The nominations are in and it’s time to vote. Which Duluth-area theater production made your little Greek mask laugh or weep last year?
What was the best play or musical of 2014?
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Inspired by the Duluth Button Collection, Perfect Duluth Day now presents the Duluth Matchbook Collection — a gallery of small cardboard folders with a striking surface on one side, featuring images promoting select enterprises of the Arrowhead region.
“Working Man’s Song” is the B-side to Wood Blind‘s recent 7-inch single release, “Big Voice.” Teague Alexy composed “Working Man’s Song” roughly 15 years ago; it appeared on the Teague Alexy with Medication album Sun, Moon and Heaven. Alexy provides lead vocals on the Wood Blind version, with Jason Wussow on guitar and Veikko Lepisto on upright bass.
According to the blurb on YouTube, the Duluth band Darkhood recorded this single in the 1960s.
“These lads allegedly recorded this at Chess Studios in Chicago and then subsequently lost most of the copies of this 45 when it melted in one of their cars,” the video description reads. “The flip side is great, too. Fuzz guitar and catchy garage from the Northlands; ain’t nothing better.”
The tune was ripped for YouTube from the original 45 by the Hold Tight DJ crew in St. Paul.
It was actually a late-2013 release, but Red Mountain’s debut album Scowl Lightly captured the most attention in 2014 among voters in Perfect Duluth Day’s poll to name the top local album of the year. Issued on vinyl and compact disc by Duluth’s Chaperone Records, Scowl Lightly brought band leader Anton Jimenez-Kloeckl’s evolving musical project out of the shadows of the weirdo-experimental scene to top billing at local festivals — with enough performance antics to proudly retain the weirdo label. In a review for the independent music website Wordkrapht, Ellen Vaagen writes that Scowl Lightly is “a baroque pop gem spattered with claps, bells, trumpet, and saxophone floating on a clear stream of fancy-free fun” and the band’s live performances “are a fantasia of dancing, face paint, feathers, masks, and flamboyant sequin costumes that encourage crowds to let their freak flags fly.”
If you’ve followed Perfect Duluth Day closely for more than a year, you might know that my wife and I are the world’s laziest and lousiest birders. We have cheap binoculars and cameras, and basically just try to keep an eye out while we are engaged in an activity like cross-country skiing. Last year, during an owl irruption in the Duluth area, we saw zero owls. The only snowy owls we had seen in our lives, before today, were in captivity at the Lake Superior Zoo and the World Bird Sanctuary in Missouri.
We had a few failed missions last year, seeking the elusive snowy at Rice’s Point and the Bong Airport. After hearing reports of sightings near Duluth Business University and Wade Stadium this year, we decided to give it another try. We saw a bald eagle at Grassy Point within minutes, and figured that was a good sign. We knew from reading Sparky Stensaas’ blog post about Superior Snowy Owls that it’s generally easier to find them in a stupid place, like on a football scoreboard (in his case) or a piece of industrial equipment (in our case) than in a beautiful wilderness environment, so we were only moderately surprised to find our gal at Erie Pier in West Duluth, perched on a bulldozer.
A previous round of voting identified the top three albums by Duluth bands in 2014. Now it’s time to pick the award winner. Ire Wolves’ The Ascetic and Wolf Blood’s self-titled album can be listened to on Bandcamp. Red Mountain’s Scowl Lightly isn’t available for free listening in its entirety, but the single “Home” is on SoundCloud and there are videos for “Forestasia” and “Put Me Through.” Listen up, then pick your favorite.
What was the best local album of 2014?
This poll is now closed. The results are:
Red Mountain’s Scowl Lightly – 40.6 percent
Wolf Blood’s self titled debut – 34.4 percent
Ire Wolves The Ascetic – 25 percent