Third Man Records. Jack White’s Rolling Record Store.

When I was 21 I landed a coveted job at the newly opened Streetside records in suburban Kansas City. This was a dream job. I got to be immersed in all sorts of music 30 hours a week, and someone paid me to push my musical taste on people that came through the doors. I worked part time at Street Side off and on for 5 years. This was what seemed like the golden age of the record store. Vinyl was still popular even though CD’s were slowly taking over the business. Import albums were readily available, and being able to purchase a record with alternate tracks, or mixes on them was fantastic.

Today I read that today 97% of high school aged kids have never been to a record store. I can see that being 100% correct. Look at the landscape today. Everything is digital, and you don’t need to go. You can buy one off singles, or full albums right on your phone and download the tracks as you go about your business. I have to admit, I am a guilty participant when it comes to this behavior. When I got my first iPod (first generation click wheel) I ripped all my CD’s and took the leap to all digital all the time.

Thank god we have Jack White though.At SXSW this year, White launched his rolling record store. Think of it as a bookmobile for records. Yes I know I just dated myself even more with that reference. The store is called Third Man Rolling Record Store, and is designed to bring the record store experience to the people, since the people won’t go to record stores. I love the idea of this. White is bringing the allure of discovery, of browsing to find an unknown gem, of records. When I think back about vinyl, and the physicality of having to actually get involved with a record beyond a swipe and a tap, it makes me wish I had kept all my records and bought that 1960’s Braun, Dieter Rams turntable when I had the chance.

Jawbowne Jambox

Jawbone, the makers of the oh so sexy Aliph Bluetooth headsets, have released a new wireless speaker called Jambox. The Jambox speaker is small, compact, and stylish with the ability to crank out 85Db of sound. Jambox is powered by a pair of proprietary acoustic drivers, unmatched in their ability to produce extreme high and low frequencies from a single, ultra-small dome speaker. They work in concert with an innovative moving-wall passive bass radiator and airtight enclosure to deliver shimmering highs and thumping lows with a  Frequency Response: 60 Hz – 20 kHz. While these aren’t exactly reference monitors, they do have pretty good specs for something this small.

Designed to function as a companion speaker for your computer/iPhone/iPod this is a rugged stylish solution. The Jambox is sturdy, and can be tossed in a backpack without worry, it runs up to 10 hours off of batteries, so no outlet is needed to power it. Jambox dumps the requisite iPod or mini stereo input for Bluetooth wireless, so you can roam the room with your music player, without physically tethering yourself to the speaker. Another bonus of the Jambox Bluetooth speaker is that it works as a travel-friendly substitute for a laptop, iPad’s, iPhone’s lame speakers, and if you need a speakerphone it is a definite plus over the iPhones speaker mode.

At 200 bucks the price might be a bit high for some, but I could see using this on a fairly regular basis.

Michiel Cornelisson’s Pod à Porter.

Last night while I was mowing the lawn in the oppressive Kansas City heat, I was thinking about a better way to lug my iPod around. Something that would free it from my pocket, or belt and not strap to my arm. Well today I think I might have stumbled on something; Pod à porter neckband for iPod shuffle. This is perfect for me, except that I would have to buy an iPod shuffle to make it work. Based on the design of the thing, forking over 79 bucks for a 4 gig iPod shuffle might make it worth my time.

This is a simple elegant solution that manages cables, and allows the iPod to rest around your neck negating the need for clips and straps. When I saw this my first thought was this would be great while mowing, but on second thought, it’ll be better while rowing by keeping the cables away from my moving arms and folding body.

Pod à porter is $27.00 and available here.