Best Musical Duo: Most bittersweet indie-folk melodies

Pillows

Despite having played together for only three years, Oakland-based indie-folk-rock group Pillows has jumped right into the East Bay music scene. Comprising Julia Shirar and Jessica Cowley (formerly of the Run for Cover Lovers), Pillows get kudos from critics for the stylistic complexity and emotional honesty of their material. Shirar (guitar, drums, sound effects, and vocals) and Cowley (vocals, guitar, and bass) weave together country melodies, punk rhythms, and rock embellishments as they sing their sophisticated tales of liberation and woe. And they don’t mess around: In February 2006, their first CD, Two Step, was released on Show and Tell Music; their next is set to be issued this year. The duo’s name may bring to mind the coziness of sleep, but when you hear them, you’ll be on your feet.

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