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Local Look: The Dirty Pillows

In Music
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The Dirty Pillows is a band that makes guys curl their lips and nod in approval while girls dance in semi-60s fashion (you know, all cute, yet provocative). The music is fun and energetic, yet has enough wit and charisma to satisfy listeners not inclined to light up the dance floor.

The band was created in San Jose by Alex “Millhows” Villanueva and Jeff Evans in 2008 after the two briefly played together in another project.

After countless local gigs and the release of their debut EP Just Plain Dirty in 2010, the duo is taking their music one step further with and “Extra-Large EP, seven to ten tracks,” due out Spring 2012.

Their recent song “Love Happening” sounds like something the Brian Jonestown Massacre might have released.

As Evans describes it, “That song is the one that everybody has their own interpretation for.” That is the greatest quality of The Dirty Pillows, their music seems to inspire something different in each listener.

“I took us a while to really find the sound that we wanted, but once we did it really seems to solidify,” Evans says. “And the great thing is, now that we feel comfortable with a certain sound, we can try different genres, but it’s still us.”

Other tunes sound a bit like Franz Ferdinand or something written in New York in the 70s. Jeff and Millhows manage to create those psychedelic, pop, garage tones with only two band members. Jeff is not afraid to hit his drum kit and somehow Millhows makes sense of the army of loop machines and effects in front of him.

“I sort of seem to channel this very post-punk, choppy, very angular guitar spirit,” Millhows says of his guitar playing.

“People have this sort of misconception that we’re like this incredibly loop-heavy band, and I use a loop on ‘Love Happening’ — that’s like the most loop heavy song—but largely, there isn’t a lot of looping going on,” he says. “I love that people think that because then I get all these extra brownie points.”

Millhows and Evans have chemistry on and off the stage and there is an obvious respect for each other’s musical talent.

“Millhows definitely has more of the pop sensibility, so we’re able to find that balance between something that’s kind of gritty, but then there’s that melody and it seems to work for us,” Evans says.

The Dirty Pillows’ next gig is January 11 at The Knockout in San Francisco.

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