Tony Bennett, For the News Tribune
When it was announced that the latest platter from one of the world's best rock bands — Norway's 30-year-old space-rock veterans Motorpsycho — would contain only three tracks, it was an intriguing bit of news, but it wasn't as shocking as it would've been if any other group had revealed that info. After all, the trio once put out a double-album (the incredible "Little Lucid Moments") with only four tracks on it, and they not too long ago released a five-track, full-length ("Still Life With Eggplant").
The inaugural Duluth Comedy Fest came to a close Saturday night at the Norshor Theatre with performances by two humor heavyweights — Brian Posehn and Tig Notaro. Comedians of their caliber rarely make it to the Northland, so the mere fact they were here in the flesh was impressive enough, but their sets demonstrated why they've both risen to the fore of their chosen fields over time.
Call secretary Claudia Anderson's extension at Denfeld High School, and it's not out of the realm of possibility that, before you even know what's happened, you're on hold, and she's talking animatedly with someone in the background. It sounds like she's giving instructions. Her tone of voice is friendly and engaged. At the very least, she sounds like someone in charge.
"What is the worst thing about buying used toilets on Craigslist?" asks Neil Hamburger in a YouTube video called "Neil Hamburger — Funny Guy!" The answer: "Having to go over to Rob Schneider's house."
It's an overused descriptor when it comes to a certain strain of rock music, but "quirky" is helpful enough to give an idea of what something sounds like. AC/DC? Not quirky. Modest Mouse? Quirky. If you have songs about floating around with butterflies, or if you sound at times like your Talking Heads fandom is second only to your knowledge of the extended "Doctor Who" universe, you're probably quirky. Let's move on before we get any closer to doing a Jeff Foxworthy routine.
A little under two years ago, Guided by Voices released their 23rd album, "August by Cake." At the time, though, that impressive number wasn't the one that was trumpeted in the music press — it was that "Cake" was GBV mastermind Robert Pollard's 100th record overall. That achievement is one that's hard to fathom. Then again, Pollard's superhuman output has been one of his main qualities for a couple decades. Yes, he writes fantastic surrealist pop-rock — that's true. But the sheer amount of it that he puts into the world is what everyone truly marvels at.
Duluth's Low Forms is one of those bands that have been kicking around for awhile, but they've released only a few things during the course of their existence. Some people are like this — they'll go out and play shows for years, but, for whatever reason, the albums don't flow out of them.
With the last several Melvins albums falling squarely in the "meh" category, it's tempting to say that their best days are behind them. Not every band can remain a Destroyer of Worlds forever, so it's alright. And, even at their lowest, they're still more creative than most, so it's hard to mourn them while they're alive and kicking.
It's the era of the artisan. Now more than ever, consumers are interested in products that are made with care and pride by people who have made a hobby into a way to earn a living. Danette Thacker of Riverside Soy Candles is one of these people. She has turned a love for candlemaking into a thriving small business, and it has been an exciting journey for her over the last few years.