Best Place to Drop a Quarter - 2000
Caught at the moment in one of the down cycles between its periodic renaissances as a hangout, the Arcade Lanes could become your own private funhouse. It's not the cheapest place to drink, but it's a kind of anti-Lo (recommendation plenty), and it manages to provide what no place else does: on any given night, the surest musical thing in town. Adjacent to the bar is a Seeburg Stereo jukebox of uncertain vintage, loaded with honest-to-god vinyl, including a battered copy of "Magic Carpet Ride." The Seeburg's fidelity went some time ago, and what's left is less a jukebox than an idling ass-kick machine, waiting for your quarter. Let the sound take you away. The song's front end churns as menacingly as it was meant to, but when the bridge hits, it feels like a sloppy kiss. It's a stumbling dervish of flange and fuzz, plunging through an etheric haze of ditchweed and metal dust. It's a bass-heavy rumble of blown woofers and rattling Seeburg Stereo trim and shuddering plastic. It costs 12-and-a-half cents, and if you want, you can then play "Bossa Nova Baby" or "When the Whip Comes Down," but why? Again.