Monday, April 9, 2012

Crate Digging at Strictly Discs, Madison WI

Brainchild at Strictly Discs

Related to Elements: Crate Digging, DJ

Time doesn't matter whilst crate digging.  Well it shouldn't, but this Easter Weekend, family obligations took precedence over digging through records despite my strong protest.  Traveling across the state gave me the opportunity to hook up with fellow crate digger brainchild for a short excursion.  Our reluctant wives gave us a stern look and an hour time limit to check out the local Madison shops before we had to pack up and head out with our family to see our crazy relatives.  1 hour minus drive time to Strictly Discs gave us a mere 45 minutes.  We parked on the street and the meter had 37 minutes left from the last guy, so that was our real time limit.  I hate time restrictions when I'm in my happy place but there was nothing I could do about it, I had to dig fast.

When we walked in the store I saw how small it was, so I realized 37 minutes was plenty of time to flip through the stacks.  It was fairly crowded for it's size, there wasn't much room for you to maneuver between the sections.  Every time someone wanted to walk by me I had to suck in my gut and press against the stacks of wax to make room for them to pass.  There was a dirty old hippy sprawled out on the floor in front of the bargain bin section making it impossible for me to peruse the cheapies.  No big deal, because I could see even though there wasn't much room to move, what records they did have were really nice.  A lot of great rock graced the back wall and they had a section just for Numero records, so I was happy.  But the clock was ticking so I focused on the Hip Hop section as soon as the space wasn't occupied by another crate digger.

Suddenly I spotted this...

Da King & I - Contemporary Jeep Music
BA BOOM!  My heart jumped, I lost my cool and shouted in the store "Oh my GOD, Da King & I's Album for only 18 bucks!!!"  From that outburst I got a leer from a long hair in the death metal section and a sly smile from the store clerk who was amused by my bliss.  I couldn't help myself, I had been looking for this album for years and I never found it priced reasonably.

"If you guys like good Hip Hop, you should check out our basement." the store clerk said with a grin.

"Basement?" replied Brainchild.  He had been there before but was unaware the store was bigger then the crowded first floor.   

Brainchild immediately went down the stairs while I stayed put and continued quickly flipping through the remainder of the Hip Hop stack.  After all, if that was there, then there could be some other grails in the same stack that I didn't want to miss out on.

20 minutes to go, and I finally headed down the stairs.  As I went down, I passed a few bargain shelves, halfway between the basement and the first floor.  It seemed like the owners took every square inch of retail space to display their records.

At the bottom of the stairs the basement opened up into a large room literally loaded with records.  Brainchild stared at me with a big smirk and said, "Dude, this ain't even all of it, there's another huge room over there"

Then it became crystal clear that I didn't have nearly enough time to even scrape the surface of this store.  Hell, I could have spent an entire day digging there and still wouldn't have even come close to making a dent.  We had both seriously underestimated just how vast and deep this store's record collection was, on of all days, Holy Saturday.

It was now or never, so I got uber-focused and headed directly over to the soundtrack section quickly looking to fill some holes in my collection when I found this...

Benji Original Soundtrack

"OH SNAP, I have been looking for this forever!!!!" I squealed.  I literally jumped up in the air and clicked my heals together like a kid in a candy store.  Yes, the Benji Soundtrack is dope!  I saw the movie on Netflix with my kids years ago and it became clear to me that this soundtrack must reside in my collection.  It's got some fantastic 'chase-scene disco' and funky country breaks just begging to be tapped into on it.  Crate diggers should not sleep on the funk that resides on the grooves of this record.

"What time is it?"  asked BC.
"It's been 36 minutes."

"Damnit, I gotta feed the meter.  Got a quarter??"
"No, sorry. " I said with a blank stare while flipping furiously through the jazz section.

He ran up the stairs, got change, and flew out the front door while I milked the remainder of our time.  "Come on, he lives in Madison, he can come back any day, so I gotta stay a little longer" I justified. 

I had collected about 5 records from the dig so far and I knew I had to prioritize and put back a few especially after I saw this...

Brian Eno  Jon Hopkins Leo Abrahams - Small Craft On A Milk Sea
"New Eno, NICE!!!"  It's an expensive record for how new it is, but as with so many Brian Eno albums it is absolutely well worth the money, so I reluctantly put back a few other finds and we made our way to the checkout.  (read more about these albums at

It was a great dig, we both got a few golden eggs that day.  Over all I'd have to rate Strictly Discs a solid 9/10.   It's deceptively huge, it's got some of the best records I have ever seen, and if time wasn't an issue that day (or money) I would have cleaned em out of their best wax.  Next time you are in Madison, bring 10 bucks in quarters for the parking meter, give yourself a full day of time, and flip through their hoards of wax.  You'll go home with a big smile on your face and some very special records for your crates.