothing but respect repping the company with a simple A24 logo shirt (the flowery Midsommar font is especially enticing) and there are no more handsome coffee table decorations than these hardcover screenplay books, with the full scripts and stills from acclaimed A24 projects Moonlight, The Witch, and Ex Machina. From $40 and $60 via A24

Magnetic Personalities

You’ve probably seen these four-inch magnetic finger puppets planted on the fridges of all your most intellectual friends. Made in the likenesses of famous writers, scientists, politicians, and historical figures—among them Vincent Van Gogh, Langston Hughes, Emily Dickinson, Claude Monet, Ernest Hemingway, Edvard Munch’s The Scream, Herman Melville, and the white whale Moby Dick himself—these miniature figurines are both adorable and educational. Plus, an enormous Frida Kahlo head pillow, for that lady in your life who isn’t afraid of a little unibrow and a lotta painting talent. $6.95 from The Philosopher’s Guild 

Sprots Tees

Sprots is like if Kids Write Jokes tweets were t-shirts, only the subject matter for these jokes was focused more on misspelled celebrity names, glory holes, and a preschool-level understanding of sports. “Slam Dunks” and the classic “Ducks: Kings of the Sky” tees are among the dozens of shirts currently listed on Sprots.org (sprots.bigcartel.com) that are teeming with childlike innocence and matter-of-fact falsehoods—scoop one for the Papa John’s fanatics in your family. $20 from Sprots

Third Man Shinola Turntable

Third Man Records now have their very own turntable, created in partnership with fellow Detroitians Shinola. The collaboration’s limited edition run is perfect for the vinyl enthusiast, Jack White fanboy, or independent record label appreciator in your life. It features an utra-quiet motor, a built-in switchable phono preamplifier, and a belt-driven pulley with speeds of 33 1/3 rpm and 45 rpm. It also comes equipped with an Ortofon 2M blue phono cartridge made by VPI Industries, a veteran of American turntable manufacturing. It ain’t cheap, but records last forever—and everyone knows music always sounds better on a turntable. $2,500 from Third Man

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