Today is one of those days where we don’t really have a unifying theme in The 2023 PopCult Gift Guide.

The one thread that ties our three recommendations together is that they’re really, really cool.

Our selections today include the first album in seven years from a beloved Ska/Pop band, a new collectible figure based on a classic vintage toys and a selection of some of the coolest T Shirts you’ll ever find (in advance of tomorrow’s all-shirt-related Flashback picks).

After beating my magazine deadline this week, I have decided to extend The 2023 PopCult Gift Guide until November 30, rather than end it next Wednesday and then do bonus selections next month. This makes life less complicated for everybody.

And now, on with the coolness…

Theatre of the Absurd presents C’est La Vie
by Madness
Available on CD, Vinyl and Download from Amazon.
Also for sale anywhere cool music is sold

The thirteenth album by beloved UK Ska pioneers, Madness, finds the band in top form after seven years out of the studio. With 14 full-length songs (and several brief, surreal interludes), the band has delivered a quasi-concept album that address the absurdity of live in a post-pandemic world.

Decades ago Madness mutated from their Ska roots into something more along the lines of a New Wave reincarnation of The Kinks at their best, and that continues on Theatre of the Absurd presents C’est La Vie as the once-Nutty Boys, now Nutty Old Men, rail against lockdowns, masking, child-trafficking and more, all in a satirical tone, tongue in cheek and entertaining as hell.

The band describes the recording as “the perfect antidote to the chaos of the past few years.” With six of the seven original members, the band has somehow managed to remain in form and sound as good as they ever did.

Theatre of the Absurd presents C’est La Vie  is released today, and should be available where ever records are sold.

It’s a perfect gift for fans of Madness, New Wave Music or very British pop concept albums.

The Great Garloo Action Figure
by The Nacelle Company
$19.99 plus tax and shipping

The Great Garloo was one of the giant wired-remote control animatronic monster toys made by Marx in the1960s.

So striking was his design that six decades after he graced toystore shelves, people still recognize him.

Now Nacelle has updated his design a bit, and after a successful run as a ReAction figure, they’ve unleashed a 3″ tall Garloo on the world, complete with packaging that replicates the original Marx toy.

As they say, “A 60’s Monster toy icon THE GREAT GARLOO is back and ready to reign over your toy collection, as a vibrant, original sculpted collectible.”

Not-so-big anymore, green, and with a face only a mother or a Monster Kid could love, Garloo can’t wait to infiltrate your home and use it as his base to take over the world.

Collectors should be warned that Garloo does bear an uncanny resemblance to Pete Davidson. This is a nice item for Marx Toy Collectors, vintage toy and monster fans, or just anybody with an affinity for the Garlooesque.

Available directly from The Nacelle Company.

The Zerostreet Threadless Shop
featuring wearable art by Robert Jimenez
Visit The Store HERE

Okay, this is almost a Flashback pick, but Robert’s added so many cool designs lately, and tomorrow’s T-Shirt Flashback entry is pretty crowded, so I wanted to include it here with other random coolness.

Robert’s Threadless Shop is loaded with over 150 cool designs, all created by Robert. You’ll see everything from Tiki-influenced designs to some of his Fearsome Weirdos monsters to a few Wacky Packages-style parodies and lots of pop-culture references. Where else are you going to find a T-shirt featuring the edible seaweed that Milton Berle was trying to sell in It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World?

Oh, and there’s lots of monkeys and/or apes in the mix.

Jimenez is a very talented artist who works in a cool lowbrow art/pop culture area, and when he’s not designing trading cards or painting pop culture parodies or fez-wearing monkeys, he’s an in-demand Tiki illustrator.

His designs are available on a very wide range of shirt colors, and in sizes ranging from small to 3XL. Threadess is good about this. Their shirts are very high-quality and comfortable. You can browse the designs and order them HERE.

There’s a very good chance that you’ll find a cool design or five for the T-shirt wearing person on your shopping list. We will have another item by Robert in the Gift Guide later in November.