.Shopping Guide: Five Local Music Gifts

Music is always a good Christmas gift, but as record stores continue to disappear, it’s getting harder to find options outside of iTunes download cards. Bands are still making physical albums these days—CDs, vinyl records, and the latest retro trend, cassette tapes. San Jose has lots of bands that have put out stellar albums this year. Here’s our list of suggestions.

Hard Girls

‘Isn’t It Worse w/ EP’
on Cassette, $5 at www.lauren-records.com

Cassette releases are now a thing—maybe not a big thing, but more labels (underground ones, mind you) are putting them out. San Jose’s Hard Girls’ new album, Isn’t It Worse, is coming out on cassette a few months before it arrives out on vinyl. The cassette comes with several bonus songs—their entire first EP, in fact. It’s only been a few years since the Hard Girls released that EP, but it is interesting to listen to listen to the old material side by side with the new. Their debut contained some interesting Jawbreaker-influenced punk-rock songs, while Isn’t It Worse is a downright sophisticated rock album. They mix ’80s post-punk and ’90s indie rock (somewhere between Pavement, Television and Silkworm), all while giving it the urgency of a sweaty basement punk band.

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