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Since their first performance at a ninth-grade festival in 1994, Japanese indie-rock stars Bump of Chicken have regularly crested their home country’s charts with a fierce communal urgency rooted in a four-way friendship that extends back to preschool. Bump enjoyed their first hit in 2001 with the four-on-the-floor rush of "Tentai Kansoku (Star Gazing),” from the group's chart-topping major-studio debut, Jupiter. Inspired as much by Hüsker Dü as U2, frontman Motoo Fujiwara's pop-punk underdog anthems and sensitive ballads have galvanized fans ever since, helped by band members Hiroaki Masukawa (guitar), Yoshifumi Naoi (bass), and Hideo Masu (drums), not to mention an intriguing name that roughly signifies "revenge of the weak guy." In Bump of Chicken’s music, just getting through the day qualifies as heroism, an existential state mythologized in 2004's acoustic-tinged, fantasy-oriented Yggdrasil. The band bolstered their appeal by placing their songs in movies and video games and on TV, including the moody "Namida no Furusato (Birthplace of Your Tears),” which soundtracked a striking anime candy commercial. Bump of Chicken could do no wrong the following decade, and 2010's Cosmonaut became the first of four chart-topping albums in a row. While the band mainly stuck to their upbeat guns, they began blending EDM into their alt-rock on 2016's Butterflies; three of the album’s tracks eventually embellished popular anime series. Perfectly appropriate for a band whose career is something of a fairy tale itself.

Sakura, Japan