Look, if you’re gonna in on the whole Dad Rock thing, you need to really go in on it. And what better way than with the soft, smooth sounds of Sweet Baby James himself? Presented here in one handsome box set are newly remastered versions of his first six albums, which contain a frankly shocking number of hits, from “Fire and Rain,” to “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)” and, oh man, JT’s version of “You’ve Got a Friend” by Carole King.
Dads have a way of becoming — how should we put this? — stuck in their ways, which we all know is a direct path to cultural obsolescence. Save them from themselves with a very good record that came out this year. Cate LeBon is a Welsh songwriter who makes stately but out-there art-pop that somehow manages to be warm and inviting as well. Dad Rock for the enlightened dad.
The first Vampire Weekend record in five years is a surprisingly appropriate gift for the holiday, seeing as frontman Ezra Koenig has left behind the collegiate musings of the their early work and embraced his new role as a husband and, yes, a father. They continue to sound like no other band working, but, refreshingly, they do so with guitars at the forefront — an even more impressive feat given how the instrument’s fallen out of favor in recent years. Much has been made of Koenig’s embrace of jam music, and while it’s probably been overstated, it’s definitely there, and it’s definitely enjoyable.
If dad’s dropping a whole bunch of coin on new vinyl all the time, help him protect his investment with the hands-down best inner sleeves in the game. They’re extremely expensive as far as inner sleeves go, but they perform better than any others you’ll find, leaving his records 100% free of static.
$35 for 100
There is no greater enemy of a vinyl setup than excessive vibration, and in the war against excessive vibration, there is perhaps no greater weapon than the record clamp, which provides added weight to help with stabilization and thus smoother tracking. This one from Pro-Ject is pricey, but it’s a total looker he’ll be proud to screw on each time he plays a record.
Ok, it’s 2019, so no one listens to vinyl exclusively, regardless of what they claim. We all stream music from time to time, which is why the DAC, or digital to analog converter, is such an important part of the modern-day hi-fi system. This one looks great and sounds better.