We've all got that one music obsessed friend or relative we all have nightmares about being given in the annual Kris Kindle. Usually, this means a whole lot of research into who or what is the latest big thing, or if they're a total muzo, the next big thing is more appropriate. While we don't claim to be bonafide music aficionados, we do think that you'll be guaranteed to find something to satisfy your muzo friend's needs for at least another year.
Everyone, especially us, loves to dance around their home when they're alone, or even when they're not. With the rise of streaming services on smartphones such as Spotify, the need for traditional stereos and cd players are a thing of the past. Bluetooth speakers are taking over homes but they're not exactly cheap. Step forward the smartphone amplifier from Paul Cocksedge Studios. The amplifier, which contains no wiring or mechanical devices, is made from recycled 12" vinyl LPs. Its delicately engineered shape allows optimum noise levels at little cost. Available from NotOnTheHighStreet.com
The Irish music scene is in the strongest position it's been in a long, long time. So what better way to celebrate this than gifting one of this year's best Irish albums. Our favourites this year, in no particular order (hat-tip to Dermot O'Leary), are Delorentos' Night Becomes Light, Hozier's self-titled debut Hozier, We Cut Corners' sophomore effort?Think Nothing. Little Matador's Little Matador and the return of Damien Rice with My Favourite Faded Fantasy. Of course, all of these are available from your local music shop and online.
Of course, it's not only been a great year for music in Ireland. The music industry in general has seen a huge influx of top quality albums across every genre. The queen of pop Taylor Swift returned with 1989 which holds that rare quality of being able to appeal to all sorts of music fans. St. Vincent's fourth album St. Vincent is being lauded as the album of the year across the board and based on her performance at Electric Picnic this year, we're not surprised. It seems it was a good year for self-titled albums as other favourites of ours included eponymous offerings from Royal Blood and Eagulls. We also loved the wonderful Alt-J's This Is All Yours. As above, you can find all of these at your local music store or shop for them online.
If you're not sure any of those would satisfy the needs of your muzo mates then perhaps letting them choose what they listen to is the way to go. The ultimate playlist that is Spotify's premium ad-free service is available for €9.99 a month. If a year's subscription is slightly outside your price range, worry not. If your friend is anything like us, gifting them a voucher for just a few months subscription would be enough to get them hooked and they'll soon be paying the bills themselves.
Do you find in-ear earphones highly frustrating? Find yourself repeatedly asking yourself the same questions? Which one's left? Which one's right? WHY DO THEY KEEP FALLING OUT!? (...and breathe) Well, if you or your friends are passionate about music then Sennheiser's Momentum 1.0 on-ear headphones are the only way to listen to music from now on. They've been lauded as the best headphones to be released this year and boast supreme comfort and unbeatable audio quality. It's a no-brainer really. Available from Amazon.