Dirty Dishes' Road to Fame

Boston-based band breaks onto national scene

The Boston-based band Dirty Dishes might just become the next big thing in the national rock scene. The band, which consists of guitarist/singer Jenny E. Tuite, drummer Mike J. Thomas, bassist Jay S. Marcovitz, and synth player Alex F. Molini, is difficult to classify. Their style is an innovative blend of ambient rock and experimental music, and can be described generally as shoegaze. The genre, however, does not do justice to the immense variety of music the band produces. “It’s kind of hard to classify what we are,” claims Tuite, while Marcovitz adds, “we all bring our own influences to the band.” Such variety has caught the attention of numerous musicians in the Boston area, especially mixing engineer Keith E. Freund.

Freund, who first noticed the Dirty Dishes from a demo on Tuite’s Myspace page, saw so much early potential in her music that he offered to mix and co-produce her first EP. Although at this point the band was not fully formed, the members quickly forged a cohesive bond that has lasted through a successful and extremely busy two years. Soon after their creation, the band released its first EP, “In the Clouds,” which consists of five varied songs ranging from the dreamy pop of “Deer in Headlights” to the heavy metal of “Stolen Apples.” Socrates Cruz ’06, a local musician and friend of the Dishes, praises their EP. “It’s very unique,” he says. “It’s original, yet not self-indulgent.”

Surprisingly, this innovative sound arises from a somewhat standard rock songwriting process. Tuite writes lyrics last and focuses mainly on melodies and harmonies. “I want the music to create the mood rather than the lyrics. The lyrical content just has to agree with the sound of the song,” she states. The band’s sound, however, likely stems from their eagerness to create novel aural landscapes with every song. However, writing varied and novel songs is a grueling process, sometimes taking up to six months for a single track. “A couple of us will flesh out a general song idea and we’ll play with it for weeks or months until we have something ideal,” says Molini. Nonetheless, the band clearly relishes their approach, and they have just finished their second EP. Freund, again mixing and producing the EP, predicts “this next EP is going to show people that it wasn’t just a fluke … that they’re in for keeps.”

Not only successful on record, the Dishes also have a seemingly infinite line-up of gigs arranged on their current tour, which takes them from Maine to Texas. They have been on tour since January and have on average seven or eight gigs a week until April. Freund expresses that the personality of the band members makes them so appealing to audiences. “They engage your curiosity especially when you see them live. Jenny’s such an enigmatic person and front-runner for the band. There’s kind of a mysteriousness or mystique about them where people want to know more.” Freund adds that “Jenny is very much like a lot of the great artists in history that I’ve watched documentaries on. She’s possessed by her vision and the whole band has catered around the same kind of vision.”

This vision has already led to much success and publicity; the band has enjoyed frequent radio play and even short spots on two episodes of MTV’s “Jersey Shore.” The band has already opened for many famous acts, including Passion Pit and Autolux, but Freund thinks that the next stage of their career will take them touring nationally with one such renowned group. “There’s definitely kind of an air and vibe about them in Boston that they are destined for something huge.”