Judy and Mary are a pop-punk band that scored continual success in the Japanese mainstream music scene throughout the second half of the 1990s. Formed in 1992 by singer Yuki, a squeaky voiced, petulant young girl, and bass player and main writer Yoshihito Onda, the two went through several other band personnel until settling on Takuya (guitars) and Kota Igarashi (drums). With their outlandish costumes, which owed more to the giant hair-bands of Visual Kei, and Yuki's often bizarre onstage antics, the band grew from cult group to mainstream favorites: they were, like it or not, a cute version of punk, injected with the plastic stance of pop art. The kids loved it. Their debut album, J.A.M., was quite punk, but as the years went on, the pop sensibilities and growing songwriting confidence kicked in, and the band was trying on all sorts of styles: ballads, rock, pop, ska, all of it upbeat and featuring Yuki's strange lyrics. By the end of the '90s, the band had run its course, and Yuki was beginning to appear in other projects, including the group Nina, Mean Machine, and a duet with the singer Chara. In 2001, the band released their sixth and final album, Warp, and played one last show in Tokyo Dome. Several best-of compilations have been released. ~ Ted Mills


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