It's 2021 – and that means another year of birthday presents to buy and items to purchase for ourselves as a wee treat... and I think we all need a little retail therapy after the start to the year, right?
So if you're on the lookout for something special for you, your family or friends, then we have you covered here at Louder.
Below, we've picked out a selection of some of our favourite items that rock, metal and prog fans are sure to love – from CD and vinyl box sets and rock jigsaws, through to turntables, headphones, speakers and more.
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The best gifts for music lovers
Official Iron Maiden 2021 calendar
Farewell 2020. You won't be missed! Lift your spirits with this splendid A3 Iron Maiden 2021 calendar. Each month features artwork inspired by a whole bunch of Maiden’s iconic album cover art, and we think it’s worth it for the striking front cover alone.
Judas Priest Painkiller jigsaw
While their 50th anniversary celebrations were curtailed due to the pandemic, we can still raise our horns to Judas Priest with this brilliant jigsaw puzzle which has been inspired by the cover of their 1990 album Painkiller. There are also jigsaws featuring Kiss, Guns N' Roses, Rush, the Beatles and more available, meaning you'll have something to keep yourself occupied throughout the latest lockdown.
Marshall Kilburn II speaker
Marshall's iconic amps have been adorning stages of some of the world's biggest rock artists down through the years – and the audio giant have brought their expertise to the home thanks to their awesome range of speakers. You really can't go wrong with any of the Marshall speakers available, but we particularly like the Kilburn II. It's a robust slice of audio magic which delivers fab sound no matter what you throw at it.
Music magazine subscriptions
Magazines? They're a miracle in glossy paper form. And right now is the best time to buy someone a subscription. You'll be giving someone a year's worth of magazines arriving through the letterbox with a hearty thwack. A year's worth of brilliant music. A year's worth of pleasure. Or you could just buy a subscription for yourself.
Motorhead whisky and rum
Throughout their long career, Motorhead never let us down, and when it comes to their branded whisky and rum, we're happy to report that it's also top drawer stuff. The whisky was created by celebrated Swedish distillery Mackmyra and was aged in American oak casks for five years and bottled at an extremely drinkable 40% ABV. The Premium Dark Rum was aged in ex-bourbon casks and blended with Caribbean reserve rums which were aged up to eight years. It’s a perfect rum for sipping neat or for whacking into your favourite cocktail – and like Motorhead, both the whisky and rum are big, bold and pack a hell of a punch.
Motorhead hip flask
And if you're tempted by the Motorhead whisky and rum, you might want to pick up this hip flask which has been branded with the band's famous mascot Snaggletooth. Late frontman and legend Lemmy was partial to a trickle of whisky, so the fact the flask’s capacity is limited to a sensible 180ml volume is probably for the best. More classy than overkill, then.
Sony PSHX500.CEK Turntable
With the massive resurgence in vinyl – check out our guide to the best cheap vinyl deals on the market – you'll be wanting some serious kit to spin your wax on. Understandably some record players can reach some eye-popping prices, but the Sony PSHX500.CEK Turntable, as featured in our best budget turntables guide, manages to produce high-quality audio performance without breaking the bank.
AC/DC Hells Bells bedlinen
While 2020 was one of the worst years for all of us, the spirits of the rock world were significantly lifted when AC/DC released their comeback album Power Up – a record that was voted Classic Rock's album of the year.
So to celebrate the band's return, why not go all in and grab some of the Aussie rockers' very own bedlinen – complete with a massive Hells Bell just for good measure? The second design is adorned with the famous AC/DC logo, so even when you're sleeping, the warm embrace of the band will keep you toasty.
Epiphone Slash AFD Les Paul Special-II
By far the cheapest signature guitar you’re likely to find, the AFD – which stands for Appetite For Destruction – Special-II is a brilliant beginner instrument for those starting out on their music playing journey. It's also a great way to channel your inner Slash and is presented in a flame maple veneer, which makes it look extra special. Even better is the fact that not only do you get the guitar, but this package comes complete with a Slash Snakepit 15-watts amp, plus picks, a strap and a cable. A great gift idea for fans of Guns N' Roses.
Here at Louder, we’re big fans of what Sony are doing with their range of excellent headphones for music – and in particular, we really like the brilliant Sony WH-1000XM3 noise cancelling cans. They really do hit the spot for listening to rock and metal, are comfortable to wear for long listening sessions and while not in the budget category, they’re robust and great value for money. Sony have also moved up a gear by introducing the Sony WH-1000XM4, which are also brilliant but a tad more pricey. Both sets come highly recommended.
Pink Floyd: Delicate Sound Of Thunder remix
Pink Floyd’s brilliant 1988 live album Delicate Sound Of Thunder has been restored, re-edited and remixed to make it sound better than ever. It’s a classic and is out now on double CD, 3LP vinyl, Blu-ray, DVD and as a deluxe version. The new release of Delicate Sound Of Thunder has been taken from the original 35mm negatives and transferred into 4K. It’s been completely re-edited by Benny Trickett under the creative direction of Aubrey Powell from Hipgnosis, while the 5.1 surround sound audio has been remixed by David Gilmour, Andy Jackson and Damon Iddins. One for all music fans.
Metallica coffee mug
Did you know that Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett has his very own coffee range? Well if you didn’t, you do now! And let’s face it, who doesn’t love a cup of Joe in the mornings to help shake away the cobwebs? Now you can dip into your favourite brew in the company of Kirk, James, Lars and Rob with this neat Metallica coffee mug. There are plenty of designs out there, but we like this one best.
Slipknot Pentagram rucksack
Show off your love of all things Slipknot with this striking rucksack courtesy of Rocksax – see what they did there? It’ll be the perfect accompaniment when attending festivals later this year – because they will be back and better than ever – and even if you’re not planning on spending a mud-covered weekend next summer, this is ideal for lugging all your stuff around on a daily basis.
Amazon Echo Studio
If you want one of the Loudest Bluetooth speakers currently on the market, then look no further than the bone-shaking Amazon Echo Studio – a real behemoth in the audio world. It has superior sound quality – which is reflected in the higher price – it comes with the super-intelligent Amazon Alexa on board, and it represents the smart speaker world finding a new level of sophistication and power.
Rammstein wall clock
You could be extremely generous and get the Rammstein fan in your life a ticket for one of their 2021 shows. Or, given that every fan probably has a ticket and is already applying the fire repellent cream, you can't go far wrong with this bespoke clock made from an old Vinyl LP. Sadly, it doesn't shoot fire as the hands strike 12, but your ceiling is probably thankful for that.
Apple iPad Air
This lightweight Apple tablet hits the sweet spot between price and performance, meaning you can stream, game and work knowing you have the right tool for the job. The stunning 10.5-inch Retina display features Apple’s True Tone technology and, while under the hood is the A12 Bionic processor which delivers all the power you'll need.