Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Basics: the pillows

A year ago today, an earthquake ripped through Northern Honshu, the main island in Japan. It was followed by a devastating tsunami that took out many of the impoverished fishing villages and rural towns in the North. While the rebuilding process has certainly allowed for exciting opportunities for innovation and social experimentation, Japan was in bad shape before the earthquake, and she still needs our help. Please donate to the Japan Society's Earthquake Relief Fund here.

This week, I'll be featuring some of my favorite Japanese artists on the site. Because Japanese culture is not just anime, porn, and anime porn (also known as hentai.)

However, for most nerdlings, anime is a gateway into Japanese culture. If you're familiar with the pillows, it's probably because you watched FLCL, an anime that was incomprehensibly surreal even by anime fans' standards.

I actually never really watched FLCL. But I loved the soundtrack, which was almost exclusively songs by veteran pop-punk band, the pillows. The first time I went to Japan, I made it my quest to find myself some pillows CDs.

It's easy to see The Pixies' influence on the band. In fact, "Back Seat Dog" directly lifts the bassline from "Here Comes Your Man." (They acknowledge it towards the end of the song.) It's hard not to enjoy these songs -- even if you don't speak Japanese, the songs should be able to make you feel happy and nostalgic -- like most Japanese pop. And you shouldn't worry if you don't understand what they're saying -- I promise you the pillows' lyrics make about as much sense as FLCL, which is to say, not at all. Try something new. And while you're at it, help someone in Japan out.

The Pillows by Rachel C on Grooveshark

the pillows official (English), official (Japanese)

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