Smile Politely

Local gifts for the music lover

The image displays two vinyl record covers. The cover on the left shows a close-up of a person’s shoulder and hair, with the person wearing a purple dress. The cover on the right features a cartoon of two people hugging a plant. The people are naked and their bodies form the shape of a heart. The plant is in a pot and has large leaves. The text on the right cover reads “Mother Earth’s Plantasia - warm earth music for plants…and the people who love them”. There is a red satin ribbon and a bow on top.
Local Music Gifts

As the holiday season approaches, shopping locally offers not only a chance to find unique gifts, but also supports our vibrant community here in Champaign-Urbana. Our local record stores are treasure troves for music enthusiasts, filled with items that range from rare collectibles to heartwarming classics. So, I went around to each of the stores in town — Record Swap in Lincoln Square Mall, See You CD and Vinyl in Urbana, and Exile on Main Street in Champaign — to talk to the owners and have them recommend some cool and interesting collectibles for this holiday season. You may see something on this list perfect for a friend or family member, or something you can hint about as a gift for yourself. Here are 12 handpicked gifts that will delight music collectors across quite of few genres of preference:

Beatles Box Set at Record Swap

The Beatles – The Beatles Original Studio Recordings 14 Vinyl Record Set

Available at Record Swap for $550, this comprehensive 14-record set is a treasure trove for any Beatles enthusiast. It encompasses the legendary band’s original studio recordings, offering a journey through their groundbreaking music. Perfect for introducing timeless classics to a new generation or rekindling fond memories, this set is an impressive addition to any music collection.

The Rolling Stones Boxed Set from Record Swap

The Rolling Stones – The Rolling Stones in Mono 16 Vinyl Record Set

This exclusive collection, priced at $350 at Record Swap, features 16 vinyl records by The Rolling Stones in mono. It’s a unique opportunity to experience the raw, authentic sound of this iconic band as it was originally recorded. A must-have for fans, it captures the essence of rock ‘n’ roll in its purest form.

The Cure Distengration CD at Record Swap

The CureDisintegration CD Long Box Version

A rare find at Record Swap, The Cure’s Disintegration in a CD long box version is a collector’s gem. Though not yet priced, it’s known for its rarity and value. This album, celebrated for its haunting melodies and emotional depth, is an ideal gift for someone who appreciates the darker side of the music spectrum.

Guns and Roses at Record Swap

Guns and Roses – Live Like a Suicide, Cassette Version

Find this exceptional Guns and Roses cassette at Record Swap. Live Like a Suicide in cassette format is particularly rare, making it a unique and nostalgic gift. Perfect for fans of classic rock, this album brings back the raw energy of the 80s rock scene in a format that’s becoming increasingly coveted, and captures the raw, snarling essence of a live GNR performance on classic cassette form.

Grateful Dead Fillmore West Box Set at Exile on Main

The Grateful Dead – Fillmore West 1969 Box Set

Priced at $124.99 at Exile on Main Street, this box set captures The Grateful Dead’s legendary performances at Fillmore West in 1969. It’s an immersive experience into the band’s early days, offering a mix of psychedelic and improvisational styles that defined a generation. An ideal gift for the Deadhead in your family or circle of friends.

Ornette Coleman Box Set at Exile on Main

Ornette Coleman – The Atlantic Years 10 Vinyl Record Box Set

Ornette Coleman’s groundbreaking jazz is showcased in this 10-record box set available at Exile on Main Street for $169.99. Known for his innovative approach to jazz, Coleman’s music in this collection is both challenging and rewarding, perfect for someone who appreciates the depth and complexity of jazz.

Harvest by Neil Young 50th Anniversary at Exile on Main

Neil Young – Harvest 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition

Harvest, the iconic album by Neil Young, celebrates its 50th anniversary with a deluxe edition release, offering a rich, remastered journey through Young’s influential soundscapes. This special edition is a treasure for fans and collectors alike, encapsulating a pivotal moment in rock history. Priced at $124.99, it can be purchased from Exile on Main Street.

Introducing the Beatles at Exile on Main St.

The Beatles – Introducing The Beatles

Another Beatles’ gem at Exile on Main Street, this early album’s price is yet to be determined as it was a new addition to the inventory. Introducing The Beatles is a chance to explore the band’s beginnings and witness their evolution. It’s a thoughtful gift for both seasoned fans and those new to the Beatles’ world.

Charlie Brown Christmas and Tatsu Yamashita at See You CD and Vinyl

A Charlie Brown Christmas Deluxe Edition Soundtrack by Vince Guaraldi

This soundtrack, available at See You CD and Vinyl for $32.99, captures the essence of the cherished holiday TV show “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Vince Guaraldi’s music, with its soothing jazz melodies, is synonymous with the holiday season. It’s an ideal gift for those who appreciate the simpler, classic joys of Christmas, offering a gentle introduction to jazz through a beloved television classic.

Tatsu Yamashita – It’s a Poppin’ Time Vinyl Collection

This collection, priced at $81.99 at See You CD and Vinyl, is an excellent way to introduce someone to the world of City Pop through Tatsuro Yamashita’s blend of Jazz, Doo-Wop, and Pop. It’s a unique and enlightening musical journey.

Taylor Swift and Plantasia at See You CD and Vinyl

Taylor Swift – Speak Now, Taylor’s Version

Taylor Swift’s Speak Now – Taylor’s Version, available at See You CD and Vinyl for $54.99, is a vibrant 3-LP set on Orchid Marble Vinyl, including previously unreleased songs. It’s a perfect gift for those who love to relive their favorite tracks with Taylor’s special personal touch on top.

Mort Garson – Mother Earth’s Plantasia Reissue Limited Edition Green Vinyl

For $25.99 at See You CD and Vinyl, this album is described as “Warm earth music for plants, and the people who love them.” It’s a quirky and charming gift for plant lovers and music enthusiasts alike, blending the worlds of flora and melody.

This is by no means a list representative of all of the types, formats, genres, artists, and collector items available right here in town. I enjoyed my visit to all three stores, and was blown away about the variety of items and artists all three stores had. I look forward to returning to all of them soon. Consider shopping local, because these are three establishments we’ll want around for a while. 

Record Swap
119 Lincoln Square (Lincoln Square Mall)

See You CD and Vinyl
208 W Main St #2714

Exile on Main Street
100 N Chestnut St #120

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