Lillies and Remains
"Who are your influences?" is one of the most pertinent questions in rock. Think of the way Kurt Cobain turned name-dropping into an art, exposing his fans to everything from Melvins to Leadbelly. Japan's Lillies and Remains have clearly internalized this practice: their points of reference are highly curated and rigorously specific, a set of the coolest outfits from the late '70s and early '80s UK postpunk scene—Public Image Ltd, Gang of Four, Bauhaus (Lillies named themselves after a track from Peter Murphy & Co.'s 1981 sophomore LP, Mask)—as well as latter-day bands like Interpol who worship the same gloomy forebears.
Accordingly, Lillies and Remains have postpunk down to a science. The quartet's videos feature all the major tropes of the genre: strobe lights, arty background projections, unnecessary sunglasses, slim-cut black suits and perfectly angular mop tops. The music itself is equally meticulous: "You're Blind," the lead single from Lillies and Remains' new second album, Transpersonal, marries front man Kent's downcast post-Ian Curtis croon to a crisp Cure-style groove. As retro as the track is, it feels hookier and more stylized than the tortured acts it emulates; Lillies and Remains manage to capture the postpunk mood while forgoing the genre's often-oppressive angst.
After meeting in college and bonding over a shared love of neo-mod band Neils Children, Kent and band mates Kazuya (guitar), Nara Minoru (bass) and Kosuke (drums) founded Lillies and Remains in 2006. The group emerged fully formed with its twitchy, gothy debut single, "Moralist S.S.," from the 2008 EP of the same name. Several more releases followed, and in 2010, Lillies and Remains toured England, a major achievement for a band so clearly smitten with UK rock. An interview conducted during the tour by Kirin Works (a British fan site devoted to Japanese artists) found the band embracing all aspects of its aesthetic homeland. When asked what he planned to do during his UK stay, Kent quipped, "Watch the England vs. Mexico match." Spoken like a true football-obsessed Brit.
Kent, Kazuya, Minoru, Kosuke