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Shonen Knife

The Japanese trio Shonen Knife have made major fans out of alt-rock's elite (Sonic Youth, Nirvana, and Redd Kross, among others) and built a solid, worldwide cult following with their Ramones meets the Beatles brand of sticky sweet punk-pop. Comprising members Michie Nakatani (vocals, bass), Naoko Yamano (vocals, guitar), and Atsuko Yamano (drums), Shonen Knife originally formed during December of 1981 in their hometown of Osaka, Japan (all three members were working at the time as office clerks), before playing their first real show in March of the following year. Soon after, the group began issuing albums in its native land, including 1982's cassette-only release Minna Tanoshiku (English translation: Everybody Happy?), 1983's Burning Farm, 1984's Yama No Attchan, and 1986's Pretty Little Baka Guy (the latter of which was reissued with extra tracks four years later, under the title Pretty Little Baka Guy/Live in Japan). Although their records were only available in the U.S. via import, Shonen Knife struck a chord with the underground with a track that appeared on the Sub Pop 100 compilation in 1986. Also, in 1989, a variety of alternative bands recorded renditions of their favorite Shonen Knife songs for the tribute album Every Band Has a Shonen Knife Who Loves Them.

The first Shonen Knife release to be issued outside of Japan, a 1990 self-titled compilation featured the entire Burning Farm and Yama No Attchan albums, as well as three tracks that were only previously available on the obscure Japanese comp Aura Music. Shortly thereafter, the group began touring America on a somewhat regular basis, supporting their 1991 release 712 with some dates opening for Nirvana just prior to the runaway success of Cobain and company's now-classic Nevermind album. Now the hip band to name-drop, Shonen Knife signed their first major U.S. recording contract with Capitol, resulting in the release of one of their finest (and best-known) albums, 1992's Let's Knife. A year later, the group switched to the Virgin label, issuing Rock Animals, which would spawn a semi-popular MTV video with "Tomato Head" (even landing a spot on the station's popular animated series Beavis & Butthead).

In 1994 the trio performed as part of the traveling alternative rock festival Lollapalooza and contributed a cover of "Top of the World" to the Carpenters tribute album If I Were a Carpenter, while Virgin issued an 18-track collection of rare tracks, Birds & the B-Sides, in 1996. Although they were able to greatly expand their U.S. fan base, Shonen Knife never obtained the breakthrough success that was expected by many, resulting in the group returning to the independents and issuing such further releases as 1997's Brand New Knife, 1998's Happy Hour, and the 2000 Japan-only release Strawberry Sound (which featured the band's revamped lineup of Atsuko Yamano on bass and Mana Nishiura, who joined Shonen Knife after Nakatani left in 1999, on drums).

Vocalist Naoko Yamano was the only original member for the mid- to late 2000s, but even after 20-plus years, and difficulties maintaining a consistent lineup, the band showed no signs of slowing. In 2005, Oglio reissued the band's first four albums, and the band released Genki Shock in Japan; late that year, Nishiura was killed in a New Jersey traffic accident while touring with DMBQ. Both Shonen Knife and DMBQ performed at a tribute concert for Nishiura that was held in Kyoto in spring 2006, shortly before the U.S. release of Genki Shock. Shonen Knife continued on with drummer Etsuko Nakanishi and bassist Ritsuko Taneda, releasing a live album and another full-length titled Super Group in 2009. A few months after completing 2010's Free Time, drummer Nakanishi parted ways with the band, to be replaced by Emi Morimoto; the Yamano/Taneda/Morimoto lineup released Pop Tune in 2012 and Overdrive in 2014. ~ Greg Prato, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

Love Love Love these chicks.
Love these doll babies! My dearly departed introduced me to them when went to S.F one year! They're amazing and flipping rock!
completly.co l d
Epic
rothsuede
Shonen Knife rocks !
Shonen Knife makes me smile. Love love love these dynamite dames!
There music makes me want to dance!!! :3
Insect Collector is the best song the Beatles never wrote.
Saw them 3 times. Love these guys.Girls.
}look up on YouTube
}watch millions of lyric or people dancing to the song
}parents walk in
}look over shoulder
}turn back and face computer
}laugh after parents leave
}regret nothing
Time for Shonen Knife in Rock and Roll HOF. They are the Ichiro of Japanese pop and vice versa.
♥♥♥
Wish they had Let's Knife!

=(

=(
darklydreami n g i n f e r i
Great fun for a party! 8D
totally agree jay porks!
Flew from Phoenix to Sacramento on 2 days notice to see these ladies play. Good thing I caught em right before the shift from the original lineup too. That would have been a bummer. Love em! \../
First time listening to them I fell in love with these girls their sound is so original and they are so cool and their lyrics are so rad.
Shonen Knife rocks so sweet!
You have to love Shonen Knife. No matter how I'm feeling, they can always make me smile.
They sound great!
mkropat
This band reminds me of Proxomitron. Nerdy? yes.
I had a bad bootleg of {Everybody Happy?} back in the day '84.
Love these girls.
I love Shonen Knife! So much fun!
andres_skate
These chix totaly rock you guys shud hav mor artists like 'em. mor japanese music pleaz! ^^

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