Digital Love, Live from Duluth

Nocturnal transmissions from Perfect Sound Radio

Magnus and the Captain are facing each other in old kitchen chairs, three crates of albums on the floor between them, in an alcove that juts from the front of Oberg's house. The tiny room has windows on three sides. Outside, a clear April day that feels like October is fading to night in blue gradients of dusk.

The Captain is 42 years old and from Chicago. He's capable of impromptu dissertations--equal parts breathless celebration and objective contextual analysis--on '70s prog rockers Hawkwind and Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson. Tonight he's dressed in black work boots, black jeans, a black pocket T, and a black baseball cap with a Mack Truck logo. He works for a buddy who owns a few used auto dealerships, driving cars from huge auto auctions in New York Mills and Minneapolis back to Duluth. The Captain also collects disability; a brand-new UPS driver messed him up good a few years ago.

The alcove is packed: bodies, records, three microphones on stands, a table crammed into a corner and laid out with turntables, a Dell laptop running a streaming audio program called AudCast, blaring mini-speakers, and a couple of mixers connecting it all. Every half-hour or so, Magnus and the Captain break for station ID and to comment on the previous set, which the Captain tracks on a yellow legal pad.

Darin Back

"That was the Ramones from Too Tough to Die, a great album no one ever talks about, from 1986," says the Captain. "It's hard to comprehend that the front line of the Ramones is no longer with us. [Long pause. Sincerely sad face.] What else did we have in that set, Magnus?"

"We also had some Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers," Magnus says. "Not to be confused with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Completely different band."

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