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By Andy Argyrakis
Spoon Cracker conquers, Powerhouse line-up at Pitchfork
Friday, July 18, 2008

The ultra-hipster little brother to Lollapalooza turns in yet another action packed line-up of the indie's most elite, starting with an opening night of influential artists playing key albums in their entirety. Friday finds Public Enemy turning in It Takes a Nation of Millions To Hold us Back, Sebadoh addressing Bubble and Scrape and Mission of Burma performing Vs. Saturday returns to more traditional sets, including Animal Collective, Jarvis Cocker, The Hold Steady, !!!, Vampire Weekend and No Age, while Sunday is cemented around Spoon, Dinosaur Jr., Spiritualized, M. Ward and The Apples in Stereo to name a few. (Bet your life - Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Union Park- Chicago, IL: www.pitchforkmusicfestival.com).

Two years is a long time to wait for Cracker faithful, but the band promises its current studio sessions will be more than worth the wait. Though the follow-up to 2006's acclaimed Greenland is still in the works, fans will surely find satisfaction in the web-only album Live In Berlin, available exclusively through Pitch-a-Tent Records (www.pitchatent.com). The collection will actually be the first of several to come featuring Cracker rarities, unfinished demos and other random ramblings along the lines of Camper Van Beethoven Is Dead. Long Live Camper Van Beethoven.Cracker No matter what the upcoming release direction, the group comprised of co-founding front man David Lowery and guitarist Johnny Hickman, along with bassist Sal Maida (Roxy Music/Sparks/Runaways) and drummer Frank Funaro (The Dictators/Joey Ramone/Del Lords) always deliver in the live setting. (Bet your life - Sunday at Sheffield Garden Walk- Chicago, IL: www.crackersoul.com).

Nickel Creek may be on indefinite hiatus, but one third of the group Chris Thile already found himself a new band. Dubbed the Punch Brothers (after one of Mark Twain's short stories), the act is comprised of top notch players spanning bluegrass, folk and traditional backgrounds. Though it remains to be seen if this upcoming outfit will have the widespread appeal of Thile's previous outfit, attendees are guaranteed skillful musicianship and the leader's witty sense of humor. (Worth a shot - Monday at Ravinia's Martin Theatre- Highland Park, IL: www.ravinia.org).

John Mellencamp Street Week: Zeppelin connection revives Foreigner, More Mellencamp
Monday, July 14, 2008

In the wake of Robert Plant & Alison Krauss' blockbuster Raising Sand, producer T Bone Burnett is getting plenty of phone calls to churn out his distinctive blend of roots rock and alternative country. Though Indiana-bred rock n' roller John Mellencamp is best known for the days when he had Cougar as a middle name, the singer/songwriter earns a complete overhaul thanks to the knob twirler on Life, Death, Love & Freedom (Hear Music). Similar to the aforementioned album, expect plenty of rootsy rhythms, electric folk and bits of the blues, plus subject matter ranging from peace to politics to growing older with dignity.

Who'd have bet Foreigner could rise beyond the oldies/state fair circuit and find new life from a Led Zeppelin link? Not only have the veterans lasted longer than many of its commercially-minded peers, but the relatively recent addition of drummer Jason Bonham ads a whole new electricity-doused dimension to the melodic rockers. The results are evident on the double disc No End In Sight: The Very Best of ForeignerForeigner (Atlantic/Rhino), which spans a generous thirty-two songs, including the current line-up's blistering live renditions of "Starrider" and "Juke Box Hero/Whole Lotta Love." The group clearly scored additional wind in its sails after opening for Led Zeppelin's historic 2007 reunion gig, as traced throughout the fresh studio track "Too Late," aptly rounding out a collection also packed with all the previous Foreigner anyone would ever need.

In DVD realms, Down the Tracks: The Music That Influenced Bob Dylan (Eagle), chronicles performances and interviews with several of the singer/songwriters who shaped the living legend's timeless sounds. Acts from country to blues to gospel to folk are featured, including Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Leadbelly, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Blind Willie McTell and Reverend Gary Davis. The documentary styled disc combines archival and new footage, simultaneously unveiling Dylan's main muses and paying tribute to the man they helped make.

The Dish Archives - 2008

July 7 - 11
June 30 - July 4
June 23 - 27
June 16 - 20
June 9 - 13
June 2 - 6
May 26 - 30
May 19 - 23
May 12 - 16
May 5 - 9
Apr. 28 & May 2
Apr. 21 & 25
Apr. 14 & 18
Apr. 7 & 11
Mar. 30 & Apr. 4
Mar. 24 & 28
Mar. 17 & 21
Mar. 10 & 14
Mar. 3 & 7
Feb. 25 & 29
Feb. 18 & 22
Feb. 11 & 15
Feb. 4 & 8
Jan. 28 - Feb. 1
Jan. 21 - 25
Jan. 14 - 18
Jan. 7 - 11
Jan. 1 - 4
Daily Dish Archives - 2007

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