The Dishes

Although they don't appear to have any stories about drummers exploding on stage or snuffing it via any bizarre gardening accidents, the Dishes (the Chicago punks, not the late-'80s Houston party band) can still rank themselves with the likes of Spinal Tap in the category of rotating percussionists. In the few short years they've been in existence they've already plowed through six of them, but as there don't seem to be (unfortunately?) any brutal stories about those mutinies, you can't really pin the blame on the rest of the band -- singer-guitarists and founders Kiki Yablon and Sarah Staskauskas, along with bassist Sharon Maloy.

With the exception of the fact that one of those drummers was the stealthy Aliana Kalaba (We Ragazzi) -- who is tremendous, to say the least -- they really haven't lost anything in their two-record process of weeding out. Newest drummer Mike Tsoulos survived making an entire album with the ladies, and coincidentally helped complete their best record to date.

In doing so, the Dishes have avoided the horrible past-referential curse of garage rock. There is admittedly little room to breathe in the sound itself -- the intentionally inferior fidelity and the nonlinear form of slopping one's self musically around as much as possible see to that. Though they are customarily tagged as such, what the Dishes have come up with on 3 reminds one less of the oft-bandied "garage rock" tag as it does the older, '70s rock-echoing punk. The Dishes' guitars are thicker, heavier, the sound a bit more resonant all the way around. Drummer Tsoulos doesn't snap the songs in line by tightening them up too terribly much, but he doesn't let them fall all over the place, either. Instead he helps them find a comfortable in-between that fights the notion that a sound such as theirs had nowhere to go. Evidently it had nowhere to go but up, and though they haven't penned the next Night at the Opera, they have, at the very least, allowed themselves room to expand.

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Lance Walker