Today in The 2023 PopCult Gift Guide we have three recommendations of music in physical formats for those of you who want to wrap stuff for under the tree.

Most of these are available as vinyl sets, but some are also sold as CDs. The links today will take you to Amazon, for the sake of expediency, but be advised that these can probably be ordered through your local music shop, or found online from other sources.

A week from today our Gift Guide will be devoted to Beatles stuff, so we stayed away from the Fab Four today.  Our three picks include a new album by a legendary group, a boxed set that collects almost the entire work of a unique talent who left us forty years ago, and the work of a famed record producer with an amazing list of clients.

It should go without saying that these are recommended for the adventurous popular music lover on your holiday shopping list.

Klaus Nomi
LP, Box Set, Import
$105.19 (plus shipping)

This is a collector’s vinyl box set containing four vinyl editions of Klaus Nomi’s albums: Klaus Nomi (1981), Simple Man (1982), In Concert (1986), and Encore (1983).

These records have been out of print for years, and the man is long overdue for some recognition and exposure to new audiences.

Klaus Nomi, was a German countertenor noted for his wide vocal range and an unusual, otherworldly stage persona. He was a pioneer of New Wave music, who made his first impression on mainstream audiences as one of David Bowie’s plastic-clad backup singers on a 1979 appearance on Saturday Night Live. Later his performance of Kristian Hoffman’s “Total Eclipse” was one of the highlights of URGH! A Music War in 1981.

Sadly, Nomi was also one of the first major artists lost to the AIDS crisis, back in 1983.

Nomi was known for his bizarre and visionary theatrical live performances, heavy make-up, unusual costumes, and a highly stylized signature hairdo that flaunted a receding hairline. His songs were wildly eclectic, ranging from synthesizer-laden interpretations of classical opera to covers of 1960s pop standards like Chubby Checker’s “The Twist” and Lou Christie’s “Lightnin’ Strikes.”

Lovers of New Wave music will love this collection of Nomi’s work. It collects all the music he released during his lifetime, along with a posthumous live album, which is only available on vinyl in this box set.  Check out his breakthrough tune here…

The Pretenders
LP and CD
between $12 and $18

The Pretenders return with RELENTLESS, their fourteenth studio album.

Arriving with the impulsiveness and attitude that at once defines the band’s eternal spirit, RELENTLESS is a clearly defined snapshot of where The Pretenders are in 2023.

RELENTLESS is the second consecutive Pretenders album to be written as a collaboration between Chrissie Hynde and the band’s resident guitar hero, James Walbourne (renown for his work with Dave Gahan, Jerry Lee Lewis, and The Rails amongst many more).

Produced by David Wrench and recorded at Battery Studios in West London, the album’s 12 tracks feature what Chrissie describes as “The Pretenders Collective.” This extended band features James Walbourne (guitars), Kris Sonne (drums), Chris Hill (double bass), Dave Page (bass) and Carwyn Ellis (keyboards and guitars).

RELENTLESS also features a long hoped-for collaboration with the esteemed composer Jonny Greenwood (Radiohead, The Smile), who provides the string arrangement and conducted the 12 Ensemble for the album’s beautiful closing track, “I Think About You Daily.”

This new album is a real treat for longtime fans, and a good introduction to the band for folks who haven’t been around to enjoy the for the past 43 years.

Here’s a sample…

Various Artists
Produced By Tony Visconti  
Box Set, Import
6 LP set or4 CD set

Another archival treat from Demon Records, Produced by Tony Visconti is a new definitive retrospective compilation assembled with the assistance of the legendary record producer hiimself, Tony Visconti.

Says Visconti, “This boxset covers five and a half decades of my efforts in the art of making iconic recordings. Some of it is familiar and some will have a eureka moment, ‘I didn’t know Visconti produced that one!’ I am honored that Demon Records took on this enormous task.”

Often described as one of the most important producers in rock, Tony Visconti has helped create countless classic musical moments. His work can be heard on celebrated albums by artists such as T. Rex, Procol Harum, The Moody Blues and Thin Lizzy to name but a few.

This new collection features 73 tracks personally curated by Visconti, gathering together some of his favorite production work from across his career. It includes tracks by Sparks, Thin Lizzy, T. Rex, U2, Dexys Midnight Runners, Gentle Giant, The Boomtown Rats, Manic Street Preachers, The Good, The Bad & The Queen, and many more.

The vinyl box is a Limited edition of 1,000 units, and includes an exclusive print signed by Tony Visconti. The set also includes a 60 page booklet with previously unseen photographs, an introduction by Tony Visconti, extensive track by track liner notes by Mojo writer Mark Paytress, and tributes from a selection of the featured artists. The CD box set includes an 80 page book.

This is amazing summation of an incredible career. Visconti has worked with everyone from Bowie and U2 to T. Rex and The Alarm. The artist line-up is breathtaking.

Recommended for any fan of rock music of the last 50-plus years.  Here’s a short trailer…