2007 Holiday Gift Guide: Let the Music Play!

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Yes, that’s Shirley Jones bearing gifts… Or she’s a Partridge in a pear tree, perhaps?

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At the risk of sending you into a panic by saying this… “HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!” I know, I know… it’s not even Thanksgiving quite yet, but it is Thanksgiving Week, so in addition to shopping around for a big roasty bird, fresh cranberries and tons of wine and hooch for the big feasting day, it’s time you also started thinking about your holiday gift-buying plans. (Oh, like you haven’t already…)

Starting today and running all this week, we’ll be offering up some good gift ideas here at NewNowNext, with it all culminating this Friday when the entire day’s worth of posts will be a slew of cool things to buy. This’ll correspond to a big promo stunt on Logo that’ll have me on-air (yikes!) with experts telling you cool things to buy in all kinds of categories, like foodie items, cool travel gear, “green” gifts, gadgets for you techie friends, hot design gifts, and so on!

Right now, I’m gonna start off by giving you a quick list of hot music picks to give this holiday season. You can get all (or most of these) at the Logo store, or just find them where you can… There’s bound to be something here for just about everybody!

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Rufus Wainwright Does Judy at Carnegie Hall
Yes, our very own “gay messiah” has his blissfully barmy concert tribute to Judy Garland hitting record-sellers on December 4th. It’s a two-disc extravaganza full of this fabulously orchestrated renditions of all the standards Judy herself served up at her legendary gig way back when. The CD is full of Wainwright’s cool and daffy gay onstage banter, too. A mega-must for fans.

And you might also wanna snatch up the live DVD of Rufus’ “Judy” concert, out on December 4th, too. It’s got the subtle title of Rufus! Rufus! Rufus! Does Judy! Judy! Judy! Live at the London Palladium. And it’s just that…

Many more musical gift goodies after the jump…

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I’m Not There – Original Movie Soundtrack
The soundtrack from the new film about Bob Dylan by gay director Todd Haynes is pretty awesome. The movie has a gaggle of different actors (Heath Ledger, Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett for starters) playing Dylan, and similarly the soundtrack has a massive assortment of today’s best and most eclectic musicians covering his tunes. Cat Power, The Hold Steady, Eddie Vedder, Los Lobos, Yo La Tengo, Sonic Youth, Antony & The Johnsons, Willie Nelson, Sufjan Stevens… The amazing list goes on. Any music-phile will die for this one.

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Love, Luther
Luther Vandross was a modern soul legend. And sure, we may never get the official skinny on was-he-or-wasn’t-he gay, but I think we all can make our own decisions on that one. But nonetheless, the man was a master at delivering uplifting, heartfelt and sometimes downright slamming R&B gems that still get you swooning today. Love, Luther is this fall’s hot box set compiling the best of the best, and it comes in a handsome case and with a 58-page book, too! Simply, it’s “never too much,” okay?

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Celine Dion, Taking Chances
The loopy skinny French-Canadian diva with the voice that can sink (or raise, I’m not sure) the Titanic is back with a just-released full-on studio pop album. It’s Ms. D at her full-throated best, with tunes that including paint-peeling ballads and driving pop/rock (she even covers Heart’s “Alone”). You know there’s somebody on your list who liiives for her. Give ’em a treat and get them the CD/DVD full of bonus stuff. Brava!

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Sigur Rós, Hvarf/Heim & Heima
Jonsi and his Icelandic pals are back with still more of their blissfully inventive, orchestral rock that they do so well. This time out, they’re giving a two-disc serving of music—“Hvarf” is a five-song EP of long, sprawling tracks and the second disc “Heim” is a collection of acoustic tunes from their back catalogue. As a companion, pick up the DVD, Heima, which is a documentary film following the boys as they tour around Iceland playing the music on their new double-discs. Clever, eh?

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Mary J. Blige, Growing Pains
She’s just Mary, and she’s just fabulous, too. The queen of hip-hop/soul has a solid single out now with “Just Fine” and you can bet the entire Growing Pains album is gonna be more thumping fierceness, full of major Mary ballads, jams and emotional, aural outpourings. It’s out on December 18th, just in time for some hella good “ho ho ho.”

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Young Frankenstein: The New Mel Brooks Musical
“He vas… He vas… my boyfriend!!!!!” Frau Blucher (this time around played by Andrea Martin, who does a pretty fab job, fyi) and the entire gang of Mel Brooks misfit have reassembled onstage for the just-opened new Broadway musical. Is it the next Producers? Hard to say for sure… But with big, new and improved takes on the “Puttin’ on the Ritz” number and a killer cast featuring the likes of Roger Bart, Sutton Foster and the beyond amazing Megan Mullally, this is a total must for the theater queen on your list. “Oh, sweet mystery of life at last I foooouuunnd yoooouuuuu!!!” You get the idea…

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Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Deluxe 2-Disc Complete Edition
Attend the tale of Sweeney all of you Broadway babes, Sondheim junkies, Tim Burton fans, Johnny Depp groupies, and all-around movie freaks. Alas, the movie won’t feature Patti Lupone sporting a hot goth bob and toting around a tuba, but you can bet it’s gonna be a trippy, dark and deliciously twisted ride. And Johnny Depp in a musical. Yes, please! You have to wait until December 18th (the film premieres on Dec. 21st), but by that time, you’ll be ready for some operatically drama-filled musical darkness to counter those cloying visions of sugar plums that have been dancing ’round your egg-nog filled noggin.

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David Gray’s Greatest Hits
The English-born,Wales-raised singer’s new greatest hits disc may be the perfect gift for your best bud who just loves those sensitive, hard-scrabble singer/songwriter types. And there’s nobody better at than David Gray. This collections delivers tunes from Gray’s great White Ladder album (including “Babylon,” “Please Forgive Me” and the brilliant “This Year’s Love”), as well as less-heard earlier gems. And there are two new songs, too! Maybe it’s time for a “Gray Christmas?”

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David Bowie Box
Speaking of musical Davids, the biggest of all has gotta be David Bowie. And devout fans are gonna be giddy of the release of the “David Bowie Box” (on December 4th) which is a commemorative assemblage of Bowie’s five most recent studio albums, including 60+ bonus tracks and all coming in a cool limited edition slipcase. Yep, it’s a lot of Bowie…

And speaking of Bowie and the holidays, I can’t resist posting this video, which is one of the bets holiday-themed TV moments ever…

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Hot Swedes: Kristoffer Ragnstam, Jens Lekman, Johnossi
If you wanna look very cool and indie/Euro this holiday season, give your more astute friends music they may not have heard of. Right now Sweden is an insanely fertile ground for hot rock/pop talent, and while most of know about The Hives, Peter Bjorn and John and even pop tartlet Robyn by this time, here are three you should get to know.

Kristoffer Ragnstam – He’s totally cute, and his music treads a pop/rock line, somewhere between Supergrass, Beck and Bloc Party.

Jens Lekman – Blissfully melodic and oddball tunes, full of delicate longing and kooky wit. A much less gloomy, more bubbly Magnetic Fields.

Johnossi – Two cute young Swedes who rock out with a big sound, White Stripes-style.

And finally…

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Kylie Minogue, X
Let’s wrap this up with a bona fide diva! Yes, Kylie’s latest, the much-awaited, X, is out soon as an import. Splurge and buy this one for yourself.



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