Pugs “Bite the Red Knee”
I’ll have to write more in the future about the inimitable Hoppy Kamiyama, head of the God Mountain label, producer and keyboardist extraordinaire, and as far as I know the highest-profile transvestite in the Japanese indie scene. A terrific guy, he’s been a busy part of the Tokyo music world since his time in the 80s with J-Pop band Pink, with whom he played keyboards (his frequent collaborator Steve Eto was the band’s percussionist). After founding the God Mountain label (Kamiyama meaning literally “god mountain”) in 1992, he released a number of CDs by his projects including Optical*8, Pugs, and Saboten among others. God Mountain also released albums by bands including the fantastic DemiSemiQuaver, Salk Vacchin, and eX-Girl.
The Pugs were a crazed art-punk band, conducted by Hoppy and sung by the beautifully nutso Honey K. Their shows were big fun, and the music’s carnivalesque twists and turns reflect that. This album, Pugs Bite the Red Knee, remains the easiest to find, having been released by the Tone Casualties label (their Casual Tonalities division) out of L.A. And it’s a great one, with the opening “Mari in Love” a brilliant concoction of punk, new wave, and samba, of all things. If you’re a fan of DemiSemiQuaver, Nina Hagen, and the like, you should certainly track down a Pugs album. Enjoy.
Listen to “Mari in Love”