the pillows (lack of capitalisation is deliberate) have won their way into my top 5 favourite bands of all time. Like so many other fans outside of Japan, I first heard their music on the soundtrack to the Gainax anime FLCL(Furi Kuri). Their happy, boppy melodies and unique guitar sounds, with sogns both in English and Japanese, have been compared to Weezer and The Pixies but personally I think they’re a genre onto their own.
The band formed in 1989 but first achieved mainstream success with their 1997 album Please Mr. Lostman. In 1999, their albums Little Busters, Happy Bivouac and Runners High were licensed by Gainax for the FLCL soundtrack and the pillows even wrote two new tracks for the anime: Ride On Shooting Star (the ending theme song) and I Think I Can.
The current members are Sawao Yamanaka (vocals and guitar), Yoshiaki Manabe (guitar), and Shinichiro Sato (drums). The band have gone through a number of bass players since the original bassist Kenji Ueda left in 1992.
The band has recently celebrated their 15th birthday with the “I like you busters” tour, and have even toured in the U.S. this year in March. Sawao Yamanaka also says that the band will be releasing albums in the U.S. in the near future.
Check out the pillows if you can. These guys will rock your socks and then some. A good place to start is the FLCL soundtrack or with their greatest hits album Fool On The Planet.