When I was diving into non-mainstream Japanese rock back in 2000, I was surprised by the number of exceptional bands and solo artists were signed to major labels. If it weren’t for Utada Hikaru, Toshiba-EMI almost looked like an indie farm label with some of the artists at one time signed to its roster — Number Girl, Bleach, bloodthirsty butchers, Missile Girl Scoot, Shiina Ringo, PE’Z.
But as time went on, I learned the label system in Japan is as volatile as in the US. Of the musicians on that previous list, only Shiina Ringo remains at Toshiba-EMI.
Bugy Craxone started its career on Victor Entertainment. The band released four albums, then went the indie route with a label of their own. It’s a career move no different from bands around the world who do time with the majors and don’t find a suitable fit.
Bugy Craxone didn’t garner much name recognition, and while signed to Victor, they didn’t move many units. The only release to crack the Oricon chart was an EP, This is New Sunrise, and it peaked at 93.
I like Bugy Craxone, and I like how they take risks with their sound. The band started out as straight-forward alternative rock band, but by the time the trio recorded Northern Hymns, they were full-on garage band.
"Fuck the Melancholy" is the opening track of Northern Hymns, and the aggressive title captures the essence of the song perfectly.