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The Dishes

There's nothing here but good old-fashioned rock -- no keyboards, knob twiddling, goofball samples, or other affectations -- just the brutal, unparalleled power of a couple of snarling guitars, a playground bully of a bass, and fierce drums. That's right, rock and roll! When you hear it done right, you wonder how you ever could have listened to anything else. And the Dishes do it damn right. If this fast-tough-and-mean Chicago four-piece doesn't get your juices pumping, you must be dead. Because their lineup is three-quarters female, because they're raw and loud, and because they make rock music, not chick rock, the Dishes are going to get compared to L7 a lot. But they've probably got more in common with late '70s female-fronted punk bands from the U.K. like The Slits, the The Raincoats, and Lilliput. What you'll really hear in the Dishes sound, however, is Wire's penchant for making remarkably complicated two-minute punk rock songs (If more bands listened and learned from Wire, the world would be a better place).

The Dishes 13-song debut album, which includes "Dirty Highway" and "Ohio," is self-titled. It's full of brilliant dual guitar riffs, catchy shout-along choruses, and staccato rhythms that are going to make your skeleton want to crawl right out of your skin. Their second album, 2, features more two-minute bursts of rock, again released on their own No. 89 Records. Their 2003 offering, 3, on File 13 Records takes The Dishes rawk sound into more expansive territory thanks to the legendary garage-punk producer Tim Kerr.

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