By Ezra Morris
In any town that has at least one institution of higher learning for man, woman and child, it’s always a safe assumption that “college rock” is a constant presence, not limited to barista moonlighters doing their best Stephen Malkmus impression. Boston is no exception, and Dirty Dishes is the latest Beantown band to come out of Boston with a mix of punchy, feedback-drenched anthems that would make the ghosts of the 90s proud.
That’s not to say that Dirty Dishes isn’t doing anything new, even as the sounds of 120 Minutes becomes the standard sonic palate for a million current bands. With rockers like Yuck and Silversun Pickups at the forefront of the charge, Dirty Dishes is doing a fine job on the movement’s punk-inspired flank; musically, they traffic in spiky rhythmic blasts that recall the deepest In Utero cuts, but the band heads in a totally different direction when vocalist/guitarist Jenny Tuite's soaring melodies are laid on top. Keyboardist Alex Molini’s manic keyboard squaks (which would sound at home in any early-aughts San Diego Spock rock ensemble) and the band becomes even more difficult to pin down.
Orbiting Boston’s DIY breeding ground, Dirty Dishes brings together punk methods and art-school flamboyance. Like their fellow travellers who call the Allston punk house Wadzilla Mansion their second home, Dirty Dishes reminds us that Boston's got Berklee and the Pixies, not just BU and the Dropkick Murphys. Performing at the Middle East for this week’s episode, Dirty Dishes let loose with a barrage of caveman stomp, robo-squeals, and Julianna Hatfield-crooning, giving the townies something they didn’t realize their lives were missing. They definitely know now.