Saturday, March 15, 2014

The Last Bargain Hunt: Madison Under Snowflakes

Celebrating 20 years of going up to Madison, I have seen my share of ups and downs, but perhaps this trip may have been one of the strangest trips ever gone.  When I first plan this trip the weekend was supposed to be nice and sunny but by Saturday a threat of the 38th snow storm this winter, I cut short the trip and went home in the afternoon only to get stuck in a snowstorm in Dubuque and two fucking idiot drivers tailgating in the process. The Chinese buffet next to CDs 4 Change is now out of business replaced by a cellphone company.  The snowstorm finally let up after getting past the Cascade exit and dumbass driver number 2 getting off somewhere there.

Madison was hit and miss again, and I almost got my car towed since it was rush hour and you can't park in the street on Williamson Street and at the St Vincent De Paul. But I managed to start the car up and high tailed and made a face at the tow truck driver with boots in hand ready to steal Redd from me and probably another 500 dollar bailout. No thank you.  But on the other hand, I got to see two lesbians make out at the Mexican place, and two trailer trash couples playing suck face at Pawn America, and basically what's left for CDs is junk although I did manage to find a few oddball bands that nobody gives a shit about. This time out, Mad City Music X had nothing for me to buy, and I discovered that the best place for vinyl is Strictly Discs on Monroe Street, and that the basement that I knew nothing about had plenty of records to choose from, I picked three from the dollar bins, including the Paley Brothers' 1978 album on Sire, that I have never seen before.  The good stuff is hidden in the basement and although reviews of the help have been mixed, they were courteous and helpful.  I didn't stopped in B Sides and Sugar Shack due to time and weather restraints but both Strictly Discs and Mad City Music X were much more busier than the last time I stopped in.  Maybe the resurgence of  vinyl is making a comeback.

Half Priced Books in both locations had a few dollar cds worth getting and the Friday Night 20 percent off sale helped me in buying the first Renaissance LP (with Keith Relf) on Elektra and the other Ruben And The Jets album that came out on Mercury but didn't have Frank Zappa helping out.  But both St Vincent De Pauls, Goodwills and Salvation Army had nothing that I bought.  I really haven't had much luck in the previous four or five times I stopped at the Goodwills, they always seem to be picked apart.  The east side Pre Played had a couple of out of print CDs that I acquired Soup and Brian Auger Straight Ahead.

But for new music, I've never seen places so scattershot.  Best Buy doesn't have shit anymore, so basically you're better off going Strictly Discs or Mad City Music X or B Sides for the latest. Since I didn't pick up the new Los Lobos album at Mad City Music X, I thought the others would have it but they didn't.  In the end, Strictly Discs wins out on the best place to find the hard the find, including Best Of Ten Wheel Drive as  a promo CD.

Last time I spent the night at Mircotel, their room sucked, but a return visit actually has some refurbished rooms, new plasma TVs and (less) More digital channels although I couldn't tell which was which but when discovered MeTV, I didn't watch anything else.   WORT remains the best Madison station but it's getting to the point that I can't get into the new music although the track they played off Beck's new album was pretty good.  I might consider buying that when i get paid.  However, I did buy the new Grassroots Complete Dunhill Moondog Music on the way home.

Life in Madison, strange as ever; at 2:30 AM, the fire truck and rescue unit was outside the hotel, I ended up opening a bottle of root beer and have it sprayed all over my coat.  Some old woman at Salvation Army had her car blocking the driveway, as some poor dude trying to push her car back, she kept hitting the horn.  Probably would have made a bit more difference if she took the damn thing out of park.  Gas prices were 3.59 up there, the temps on Friday was about 40 degrees but a chilly NW wind made me grab my winter coat out of the car.  Both lakes still have their ice blanket and I did my usual walk around State Street and seeing new buildings replacing the old and of course having Ian's Pizza for a noon time snack.

For those who venture out this way looking for record stores. there's still a few to check out but for the professional digger, Strictly Disc and Sugar Shack remain the go to places,  Mad City Music X this time seemed to be picked apart. 

So I'm sure Mad City will see me again, but hopefully the next time, it won't be snowing. 

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