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MICROTONES by Ben Munson, editor and jingle-hunter at large

Jim's Coins & Stamps has hands-down the greatest local jingle. Nothing else even comes close. Once the two-second ditty, bookending the store's TV ads, gets in your head, it’s staying for at least a few days. The entire song is just "Jim’s Coins in Hilldale."

Owner Jim Essence told me that he recorded the song around 2010 with the idea that, if a catchy song sticks in his head, it will stick in other people’s heads too.

"I remember jingles all the time. So I thought it was a good way to get it in people’s heads that we're here," Essence says.

His family helped him craft this earworm. "We all wrote it together," he says, but it was his mother, Mary, and brother, Kylian, who sang it. Both had experience singing with the choir at St. Bernard Catholic Church in Middleton and, together, they created a sweet, subtle harmony.

With just two voices, five notes, a microphone, and a computer, Jim and his family created the single most unstoppable jingle in Madison. Jim’s Coins has been at Hilldale since 1989—it was previously known as Len’s Coins—and for a long time it was well-known to numismatics fanatics and people looking to part with some gold or silver. But from 2010 on, this infectious song has ensured that every single person in Madison knows the name of Jim's Coins, and knows that it is in Hilldale.

New this week: Tatsuya Nakatani plays our next curated show this Friday at Arts + Literature Lab and you don't want to miss it. A "feral," "Creole" marketing mascot backfires for Jazz At Five. Painter Valerie Mangion looks into the night-vision eyes of wildlife in her new Watrous Gallery show. Michael Penn II is on the podcast to discuss his essay series, "The Circus."

This week's Madison calendar: Litüus, a free local hip-hop showcase, Colin Stetson & Sarah Neufeld, Posh Lost, and much more..

Want to support our work? Make a one-time donation through Square Cash or a recurring donation through Patreon.

Tone Madison events!

August 5: Tatsuya Nakatani with Tar Pet and Midwaste. Arts + Literature Laboratory, 7 p.m., all ages, $8

August 11: Sam Amidon with Tony Barba. Gates of Heaven, 7 p.m., all ages, $12 donation at door.

October 10: Battle Trance with Randal Bravery. Gates of Heaven, 7 p.m., all ages, $8 donation at door.

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