Great gifts for music lovers

Published on: November 13, 2022 10:34 PM EST|Updated on: November 15, 2022 1:12 PM EST

Illustration for The Baltimore Banner's gift guide

Baltimore is an underrated music city, though over the years it has had a good number of artists and movements break through to the outside world. But beyond the actual sounds that come from here, you can find a plethora of really cool music-related gifts.

Marino Infantry
(Courtesy photo)

Marino Infantry

The Marino Infantry collective is a Baltimore/DMV-based group of rappers, skaters and creators. It’s headed by Baltimore’s A$AP Ant, who rose to fame over a decade ago as the only non-New Yorker in the legendary A$AP Mob hip-hop crew. Since his early days in the spotlight, Ant has gone on to establish his own crew, which regularly releases compilation albums. More consistently, though, Marino drops clothing items that are an extension of their musical sensibilities: honoring urban culture through a nostalgic lens.

Throughout most of the pandemic, the collective traveled around the country doing pop-up shops where they sold merch that matched their host cities. And right now on their site, you can grab a couple of items for yourself or a special person for the holiday season. One of my favorites is a hoodie with a nod to the early 2000s Nickelodeon hit, Rocket Power, for $140.


Ottobar Season Pass
(Courtesy photo)

Ottobar Season Pass

The Ottobar is one of Baltimore’s most trusted music venues, with their downstairs serving as a stop for touring acts while the upstairs has been one of the more consistent spots to catch a vibe, a drink and a match at the pool table in the city. The venue recently announced an unbelievably affordable deal: a pass for every upcoming show they have from next month until Jan.uary 1, 2024, for only $175. Passes are limited, so it’d be wise to hop on this ASAP.


Quick And Eazy DJ Academy
(Getty Images)

Quick And Eazy DJ Academy

Being the supplier of vibes is a fantasy that most musically inclined people develop at some point in their lives. Taking control of the Bluetooth system or the aux cord are typically feasible at most parties in 2022, but for those who wanna take that extra step to learn the traditional skill of DJing, there’s luckily a place for that in Baltimore and the teachers are some of the best a student could hope for. Nationally heralded DJ and radio personality — on both Baltimore’s 92.3 and DC’s 93.9 — Quicksilva (who just had a street named after him in his native Northeast Baltimore neighborhood) and DJ Eazy’s Quick and Eazy DJ Academy offer education on the core skills of the craft. The course offers three classes: Intro to DJing, Intermediate DJing and Intro to Scratching. All are about a month long and range from $300 to $400.


Vintage Maryland trucker hat
(Courtesy photo)

1719 Aliceanna Street

This new shop located in the heart of Fells Point may not have a name, but everything inside of its cozy quarters makes up for that with ease. Owner and artist Arvay Adams sells hard-to-find vintage sportswear and memorabilia from the ’80s-2000s that he sometimes customizes with in-store embroidery. Items include Ravens gear from around the time of their arrival in 1996, retro Air Jordans, Pimlico Race Course caps from God-knows-when, and more. Sports apparel, streetwear and the like have always been inextricably tied to music, especially hip-hop culture. So if you or a loved one appreciates rare pieces in that realm of fashion, this is the place for you.


Meyerhoff Hall
(Courtesy photo)

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra gift certificate

In July, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra announced that it had hired 29-year-old Jonathon Heyward to be its next conductor — the first person of color to hold that title in the orchestra’s 106-year history. Considering that the BSO had cut shows from its season, presumably due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the news was a jolt of optimism for supporters. If you know anyone who appreciates the symphony and wants to experience Heyward’s artistry during the 2022-2023 season, a perfect holiday gift would be a BSO gift certificate If you head to their website, there’s an option for you to add as much you please to the gift card.


Appalachian Bluegrass Shoppe
(Courtesy photo)

Music lessons from Appalachian Bluegrass Shoppe

The average person may not equate the Baltimore area to Appalachian bluegrass — a regional sub-genre of country music from the Appalachia. But there has been a strong Bluegrass scene here ever since people from the mountains started to head into cities in the 1940s for factory work. And with West Virginia bordering Maryland to the west, that meant a great many Appalachian folks came this way. The Stoney Mountain Boys, a breakout Baltimore group in the 1950s, were actually the first bluegrass band to perform at New York’s Carnegie Hall. Fast forward to 1960 tot the opening of Catonsville’s Appalachian Bluegrass Shoppe, which still operates today. It’s the perfect local spot to grab banjos, guitars or ukuleles. Even better are the lessons they offer on playing these instruments. Weekly 30-minute sessions are $25 a pop and are typically purchased one month at a time — ranging between $100 and $125.


Infinity Knives
(Gustavo Marinho for The Baltimore Banner)

Albums from Baltimore artists on Bandcamp

Bandcamp is often heralded as the most artist-friendly music streaming platform available. As opposed to the pennies that the major streamers like Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal give artists for their plays, Bandcamp only takes a 10% to 15% share of revenues. And during the heat of the pandemic, they held Bandcamp Fridays, where artists received 100% of the revenue from their album sales. So if you’re close with anyone who’s a fan of what’s coming out of Baltimore musically, consider buying them vinyl, cassettes, non-streaming mp3s and merch for the holidays, much of which is available on Bandcamp. It’ll be a plus for the recipient but also for local artists trying to make a few extra bucks before the year ends. Some artists to consider are Infinity Knives, Miss Kam, Abdu Ali, Chaz Monroe and Queen Wolf.


Albumns at The Sound Garden
(Courtesy photo)

The Sound Garden

Another obvious choice is Fells Point’s celebrated record shop, The Sound Garden. The shop has been in existence since 1993 but has remained unrivaled in the number of records, albums and music-related trinkets you can find. So, as with every year, head down to Thames Street and grab an album you’ve never heard of for the people you love.