Receiving news of all the Japanese bands in town this week, my attention kept being diverted to a book someone put on my desk recently: Hello, Please! Very Helpful Super Kawaii Characters From Japan, by Matt Alt and Hiroko Yoda. Inside, you see beyond Hello Kitty to the "cute" icons that incessantly dot the commercial landscape of Japan: apologizing construction workers, pleased-to-be-of-service toilet paper, and bags of lettuce graciously offering up their own heads, to name just a few. In music, "cute" is also a big thing over there, but luckily, it's not necessarily mutually exclusive with "talent." (See: Petty Booka, two women who sing and play the ukulele, playing at the High Dive tomorrow.) For the past three years, local pop band the Stereo Future have brought to town their friends (and labelmates on the Japanese label Delicious) the Pillows, along with Noodles, for shows that please a surprisingly wide and ever-growing audience. The Pillows have been major-label artists in Japan for a decade, and are best known on these shores for the soundtrack to animanga FLCL, which has aired on the Cartoon Network's Adult Swim since 2003. The women of fuzzed-out rockers Noodles (who appropriately opened for the Breeders in Osaka) have also gained a strong following. Tonight, each of the three bands has new songs to share—they may be super kawaii, and also supergood. Club Motor, 1950 First Ave. S. $18 adv./$20. All ages. 9 p.m. Also: Japan Nite Tour 2008 with the Beaches, the Emeralds, Petty Booka, Detroit 7, and Scandal at the High Dive, 513 N. 36th St., 632-0212. $10. 8 p.m.
Wed., March 19, 8 p.m., 2008