I am now one of the pod people

Yeah, I got one for Christmas. I am now the proud owner of a 60 gb video iPod. My wife, my father and my step-mom went thirds on it. I must have been very good this year.

After watching me run around buying an auto power adapter, cassette adapter, protective case and slightly nicer headphones, my step-mom has dubbed it “the gift that keeps on taking.” Wait until she finds out that I am going to upgrade the speakers in my car… which is ironic, considering that the car cost me $100.

All of this means, of course, that I can finally participate in the Norbizness weekly coolness audit. I have to forewarn you, though. I am an insufferable music snob. You have been warned.

1. ‘Sugar Free Jazz (Jazz Free Sucrose Jungle Dub Remix)’ – Soul Coughing: I don’t know who remixed this for Soul Coughing, or if they remixed it themselves. Very cool adaptation of an already fairly cool song- white guy hip-hop that is MUCH better than it sounds on paper, due in no small part to the amazing word-play of singer Mike Doughty and the ‘snare drum of desperation’ as played by Yuval Gabay. While this track does not showcase their Krispy Kreme rattle and thump, what with it being a remix and all, it does stand in very nicely as a trancey bit of jungle. I’d dance to it. (8/10)

2. ‘Apocryphal Son Lying’ – The Unpersons: Noise rock from the fetid student apartments and bongwater-soaked couches arrayed around the Savannah College of Art and Design. Very screamy, perfect revenge for neighbors who fight in the afternoon. I was sort of assigned this by the singer in my band, and I must say, I respect it for its purity of vision, but it’s not my cup of vitriol. Probably, it’s cooler than I am. (5/10)

3. ‘Rude Boy Train’ – Desmond Dekker: Who would have thought that Desmond Dekker and the other pioneers of ska would see their music become the private obsession of post-college band-geeks and post-skinhead guys who never really dug Skrewdriver all that much? I blame Madness, but I don’t think they deserve to burn in hell for it. I reserve said roasting for the fucking Bosstones. Argh. There, I said it. Desmond Dekker is the King of the original Rock Steady Ska, and this is a great song. (9/10)

4. ‘Masikit’ – Meatjack: More noise rock, and more homework from the band. Meatjack is from Baltimore and are fairly experimental. I don’t know if I would compare them to anyone so much as the Melvins or Eye Hate God. Even those aren’t terribly fair comparisons. I would go see Meatjack, and would love to tour with them, though I don’t know where they would fall on the coolness continuum. They score higher than the Unpersons simply because they are somewhat more listenable. (6/10)

5. ‘Moon Sammy’ – Soul Coughing: I really dig this band, and yet, here again is a track that doesn’t stand out as the perfect track to represent them at their best. Doughty’s wor(l)d-play is in good form here, and the song breezes along on a catchy and sunny upright bass hook and Yuval Gabay’s immaculately recorded (and played) kit, but it’s not the purple-Kool-Aid-Queasy wallop of ‘Super Bonbon’ or the 11 am she-left-for-work-and-I-didn’t pensive idle of “True Dreams of Wichita.’ (6/10)

6. ‘Get My Party On’ – Shaggy: Well, declare yourself a music snob, be prepared to be shamed by the fickle Party Shuffle finger of fate. A second rate attempt at a dancehall single by the sort of performer only people who “don’t really dig dancehall” really do dig. Where did this come from? (2/10)

7. ‘Blueberry Hill’ – Fats Domino: Boilerplate soul nostalgia. Everyone knows this song, and it’s not bad, but there’s better stuff in Fats’ own catalog. Right down the middle, I think. Not bad, but not a barn burner. (5/10)

8. ’68’ – Jawbox: Another song that doesn’t really show what alt-rock heroes were the mighty Jawbox. There’s some really flash and tricky drumming from one of the finest drummers of the post-Seattle underground rock scene, but the rest of the band seems content to turn in a kind of sleepy performance. When these guys were on fire, say when I saw them perform ‘Savory’ once in NYC, it could make your hair catch on fire. They should have been so much bigger than that sorry slack-jawed orangutan in Dinosaur, Jr. (6/10)

9. ‘Can’t Get Enough of Your Love’ – Barry White: I was prepared to say exactly the same thing about this as I did about ‘Blueberry Hill,’ but while it’s playing on the ‘pod right now, I realize… this song is one sexy muthafucka, despite all the hype around it. That and, well…. it has MORE COWBELL. (8/10)

10. ‘Ghetto Scandalous [feat. Amu & KB]’ – Zola: Remember what I said about being an insufferable music snob? It’s because I know you’re reading the title of this track and thinking “Jesus, what’s he on about, now? Who the fuck is ‘Zola?'” Zola was, at the time of this downloading, anyway, the king of Kwaito. Kwaito is hip-hop from South Africa, and while I dove DEEP into it after reading a story in the WaPo about the rap scene in Soweto, I must admit, however, that while I found some kwaito kinda compelling, I had one of those Sasha-tells-the-truth-about-how-he-feels-about-Fela moments, and I thought, most of this stuff isn’t that great. Not moving my pendulum, as it were. And this track? dead boring. There, I said that, too. (2/10)

Hm… 5.7 out of a possible 10. One Al Green song or something from ‘What’s Going On?’ could have popped this up over 7, but that’s the luck of the draw, I guess.


  1. Sage advice department: Don’t put the speakers in the $100 crapcan too good. Make it so you can get ’em out easy wherever you leave the car when it croaks.

    Happy New Year.

  2. I’m considering getting an iPod. I already spend money on iTunes, so you’d think I’d have already gotten one. I just am not sure about shelling out the cash. If I get one, it’ll be one of the video ones – not for videos, just for the amount of music you can store on it without having to switch songs out every couple of weeks.

  3. Yeah, I’m about to drop almost as much money into the stereo of my car as the car itself cost (which I didn’t even pay for). Such is the life. Gotta have the music, and it’s gotta be loud enough to drown out the hum of a 4-cyl at 73mph. Can’t go any faster than that cause the car starts vibrating. Heh.

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