Our pals over at Tech Digest have seen an awful lot of gadgets this year. They have checked out the latest Smart TVs, weighed up whether the iPad mini is worth the extra dosh over the Google Nexus 7 and snapped away on the latest cameras.
So we asked them to help us come up with the year’s 21 best gadgets. Obviously it is tablets and phones that grab the limelight, but we have also added TVs, cameras, watches and whole load more.
Here then are the 21 gadgets that we consider to be the be desirable of this year’s selection.
The Google Nexus 4 is the best smartphone bargain we've ever seen. God only knows what sort of subsidised deals the search giant has lined up in order to deliver a smartphone just as powerful as its premium rivals at almost half the price. But we're not complaining; for the cost of a mediocre smartphone, the Nexus 4 delivers the latest version of Android, a super-fast processor, a beautiful display and superb new camera functionality. At its £239.99 entry price it's a steal, and one we can't recommend highly enough
I have a theory that it takes a decade or two before we can properly appreciate the popular culture from an earlier decade. Much of what we love about the 60s, from The Beatles to Peter Blake, was hideously unfashionable in the 70s and didn’t really return to the mainstream until the mid 90s. Similarly the shoulder pads and wonky keyboard bands of the 80s were held in high disdain for decades and it wasn’t until the noughties that we remembered how much fun some elements of that decade’s music were.
And now it has to be the 90s to turn to be re-assessed. Sure the first ripples of a 90s revival are already starting to appear. Watching Danny Boyle’s amazing Olympics opening ceremony I was struck by how much of it made me think of the optimism and colour of the early Blair years. Then a couple of weeks later I was off to see the climax of the games – a gig by the band who eventually won the Brit Pop war – Blur. In fashion too the heritage brands that had such a resurgence in the 90s are back and selling well.
The first books about the 90s are also on the horizon. Alwyn Tuner wrote a very fine mini ebook about the 1992 election and its ramifications for politics and he will have an apparently more definitive tome on the 90s available very shortly. There will also be an interesting examination of London in the 90s soon which looks among other things at the art school roots of Brit Pop and the way in which Hoxton was transformed from a seedy east London no go zone to the home of the main movers in Brit Art.
Musically too there are the first rumblings of a 90s revival with Jake Bugg doing a very impressive impersonation of The La’s on his debut album and the growth of 60s obsessed psych bands, many of whom would have been very at home at the fringes of Brit Pop.
So now seems as good a time as any to take a look back over some of the 90s most neglected bands. I asked on Facebook and Twitter send in their nominations and ended up with about 50 bands to choose from.
There are so many that could have made the list from gothic popsters Jack through to harmony drenched power pop of Silver Sun. Maybe we ‘ll look back at them another time.
For now though here are ten, plus a whole load more on the Spotify list below.
At the turn of the decade Five Thirty's take on Jam style power pop, albeit with a lot of twists and turns, was unique. Some blistering live performances and an exhilarating single, Air Conditioned Nightmare, made them one of London's hottest acts for a few brief months. An album, Bed, followed soon after, but the big break never came and they split in 1994. There's no Five Thirty on Spotify, but some great videos on YouTube.
Menswear has traditionally taken a background role in the world of fashion, letting women mode reign the catwalks, column inches and shopping baskets. But over the last couple of years something has been brewing and these days menswear is as interesting – if not more – than the apparel made for women.
Leading the leading the pack are brands that come from the North – no not Newcastle, not even Scotland. We’re talking about brands that hail from the Nordic countries, the countries of snow, darkness and ingenuity. But why is Scandinavian menswear proving so popular on the isles known for their traditions?
Why are Scandinavian brands so popular among British men?
Anyone who has spent some time scouring the high street and internet for interesting menswear will have taken note of brands from Denmark, Norway and especially Sweden.
As a born and raised Scandinavian who is now living the life of an expat in my adopted home town of London – a modern day Viking, without the violence – it is fascinating to see the Scandi influence on British menswear these days. I won’t go into much detail about how amazing Scandinavian culture, lifestyle and designs are as this could be considered rude of me (but they really are).
But something of the Nordic minimalistic design has captured the interest of British men. Perhaps it is the focus on functionality (never underestimate the power of the humble fleece jacket when it’s minus 25 degrees outside!), as knitwear and weatherproof garments are seeing yet another season of popularity, combined with style and comfort.
The Scandinavian way of life
Of course the influx of Nordic flavour in all areas of life in recent years will have helped put the Norse firmly on the map: TV shows (The Killing!), furniture and housewares (Ikea is a favourite), music (think First Aid Kit and Sigur Ros), and not to forget the food and drink (meatballs, salmon, reindeer, sickly sweet cider).
It also helps that the hipsters and stylish geeks in London (and other cities) have embraced what us Norse consider practical mountain wear to be part of their uniform. Who doesn’t like a Fjellraven backpack for city hiking to the summit (read: riding a fixie bike to Dalston).
Whatever the reason is, as a Scandi expat, one thing is certain: Britain is starting to feel (even more) like home…
If you’re after some inspiration on which Scandinavian brands to include in your wardrobe, check out the gallery below. Just be warned, as with most Scandinavian things they also come with the price tag to match.
Let’s set the record straight first of all. The Pogues’ Fairytale of New York is without a doubt the best Christmas song there’s ever been, and likely ever will be. The 1987 classic is often highlighted for its dry, humorously dark take on Christmas, full of alcoholism and drug addiction, and features the most fractious relationship in pop duet history. “Happy Christmas your arse / I pray God it’s our last” may be the line that everyone remembers, but it’s the crushingly down-to-earth, cynical regrets of call-and-response line “I could have been someone / Well so could anyone!” that really tugs the heartstrings. It’s a beautiful song, perfectly produced and arranged and is rightfully on track to compete for this year’s Christmas number one, 25 years after it narrowly and wrongly missed out on the title to a vapid Elvis cover by the Pet Shop Boys.
But for many, Fairytale of New York is where their knowledge of The Pogues begins and ends. Skewed by the stereotype-enforcing image of sometimes drunken, shambling and warbling frontman Shane MacGowan, many miss the beauty, poetry and keen political charge of The Pogues’ wonderful back catalogue. MacGowan may well be an alcoholic, but at his best, he’s also a genius.
When The Pogues first appeared on the scene in the early 1980s, they arrived like a hurricane. MacGowan, an Irish punk living in London, pulled together a band whose ability as technically marvellous traditional folk musicians was matched by their raucous live energy and politically astute punk ethics. Teetering on the brink of collapse with every note, The Pogues’ working class liberalism was a perfect match for their punk-infused-folk tunes, a stark contrast to the safe, sanitised synth-pop that dominated the airwaves that decade.
While banjo runs and tin whistle airs collided heroically against punk rock screams, MacGowan’s unique, wry lyrics are where the real magic of The Pogues lays. It’s often overlooked how evocative a storyteller MacGowan can be. Whether documenting a surreally drunken, liberating dream encounter with Irish Republican Brendan Behan in Streams of Whiskey to the solemn, seedy dissolution of big city life in The Old Main Drag, MacGowan’s romantic style deserves to be as revered as Bob Dylan’s lyrical work.
MacGowan’s alcoholism and drug addiction would eventually lead to the band’s demise in 1996, and while the albums Waiting for the Herb and Pogue Mahone (written following MacGowan’s 1992 departure) are still wonderful, they lack the bite and vitriol of MacGowan-era Pogues, a spark the band only reclaimed once they began reuniting with the troubled frontman once more for their shows since 2001.
The Pogues first three albums however (1984’s Red Roses for Me, 1985’s Rum Sodomy & the Lash and 1987‘s If I Should Fall from Grace with God) are absolute gems. Fairytale of New York may well be the hit, but no self-confessed punk or folk fan’s record collection is complete without those choice Pogues cuts. Likewise, as a live band The Pogues are still a force to be reckoned with; even as men of advancing years, their annual Christmas and St Patrick’s Day shows are the stuff of legend, joyous riots that all fans of live music should experience at least once.
If you’re still not sure where to start, here’s a handful of our favourite Pogues songs.
If I Should Fall From Grace With God
“If I should fall from grace with God where no doctor can relieve me / If I’m buried ‘neath the sod but the angels won’t receive me / Let me go boys”
The Pogues at their very finest in our opinion: a wild song of proud Irish nationalism and rebellion, there’s anger, hope and euphoria all scrunched tight as a fist as MacGowan decries centuries old British influence over Northern Ireland, and highlights the little-known plight of Irish slaves during the colonisation of America. A live highlight.
The Old Main Drag
“In the cold winter nights the old town it was chill / There were boys in the cafes who’d give you cheap pills / If you didn’t have the money you’d cajole and you’d beg / There was always lots of tuinol on the old main drag”
A sad, reflective (arguably autobiographical) tune from MacGowan documenting an Irish immigrant’s disillusionment and decline upon arriving in London’s “Big Smoke”. The Old Main Drag in question is the Red Light District of Soho and/or Kings Cross, areas of the capital that even today are where you end up when you fall through the cracks of London society. Keep an ear out for that sustained, discordant note at the end; chilling stuff.
The Body of an American
“He fought the champ in Pittsburgh and he slashed him to the ground / He took on Tiny Tartanella and it only went one round”
Perhaps best known now for appearing at the close of hit TV show The Wire, The Body of an American sees MacGowan tearing through one his fastest, funniest and also saddest lyrics. Describing the manic attempts to have an Irish national repatriated upon his death in the USA, it turns to farce as the mourners get a bit too “piskey”. Jim Dwyer, the dead man in question, lead a troubled life that saw him pulled from his native Ireland to become a pro boxer, making loads of cash before having his reputation ruined for refusing to throw a match. It’s riveting stuff if you can keep up with MacGowan’s fast-paced delivery.
“”Come on you rambling boys of pleasure and ladies of easy leisure / We must say adios until we see Almeria once again!”
Written in tribute to a four day party in the middle of a desert the band had while filming the movie Straight to Hell (incidentally one of the maddest films of all time), it’s the sort of soundtrack few parties can ever live up to. To have been on that particular four day bender would have been quite an experience, if this song is anything to go by.
“We walked him to the station in the rain / We kissed him as we put him on the train / And we sang a song of times long gone / Though we knew that we’d seeing him again”
A bit more ambiguous this one, describing the life and times of both a pub and a guy named Jimmy, who goes off to seek his fortune only to return home to find his his old way of life (and those who inhabited it) no longer exist. It also sings of some of the best qualities of the Irish people, not least the hope they’re able to express even upon the loss of someone dear. With the whole song able to be viewed as a metaphor for an Irish wake, it’s joyful rather than sorrowful.
Thousands Are Sailing
“Ah, no says he twas not to be, on a coffin ship I came here / And I never even got so that they could change my name”
We’ll throw this one in as a bonus, as it’s not written by MacGowan, but by Pogues guitarist Phil Chevron. Another beautifully evocative tale and tune, it tells of “the ghosts” of the Irish that “haunt the waves” following the mass migration to the United States over the centuries.
As a gentleman of discerning taste and impeccable grooming you are probably wearing a watch. It is likely to have been made by a high-end Swiss company and quite possibly cost you a fair bit of money.
If that is you the you are in fact part of a dying breed. Male watch wearers have been on the decline for several years now and there are many good reasons why. Firstly the economy. With many people watching their cash watches are often seen as a luxury that ultimately we can do without.
Secondly you simply can’t escape from devices that tell you the time. Even bus shelters let you know not just how long it is until the next 73 but also what the time is right now and how late you are going to be.
The overwhelming reason though for the decline in watch wearing is that it is one of many gadgets that has been usurped by the mobile phone. I bought my first mobile in 1997, which was around the time I stopped wearing watches on a regular basis. I have bought a few since, but they reside in a draw in my room and only appear on special occasions.
Nope if I want to know what the time is I pull out my phone, or if I am at home, my iPad. From a functional perspective there really is no need for me to own one.
SPOT and the early smart watches
The first whiff of change came a decade or so ago when a flurry of smart watches that appeared that added brought live data and gadget functionality to the wrist. Microsoft unveiled something called SPOT technology which drew in basic info like traffic details and the weather via FM transmissions. In spite of a hard core geeky fan club though SPOT never really took off.
I also remember a flurry of watch MP3 players like this one from Casio. There were also watch cameras too and I remember Sir Paul McCartney getting very excited about wearing one and sharing all his images with the press. There was also a Casio MP3 watch which received lots of press coverage, but attracted very few purchasers.
More recently has seen the growth of mobile phone watches which team up with Bluetooth headsets and enable the user to make and receive phone calls as well do basics like send text messages. The market leader here appears to be sWaP whose range can be bought SIM free in the UK via Amazon.
But it is only now that the smart watch has come of age and now shows signs of going mainstream. There are two reasons for this. Firstly the technology that enables watches to communicate with smart phones has matured to point whereby exciting data (ie your latest Facebook updates!) can be ported to the watch’s screen. Secondly our growing desire to archive every area of our lives – from the number of steps we take to the messages we send – has meant a renaissance in wearable technology and the wrist is a great place to keep a device to ensure that it is easy to access.
The new generation of smart watches
A great example of how smart watch technology is heading is the I’m Watch from Italy. This teams up with any number of smartphones (iPhone, Android, Windows Mobile) via a Bluetooth connection to deliver a huge selection of features. You can do the basics, make and receive calls, send text messages etc. But you can also use it to get updates from social networks, see your email, play music, check the weather and more. There are also developers working on new features to add to the watch.
The I’m Watch has its rivals. Sony’s Liveview, and the just launched Cookoo, both of which have fewer features but are significantly cheaper and may have great mass appeal.
Then there is the Pebble which gives you access to lots of apps so that you can turn your watch into a cycle computer or fitness performance analyser.
Almost all of the watches let you customise the face too, and you can even opt for an old school analogue type fascia.
You can bet too that companies who pioneered gadget watches like Swatch, are monitoring the new breed of devices and will be working on partnerships and developing their own products very soon.
Is the iWatch next?
There is one company though that could seriously propel smart watches into the mainstream – you guessed it Apple. Having sewn up the smartphone and tablet markets there is a huge amount of speculation as to where the company will be turning its attention to next. Some critics believe that Apple’s focus will be reinventing TV. However if it wants to explode a maturing market smart watches would be a sensible move. The reach would be huge and the watch would be complementary to Apple’s existing range of devices.
Apple is especially good at coming up with interfaces and operating systems that make devices easier to use. What bigger challenge could there be than making that tiny screen useful? Maybe Siri could play an important role? Secondly Apple is also genius at creating products that excite consumers. If anyone is going to be able to produce a gorgeous hi-tech watch it has to be Apple.
Finally Apple has a great track record of taking nascent technologies and perfecting them so that they are mass market friendly.
In some way the company has already done the groundwork in that iPad nano has the screen size of a smart watch and already has many of its features. All it would need to do would be for Apple to add a Bluetooth connection to the iPhone that enables the nano to access data and it would have a smart watch.
So, for any gadget lover a smart watch sounds like a no brainer. Except that there are a few significant obstacles that will have to overcome before they become mass market.
The biggest is battery life. Most smart watches need a recharge every few days and do you really want another device you have to power up.
Then there’s the making and receiving calls process. Apparently none of us are especially keen on being Dick Tracey and having a conversation via our watches.
Then there is the frustration of being able to access information but not really responding it. To reply to that tweet or email you will probably still have to get out your mobile.
Finally smart watch makers need to get design right. Producing watches that will appeal to techy boys and girls is one thing. Creating a timepiece that has the elegance and sophistication of say a Tag is another.
Over to you Jonathan Ive.
In the meantime here are the watches mentioned in the article.
Arguably the most sophisticated smart watch to date the I’m Watch runs a form of Android and hooks up to Android, iPhone and Windows mobiles and delivers a huge amount of features. You can do the basics, make and receive calls, send text messages etc. But you can also use it to get updates from social networks, see your email, play music, check the weather and more. There are also developers working on features to the add to the watch.
Here at Brandish Towers we are huge psych fans. From the bonkers nursery rhymes on acid tunes of early Floyd through to the dream pop melange that is The Horrors we can’t get enough of it.
Here then are our favourite Psychedelic albums of 2012. It does of course beg the question what exactly is Psychedelia?
Literally it is mind expanding music which over time has come to be associated with bands in thrall to its golden age of the late 60s.
These days it has become more of a catch all term though for bands who take mind expanding music from the past (Kraut Rock, Shoegazing, Dream pop and even a bit of prog) and give it a contemporary spin.
This year has all been about the huge success of Tame Impala. They are, however, the tip of a very large iceberg. Labels like Trouble In Mind in the US and Ample Play in the UK as well mags like Shindig and blogs like The Active Listener show just how exciting and diverse the psych scene currently is.
Here then are our favourite 15. What have we missed? Tell us in the comments. Spotify playlist below too.
The second album from Brooklyn's biggest Floyd fans, Paint Me A Dream is a wonderfully trippy listen that incorporates elements of psych, early prog and kraut rock. The stand out track, Rippled also has a whiff of The Church's epic Priest=Aura opus, while Translucent Lucy is prime Brit 60s psych pop. Only available via bandcamp (and on vinyl too) at the moment.
Ok, it might just look like a black T shirt with a pretty naff design, but this is actually one of the hottest bloke gifts this Christmas. That's because that guitar print is (kind of) a real guitar which lets you play chords and strum along to your favourite rawk tunes. It even comes with a mini amp that apparently goes up to 11. If you are more Hot Chip than Van Halen there's also a drum machine kit in the range too.
Today’s Spotify playlist brings together tracks from twelve songwriters whose 2012 albums might have passed you by.
It’s actually been a pretty good year for one man and his guitar type troubadours with stunning albums from Richard Hawley, Paul Weller and the young pretender Jake Bugg. Monday also sees the release of Scott Walker’s Bish Bosch, which is likely to be as brilliant as it is, well, bonkers.
There are a few that you may have missed, especially from British songwriters, so here are twelve great albums ranging from the quirky 60s pop of Suzi Chunk through to the return of cult legends Bob Lind and Bill Fay.
The number one album is astonishing and IMO by some distance the album of the year.
Do you agree with the choices? What have we missed? Check out the Spotify playlist below. If you want the top den debut albums of 2012 go here and for a round up of the year’s best music polls check out this brilliant blog.
One of the year’s most unlikely comebacks, Fay was a feted 60s songwriter whose two albums from that era are often described as the missing link between Nick Drake and Ray Davies. Musically he is still in the same territory on Life Is People and tracks like There Is A Valley are likely to win him many new fans
We haven’t had a jumper post on this website for a day or two now, which is odd because as John Lewis email pointed out this morning it is only 29 sleeps until Christmas.
Round about now the great jumper sale begins with high street brands traditionally slashing prices in a bid to piss off people who did their Christmas shopping early tempt us to finally buy the knitwear that first caught our eye in September.
Even without the price cutting though there are however a few rather decent sub £30 jumpers that we would take a punt on, and here are five of them.
The massive downsides of cheap jumpers are 1 If they are mainly acrylic then they can be a bit scratchy to wear. 2 If they are cheap wool or wool mix they don’t tend to wash too well and may be out of shape by the time you pull the Christmas tree down.
The massive upside is that you can wear them with pride over the festive season (and in the snow that is inevitably going to hit the UK in December) and they are cheap as chips.
There was a point somewhere in the 1960s when The Rolling Stones were arguably the best dressed band on the planet. They mixed traditional Saville Row threads with flamboyant shirts, cravats and scarves better than anyone. They were the epitome of pop art cool. Check here for evidence.
But then the coolest of the lot of them, Brian, went swimming, Keef got strung out on heroin and Bill grew his hair out. And from a sartorial point of view things went downhill.
Never mind though because there was always Mick. Trouble is that somewhere around 1969 Mick’s style compass completely went AWOL. Probably about the time he wore that white dress in Hyde Park (sadly our pic agency doesn’t have that image!). Throughout the 70s and well into the 80s, he strutted across the stadiums of the world wearing an increasingly bizarre series of onstage costumes. Maybe that’s the point, they were different, daring and bit camp – just like Mick. Sadly like most of the Stones 80s output they looked pretty crap too.
So please don’t get me wrong I really love the Stones and always will, but I still take great pleasure in presenting you with Mick Jagger’s top ten crimes against fashion. Enjoy. I only wish that we could have shared this one with you too.
And if you want to read about some under rated Stones albums go here. Pics copyright PA
We talked to the gadget experts at TechDigest and Shiny Shiny as well as a few of our techy chums on Facebook and Twitter and have puled together what we think is the ultimate list of gadgets for under £200. All are on sale in the UK at the moment.
There’s no phones included, but we have plenty of tablets, gadget, audio stuff and cameras. There are also a few very cheap stocking fillers too and the brilliant gloves that control your smartphone wirelessly.
I must admit that I have never been too fond of pink shirts but this, just in from The Daily Mail ,could change all that.
According to research by Cotton USA Pink shirt – which surveyed 1500 shirt wearers – those who favour pink, as opposed to the usual staples of blue and white, are likely to be more confident, get more admiring glances from female colleagues and earn an extra grand a year or so salary. Men who wear pink are also twice as likely to have a Master’s degree than those who favour white shirts, with one in ten pink shirt wearers having a PHD. They also apparently have a lower carbon footprint – though quite how they worked that out is beyond me.
Stephanie Thiers-Ratcliffe, International Marketing Manager for Cotton USA, says ‘Pink is a colour more men have been embracing recently and it’s encouraging that they are not afraid to experiment with brighter colours. We spend most of our days at work and it’s good for company standards, our own confidence and work ethic to remain smart, but that doesn’t mean you have to be boring.
Anyhow here are five pink shirts worth pondering over.
There was a time when the only people who would wear band T shirts were metal heads still loyal to their ageing rocker heroes, Ned’s Atomic Dustbin fans, who a decade on hadn’t bought any other new items of clothes, and Teenage Fanclub fans who’d give them a quick iron and pop them on each time their favourite Glaswegians hit their local venue
Then a few years back rock T shirts suddenly became cool in an ironic way. The Kate Moss set started wearing Ramones shirts and pretty soon you couldn’t move in Top Shop for vintage rock band shirts and disco diva fifteen year olds desperate to snap them up.
Things then got way out of hand and in parts of north London your pre school child wasn’t properly dressed without a Pistols or Clash T shirt.
One only feels sorry for those earnest aging rockers whose enquiries about Sonic Youth records to youngsters sporting the Goo t shirt were met by blank stares.
Nevertheless the band T shirt is back and is likely to remain a staple for both kids looking for cool designs and adults wanting to broadcast their musical taste.
So the other day we began arguing in the office about which is the most iconic band T short of all time. A couple of Flat Whites and bit of Facebook research later and we had a list of contenders.
Surveying the list it becomes obvious that band T shirts fall into one of four categories.
1 The classic band logo - This is the band’s whose ident is captured in one little graphic device. The band’s brand if you will and the illustration that appears on their drumkit, behind them at gigs and obviously on their merch. Band logos have included some of the finest and most iconic pop art emblems of the recent decades and not too surprisingly our list is dominated by them.
2 The classic album cover - Oddly there aren’t as many of these in the list as you might think. In fact if you peruse any list of the great albums of all time you’ll find that many near the top like The Beatles albums for example, have not been widely replicated on T shirts. The ones that work well tend to have designs that are either black and white or two basic colours. So Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures looks great on your chest, whereas Ziggy Stardust less so. I think The Smiths may have got lucky here. Morrissey famously designed most of their single and album covers or rather appropriated them from 60s films. For reasons of taste (or maybe even budget) they were almost always two colour affairs that look great as T shirts.
3 A logo taken from an album cover – This works occasionally. Think The Stone Roses whose debut album sleeve was covered in lemons – the exact same fruit that became the motif for their most iconic T shirt.
4 Something utterly off the wall that the band ends up championing – see number two.
Anyhow, here then is our list of the ten most iconic rock and roll T shirts of all time. It was close but sadly Ned’s Atomic Dustbin didn’t quite make the cut.
As worn by hipsters across the planet. One wonders how many of them are on nodding terms with the album from which the print is taken - Goo.
The image is a Raymond Pettibon illustration based on a paparazzi photo of Maureen Hindley and her first husband David Smith, witnesses in the case of the "Moors Murders" serial killers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, driving to the trial in 1966.
A few years ago retro gadgets seemed like quite a fun idea. Oh how we chuckled when we saw that iPhone case made to resemble a 1970s Motorola brick. And yep I loved all those games consoles styled like ones I had a few decades ago yet stacked out with contemporary processors and graphics cards.
Somewhere along the line though it all went a little too crazy. Now every gadgets site has a bonkers array of iPhone cases designed to look like ancient devices and music players that take their style cues from a few decades ago. And sad to say that an awful lot of what is being produced is, whisper it, not that great.
So finding 10 retro gadgets that are actually quite stylish as well as being rather useful too proved to be quite a tough task,. In the end we gave yup at 8, so if you do know of any others we can use to pad out the list let us know in the comments.
Links to the various products are included under the pics.
Crosley is a brand that definitely gets it in that it excels at producing high quality design-led reproductions of classic electronics products. This, the Collegiate, is a small-ish Dansette style record player that has an aluminium grill speaker a leather handle and USB connectivity. It plays singles, albums and 10inch discs. It is available in several colours and you can buy one in the UK from Urban Outfitters