Perfect Album of 2014: Red Mountain’s Scowl Lightly

PDDPerfectAlbumAwardLogo2014It 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.”

Red Mountain 2013 band photo Red Mountain - Scowl Lightly LP cover Anton Jimenez-Kloeckl 2014

Temps are deadly, call homeless hotline with tips

Homeless in Duluth. Photo: Deb Holman

Photo: Deb Holman

Please, if anyone reading this is experiencing homelessness or knows of someone who may be living outside, in a vehicle or in an unheated building, call the Street Outreach hotline at 218-461-8505. An outreach worker will follow up on all tips and try to get people into shelter.

The Street Outreach Team is also in need of winter boots (all adult sizes), gas cards and warm hats and mittens. Donations can be brought to CHUM (102 W 2nd St) or Loaves and Fishes (1712 Jefferson St).

Sweeto Burrito, eh?

Something curious popped up in the last couple months, via Facebook.

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Finally, a burrito joint in the Twin Ports. I’ve been waiting so long … hopefully Chipotle catches the hint?

If this is actually real, it’s interesting how the Duluth burrito market went from 0 to saturated in a matter of months. Sure, we had/still have Burrito Union, but I haven’t ever exactly heard rave reviews for the place, nor have I ever generated rave reviews myself after going there. The two new burrito establishments are handy to have around for decent food in a quick pinch, but nothing earth-shattering. I frequent one or the other a couple times per month. I haven’t bothered to set foot in Burrito Union in at least two or three years.

After creeping the corporate website for this new Sweeto Burrito, it appears that its food differs vastly from the current three options, but perhaps not in a good way. The tacos look OK, but the ambitious burrito combinations don’t exactly seem to be my cup of tea. If this new restaurant comes to fruition, will it hold its own against the other players? How many burritos can a smallish city consume? Apparently a lot, judging by the line that forms outside the Chipotle almost every time I drive by.

Poll: Best Duluth-related Video of 2014

We’ve closed the Best Video of 2014 poll, and with an unusually low response that was all over the board, we’re calling it inconclusive. In hindsight, expecting people to watch all of the nominated videos is a lot to ask. We discussed trimming the list down even more, but felt that each of the videos there deserved to be considered.

The post with the nominated videos will remain.

Where in Duluth?


Saw this one this morning. It’s tiny, but it stood out, so maybe someone else will remember seeing it.

PDD Video Lab: Cute Snowshoe Hare

Here’s an adorable video of the elusive snowshoe hare by photographer Michael Furtman. With no audio, the silence is a bit deafening, so we’ll encourage you to provide your own soundtrack. Press play on the video above, then press play on one of the selections below.

Perfect Duluth Day: The song, by Greg Tiburzi

We feel a little bit silly that we just found this tune this morning.
Perfect Duluth Day, by Greg Tiburzi, recorded in 2011.
Greg Tiburzi-acoustic guitar, harmonica, vocals, tambourine
Mike Mattson-electric guitar, vocals
Diane Eck-bass guitar
Todd Gremmels-drums
Steve Johnson-violin
Anne Fisk-vocals

This Week: chakras, snowballs, ha-ha’s and more

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Here’s a bit of what you’ll find on this week’s PDD Calendar:

The holidays are in the rear-view mirror, and so things are back to something resembling normal in the Twin Ports. For those looking to hit the ground running in 2015, there’s a lot out there to do. Take in an art opening at the Zeitgeist Arts Building, learn about MNsure and ARAC, see a locally-made film and head up to Lutsen for the Snowball Festival.

Over the weekend, check out some punk rock at the Red Star, learn about your Chakras, get a jazz fix from Maxi Childs and company, have a few ha-ha’s at Dubh Linn and celebrate those on the outskirts of things at the Fringe Festival.

Plenty to do, and, best of all, your chances of hearing a tinny version of “Jingle Bells” coming out of a speaker somewhere are virtually nil.

Superior Curling Club was fun

sccI spent Saturday afternoon watching friends play at the Superior Curling Club.

According to its website, the current club location was built “during the late 1980s.” “A modern new four sheet club was built at the Head of the Lakes Fairgrounds. Superior curlers worked out an agreement with the city and county on the funding of the club. The county and city contributed two dollars for every club dollar, and the curlers put in many thousands of hours in the actual construction of the new club.”

It’s a nifty facility, but it’s an even niftier sport to watch on a cold afternoon.

Well, Duluth, it’s been great!

I’m sad, so sad, to have to leave my adopted home of the past 3 and a half years. With Cliffs closing the Duluth office, I need to move where the work is, so on Monday I start my transition to the Eau Claire area.

Duluth is truly a special place and one that I will hold in my heart. (I so want to stay that I’m even keeping the house I bought in Kenwood and will have a family member reside there.)

To those like minded folks that love Duluth as I do, I don’t have to list the reasons why. To those haters out there, you will never understand the attraction the the place. I have endured five corporate relocations in the 29 years my wife and I have been married. I have lived in the South, the West, and the Northeast, but nothing beats the Upper Midwest.

Farewell, Duluth, Bon Chance!

Cable Natural History Museum Naturalist/Curator Job Opening

The Cable Natural History Museum’s naturalist/curator position requires curiosity, active engagement with projects, professionalism, independent initiative, effective communication skills with children and adults, and a desire to work with animals.

Found: The Elusive West Duluth Snowy Owl

Snowy Owl in West Duluth

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.

Poll: Best Local Album of 2014 (Final Round)

Top Three Albums of 2014

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?

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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

Selective Focus: Resolve

Margaret Harstad c/o Erika Fryklepak

Erika Fryklepak, untitled

With “resolve” I’d asked for images of what you’d like to leave behind in the new year — vices, habits, excess, etc. — as well as things you hope to carry forward and to cultivate — whether those are things as tangible as a garden, or more ephemeral- like say, gratitude, mindfulness, or empathy.

Perfect Duluth Day’s Best Videos of 2014

Best Videos of 2014

It was a big year for Internet videos, with over 200 Duluth-related segments posted to Perfect Duluth Day. Combing through and picking our favorites was arduous, but we nailed down the top 17 and gave up trying to cut the list at that point.