This is the season for racing and rapping: It’s early December, guys. If you haven’t sorted out your gifts yet, you really need to get into this shit before delivery dates become an issue. It’ll be Christmas Eve before you know it, and the last thing you want is to scramble to try and buy something passable at 7-11. If you’re running out of something cool to order, we can help. Read on.

(Brett Callwood)

Congratulations to the good people at Rhino for the new deluxe box set for the Replacements debut album. Sorry mom, I forgot to take out the trash. One LP and four CDs – that’s five discs of material that came out of that phenomenal replacement period of the early ’80s when the sound was gloriously raw and rough, and very punky. It’s five versions of “Takin ‘a Ride”, for example. It’s only for fans, but each record offers a fascinating glimpse into this most fascinating group. There’s also a book that features an insightful interview and some great photos. It was assembled with love – there are hours of joy there.

Seasons of Mist has four Christian Death album series that feature Valor Kand. So that means no Only Theater of Pain, or the three albums recorded by founder Rozz Williams under the name in the mid-90s. But from the 1984’s Disaster ballet, until 2015 The root of all evilutions, we’re getting some of the darkest, wettest, and most experimental work in the bunch. It’s not very Christmas, but it’s perfect for the winter months.

(shop.madonna.com)

Madonna has some awesome clothes available at her Madame X tour / movie store. We love the “Disturb the Peace” hoodie in particular – suitably punk and determined. It is cozy and warm (80% cotton, 20% polyester) and is resistant to machine washes. But more importantly, it looks great. Available at shop.madonna.com.

(DC shoes)

Black Sabbath has partnered with DC Shoes for a series of great casual shoes, as well as hats, shirts, and more. The sneakers and indoor shoes look great and high quality. That’s all to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Master of reality album. DC says: “50 years after the 1971 album, which defined the genre, Master of reality, DC is celebrating one of the most important heavy metal albums of all time. The Black Sabbath Collection pays homage to this anniversary and to the inextricable link between the band and skateboarding.

Agronautix has done it again. Their Throbbleheads series has long produced excellent punk rock action figure toys to collect. LA punk fans will love their new Circle Jerks ‘skank man’ logo / mascot sculpture. The guy is half skank, his head nods as he walks. It’s superb, and in a limited edition. Plus, they have a wonderful new Throbblehead HR (from Bad Brains) – the dude looks both serene and ready to go.

(Aggronautix)

Black & White & Weird All Over: The Lost Photographs of “Weird Al” Yankovic ’83 -’86 is a strange and glorious collection of old photos of the enigmatic eccentric, taken by his drummer and photographer Jon Schwartz. It’s a sweet and affectionate portrayal of an artist who we often reduce to ‘the idiot’ – although he shows his silly side, the body of the work is also very human and warm.

David Thomas, the main man of Cleveland punk curling pioneer Pere Ubu, remixed two pieces of the band’s contrasting work: 1998’s Pennsylvania and 2002 St. Arkansas. The former is slightly lighter, the latter darker and this is reflected in the light blue / dark blue vinyl which helps make these reissues so pretty. But musically, Pere Ubu has always been an eccentric, experimental, and gloriously clumsy beast. Thomas sounds like the crazy brother of Black Francis, and that it remains the case for a long time. These albums, via Fire Records, are well worth a listen for fans new and old, and for those who have never heard the band but have always been ubu-curious.

(A & M / UMe)

A & M / UMe Records celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Cat Stevens classic Teaser and the Fire Cat album with a monster box set. The 1971 album was Stevens’ fifth, and the sequel to flawless Tea for the Tillerman. The artist later known as Yusuf released an updated version of this album last year, titled Tea for the Tillerman 2, but this box surpasses it. There is so much to dig, including an alternate version of the album and a live album on vinyl, four CDs including a remastered of the album plus a ton of demos and live material, a 7 “single from” Moonshadow “and a blu-ray with live video and more footage. There is also a hardback book with lots of photos, cover notes and more, plus an illustration book. Everything is beautiful and was put together with love, and of course it helps that the album looks great to begin with.

K-Pop girl group Blackpink have released a line of super cute bags, just in time for the holidays. Elegant, elegant and very manageable thanks to the numerous pockets and shoulder straps, the bags are mainly available in black and pink (quite suitably). A great gift for the exuberant family pop fan.

(Bugatti Group)

Likewise, the Bugatti group has teamed up with legendary rockers the Rolling Stones for a range of bags – luggage, wallets, shoulder straps and more. The black bag we received, which will honestly replace our old laptop bag, is great for multiple uses. Several zippered sections, an adjustable strap and handles make it super useful. Plus, the iconic Stones rubber logo on the front crowns it all. Available on bfashionbags.com.

Low-key design firm Lucie Kaas has a range of simple and stylish action figures that look a bit like more stylish peg dolls (remember that?) They sent us the Aladdin Sane – Wooden Bowie that looks majestic in her golden suit, bright red hair and iconic lightning bolt across her face. It’s an instantly recognizable rock & roll image, given the 3D treatment of your living room. They also have Freddie Mercury, Elton John, Prince, The Men from Run DMC, and more. Available at luciekaas.com.

Darren Johnson’s book Decades: The Sweet in the 1970s details, as the title suggests, this decade for the seminal English brilliant rock band. Johnson pointed out early on that The Sweet (as well as Slade, Mud, etc.) did not have the same respect as other glam artists such as David Bowie and Roxy Music, and that their songs were often seen as “forgettable.” by critics. In fact, the ’70s release of Sweet turned out to be unforgettable. The book transports us through their peak times and incredible songs that include “Ballroom Blitz” and “Blockbuster”. Then it comes out the other side, when things haven’t gone very well. In retrospect, however, it’s great to see the Sweet get the attention it deserves.


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