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Accordion Gift Guide 2020

November 30, 2020

For three years near the start of this decade, and then again last year after taking half a decade off for good behavior, we ran an annual gift guide for accordionists and those who love them, specifically looking at the wacky, weird and wonderful offerings to be found on Etsy, that purgatory of all things vintage and DIY (figuring that all enthusiasm for matters accordionic would similarly be DIY and/or vintage in nature).

Gift Ideas 2020:

Accordion Babes Pin-up Calendar 2020
Accordion Noir Shirts
Support Accordion Artists Directly

Accordion Books: Bruce’s Picks
For the Accordionist Who Has Everything Else?

As with everyone else, we are doing things a little differently in 2020. As much as some things have ground to a halt for some people, the new normal has kept both Bruce and Rowan very busy — eg. pre-recording every week’s episode of Accordion Noir radio from a home studio, then having to adapt to new audio editing software after the mandatory OSX update (needed to triumphantly enjoy the new accordion emoji in all its glory!) broke compatibility with the previous software. Yessir, it’s a real roller-coaster ride here on this beat, I tell you! And so, as we didn’t have the oppotunity to conduct the very specialised research needed to follow precisely in the vein of the previous gift guides, this year’s extends its scope to accordion merchandise available all over, not just on Etsy. (If you have non-Amazon options at your disposal, please consider exercising them. If not, we promise to look the other way.)

Accordion Babes Pin-Up Calendar and CD 2021

Cover of the 2021 Accordion Babes Pin-up Calendar and CD. Flowery art nouveau lettering around a steam-punk inspired photo of Marie-Andrée Holy. White woman in a victorian dress showing a patterned stockinged leg. She has a very large top-hat with feathers on it, and a gold and black vintage accordion.

We almost always lead off with this item, the “Accordion Babes” squeezebox cheesecake pin-up calendar / compilation CD, which has been with us in the alt-accordion realm (and likely presenting a far more compelling argument for it than we do) since our earliest days on the air.

Antique photo of two women in fancy vaudeville show dresses and hairdos. Their fancy 1920s accordions are labeled

The product is improbable and delightful, and while we are relieved to no longer be debating with volunteers at the local anarchist bookstore* over whether its very premise is exploitative and misogynistic (you’ll have to take that up with the kick-ass ladies who make it!), we firmly believe that every music enthusiast with a dream needs a copy of this calendar hanging in their studio or green room, that they, too, like Bruce, might while away the quiet hours scrutinizing the photo spreads with a magnifying glass, attempting to better determine which make and model of instrument each performer is wearing. *In all seriousness though, if you want to buy books locally to give for Christmas presents, give Spartacus Books a try!

Co-op Radio’s Accordion Noir shirts!

Premiering this year we have Co-op Radio’s Accordion Noir shirts, inspired by the renowned Andy Warhol album art for the Velvet Underground! Many types, colors, sizes, and gender-presentations! The Co-op Radio shop has lots of swag to support our little station. Keep Accordion Noir on the air and get a snazzy top to show your support! If you spend $40 or more, which I think means at least two shirts, you can get 20% off during this Nov 27-29 weekend: No coupon code needed. Your discount will be applied at checkout.

It can be tricky to pull off the gift of digital music purchase — unless you have a shared account, usually you just buy a gift card to the recipient’s preferred streaming service — but you can help to work toward a happier holiday season for both your giftee and your favorite accordionist by giving the gift of music for Christmas, especially on Bandcamp Friday.


For fans of music (and musicians): Bandcamp allows you to send gifts, and Bandcamp gift cards. This is great next time #BandcampFriday comes and 100% of the profits go directly to artists. (The next BandcampFriday — the last in 2020 with no further installments yet announced for 2021 — is coming up December 4th, this coming Friday!) Bruce has collected dozens of squeezy music recommendations with the Twitter hashtag: #AccordionBandcamp. When you purchase, you could leave a comment that Accordion Noir sent you.

Support Accordion Artists Directly

Go to your favorite band’s website and find where they’re selling swag or music. To give them the best cut of the sale, do what you can to buy it directly from them. Put on the music, wear the shirts, etc., and dance around imagining they toured the globe to play a command performance in your personal ears. Sometimes you actually can get your gift customized in a personal way, as Alex Meixner demonstrates.

They Might Be Giants has done a good job raising money for their road crew, thinking of all the folks behind the scenes who make magic happen on stage. They also have some remarkably clever and varied swag.

I already got one of these, now you can too!
I do not have a Fortunate Ones t-shirt yet…
I love my Ratas En Zelo t-shirt!
The Portal, Martin Green (from LAU)‘s remarkable podcast/radio-drama/audio-book!
Available in 5 CD deluxe set, and an album of music from the production!

🪗 Accordion Books: Bruce’s Picks 📚

Bruce made a huge list of accordion history and related books [Ed. – on brand!] over on Amazon’s monopolistic Goodreads website. (“Let’s buy up a friendly place where people talk about books, so everybody has to buy from us!”) Don’t click on those links to give them money if you can help it. We recommend many non-Amazon options for buying books over here (including Bruce’s own Accordion Revolution book). Please take a moment to order from those superior options.

🪗 Cajun Music: A Reflection of a People Vol 2 !!!! 🎻

Book cover, with a old photo of three young people riding in a horse-drawn cart, while playing a button accordion. Text: Cajun Music, a Reflection of a People Volume II, Includes Cajun & Zydeco, Compiled and Edited by Ann Allen Savoy.

This is huge news for accordion book and music lovers. In 1984 Ann Savoy released the great (8.5 x 11 in / 27 x 22 cm, 445-page), wonderful book of photos, interviews, and bilingual Louisiana French songs and lyrics, “Cajun Music: a Reflection of a People, Vol 1.” People have been hoping for a sequel for 36 years, and as of this week it’s here!

As the young mother of four and a touring musician, Savoy began work on Volume II, but her heavy schedule forced her to put the book aside. In the early 2000s, a new wave of Cajun enthusiasts – in the form of musician friends of her children – encouraged Ann to finish the book and offered to help. Fifteen years later, (partly thanks to the staying- home nature of the pandemic) Volume II is finally here.

This 456-page volume 😲 📖 is beautifully illustrated with historic and recent photographs, thirty-five English and Cajun French interviews and biographies, over 100 songs with French translations and phonetics,  how-to-play instructions for Cajun instruments, Cajun dances, the history of the Cajun accordion, and more. 

Get both Cajun Music Volumes directly from Ann for $65 (save $20).

“Weird” Al Yankovic is having a literary moment of his own:


Eugene Knapik’s Squeezebox Man Comics

Eugene Knapik is a Twitter friend of ours from Toronto who just sent the first five issues of his Squeezebox Man comics. They are really cool! DIY project about a punk rock polka band formed by older polka dudes and a younger crew of rockers. Some sex, some drugs, some rockin’ polka. Cameos by many famous squeezebox stars, and James Brown. Blue-collar funny, really worth your while. Expanded from Knapik’s book of Squeezebox Man short stories.

I really want to see this band and play their records on Accordion Noir radio.

Copies are $12 Canadian + shipping (+$3 to anywhere) per issue or $60 subscription for the full set of all 6. Payment by e-Transfer (Canada) or PayPal. Email Eugene for more info.

I got all these great books for my birthday! They’re still available though this sale may be over.

Bruce’s own Accordion Revolution books, buttons, stickers, and new postcards

Accordion Revolution: A People’s History of the Accordion is available from many places online. Shops should also be able to special-order it. If you want to give Bruce a present, request that your library purchase a copy of the print or e-book.

Get 🔥❤️🪗 flaming-heart accordion pins and stickers, “This Machine Irritates Fascists” button/badges (available in piano accordion, button accordion, and fisarmonica — Italian!), our legendary “One Less Guitar” stickers, the new Western Swing Squeezebox cards, and more at Bruce’s “Accordion Revolution” Etsy shop.

🪗 Accordion Revolution 🤠 Country and Western Squeezebox postcard-prints (World Premier in this list!)

“ELEANOR CLEMENTS, ACCORDIONIST, Doc Schneider’s Texans, WFBC, Greenville, SC, 1930s”. This favorite image didn’t quite make it into Bruce’s Accordion Revolution book. It looks fantastic enlarged as a smooth-finish, sepia-tone, 100% post-consumer recycled, heavy post-card, 5×7″ (13×18 cm) post-card print. Available in Bruce’s Accordion Revolution Etsy Shop.

🪗 If your favorite accordionist has everything else on this list 🎁

🤔 These remarkable Hoodies/Shirts/Shorts? proudly feature the distinctive Helicon-bass alpine polka accordion. 🪗

The Micro-targeted “Accordion-Tuner T-Shirt” market got it’s own Gift Guide back in 2018

And that’s… everything we had on hand to flesh out a hastily-composed gift guide in time for Cyber Monday. Not bad for a wholly impromptu ad hoc roundup! Specialisation has its benefits. Granted, the ability to whip these off is most of them. That said… we know full well that there’s a whole world of worthwhile accordionic merchandise out there that we overlooked in our rush to be timely, so if you’d like to endorse something meritorious that we unjustly passed over… please feel free to add gift suggestions in the comments below, and if we’re really on top of things (granted, a big if), maybe we’ll fold them into an updated future draft of this post for the enjoyment of posterity and future accordion gift-givers! That’s all for now from Rowan & Bruce, so Season’s Greetings… and squeeze on!

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