Best Jukebox - 2008
Jukeboxes, like everything music-related, are in flux. Some of us prefer the old-fashioned kind, with 45 rpm vinyl records visible through the curved plate glass, but most working boxes these days are digitized, sanitized, and smeared with tech-macho graphics that might have been cool for a minute at the tail end of the Faith No More "punk funk" 1990s. At Lucky 13, the jukebox is no beauty queen, boasting a nondescript CD-changer aesthetic. But, you're already screaming, "It's the music inside that counts, not the box itself!" Okay. Here's the deal: This jukebox has personalized CD mixes (what we used to call mixtapes), and something about the way the home-printered disc labels look so tattered and broken-in makes them almost as good as old 45s. They've got soul. Bartender Toby Dick, co-mixer and jukebox custodian, crafts punk-loving rowdy funtime mixes that include the kind of juxtapositions you wish you'd thought of: English Beat next to Manic Hispanic. Merle Haggard alongside the Cramps' "Bikini Girls with Machine Guns." Rancid, N.W.A., and Hank Williams III. Buck Owens right after the Scorpions. It may not be your kind of music, but the mixtape idea may save us all.