The Music Lover’s abridged guide to holiday shopping

by Ryan Snyder

West Coast Seattle Boy: The Jimi Hendrix Anthology (Experience Hendrix, Legacy)

After years of legal wrangling by his estate, those hungering for Hendrix finally will have the definitive compendium of his inestimable legacy. Here, there are alternate recordings of his best studio tracks in one place alongside previously unheard live material and an entire album of never-before released songs. The jewel of the collection, though, is arguably the disc of his work as a sideman alongside greats like King Curtis, Little Richard, the Isley Brothers and others. With a DVD documentary on the man himself included, there’s enough Jimi goodness in this long-awaited collection to make the single-disc “Best Of” edition seem entirely pointless.

The Anthology of Rap (Yale University Press)

Though not as definitive as the title might suggest, this volume of rap lyrics from 1979 to 2009 is a good starting place. Though it’s rife with errors, the task of transcribing hip-hop lyrics is akin to Gregorian Monks reviving apocryphal books of the Bible from unearthed tomes. Sometimes the words are so obscured that it’s an educated guessing game. Presented plainly on the massive book’s 920 pages, it presents hip-hop as more than just lyrical poetry, but as the great modern repository of verbal wordplay. So what if it confuses Ghostface Killah’s lyric “voice be mellow like Vaughn Harper” on “Daytona 500” with “voice be metal like Von Harper?” Essays from Chuck D and Common add color and flavor to a piece that even casual hip-hop fans might lose themselves in for hours.

Krankies Coffee Winter 2010 Compilation (Independent)

Set to be released this Friday night at Krankies in Winston-Salem, the 2010 winter music compilation is the brainchild of co-owner David Franklin and barista Phillip Pledger with the purpose of bringing the Winston-Salem music scene a little closer to its audience. The 18-song disc will feature artists like Jews & Catholics, Love Craft, Sugar High Gang and Caleb Caudle & the Bayonets, along with defunct bands such as Terrance & the Tall Boys and Golden Dawn. Like gravy on the biscuit, half of the album’s sales will be donated to Arts For Life at Brenner Children’s Hospital, a local non-profit dedicated to arts and music therapy for hospitalized children. A limited run of 400 copies will be pressed and sold at Krankies Coffee, and it’s certainly a worthwhile consideration as a stocking stuffer.

Tickets to Bonnaroo’s 10 th anniversary

Everyone says they want to go at least once, and the massive festival’s 10 th year from June 9-12, 2011 could simultaneously be the greatest time ever and a colossal and humbling hardship. There’s little doubt that it could be the greatest collection of live music in one spot in decades, but it’s also possible that it’s ridiculously oversold, oppressive and suffocating. Anyone willing to take a gamble on their Black Friday ticket deal will find out without sacrificing an arm and a leg.

The Magnetic Fields — 69 Love songs (Merge)

One of the great forbearers of contemporary indie-pop, Stephin Merritt’s concept for the extravagant three-disc release was that of a live musical revue. Since it’s release in 1999, it’s become one of the most beloved items in the Chapel Hill-based Merge Records’ extensive catalog, and now it’s been re-released in a limited-edition boxed set. All 69 love songs are remastered for vinyl on six 10-inch vinyl records, all housed in a super-sized 69 Love Songs box, with a 10-inch version of the original booklet, featuring liner notes written by Lemony Snicket author Daniel Handler. As a digital plus, each comes with a coupon for a download of the entire album as 320kbps MP3s.

Daft Punk — Tron: Legacy Soundtrack (Walt Disney)

As a certain French duo goes, so goes the dance music world. No electronic record has been more anticipated in 2010 than Daft Punk’s score of the forthcoming film Tron: Legacy, which makes it all the more surprising that dropped their synths almost altogether. Daft Punk instead utilized an 85-piece orchestra to produce the soundtrack and the result is one of their most complex and challenging works yet.

Pantera — Vulgar Display of Power, Far Beyond Driven, Cowboys From Hell vinyl reissues. (Rhino)

Imagine the look on the face of your favorite metalhead after he or she wakes up Christmas morning to find three thin, 12-inch squares, perfectly wrapped in matte-black paper with a glossy black ribbon, around under the tree. He opens them up to reveal the unholy trinity of Pantera — Vulgar Display of Power, Far Beyond Driven, and Cowboys From Hell — all pressed into sumptuous 180-gram vinyl double LPs. Plopping them down on a record player would be like donning a stiff, new pair of leather chaps for the first bike ride of spring — warm, familiar and badass. Word is, however, that the Vulgar Display of Power LP plays a little bit off center. Maybe make that two thin, 12-inch squares.