Shonen Knife

  • Shonen Knife
  • Shonen Knife
  • Photo credit – Akira Shibata
  • Photo credit – Akira Shibata

“When I finally got to see them live, I was transformed into a hysterical nine-year-old girl at a Beatles concert.”Kurt Cobain

Shonen Knife are a ground-breaking all-female Japanese, pop-punk trio formed in Osaka in 1981, when Naoko first heard late ‘70’s punk-pop particularly The Ramones. Inspired, the band crafted their own idiosyncratic songs, fashioned brightly coloured outfits and DIY albums. In 1985, K Records released ‘Burning Farm’ in the US. Deals with Sub Pop and various Majors followed. 1989 saw the crème of the alt. rock scene (including Sonic Youth, L7 and Redd Kross) covering their favourite Shonen Knife songs on the tribute album ‘Every Band Has A Shonen Knife Who Loves Them’. They toured with Nirvana (on the ‘Nevermind’ tour), The Breeders and as part of Lollapalooza. They recorded sessions for John Peel and appeared on MTV’s ‘Beavis and Butthead’ . In 2010 the band released the album ‘Super Group’, played Matt Groening’s curated ATP, extensively toured the UK, Europe, North America, China and Taiwan! In 2011 the band celebrated their 30th year anniversary by releasing the albums ‘Free Time’ and ‘Osaka Ramones’, toured Europe and the US, played to thousands at the Summer Sundae festival, a live session for Marc Riley on BBC 6 music, an interview with Radcliffe and Maconie, and rounded out the year with a limited edition Christmas Single ‘Sweet Christmas’. In June 2012 Shonen Knife released their 18th Studio Album ‘Pop Tune’ and toured North America & The UK, Ireland Belgium, netherlands and Scandanavia-even playing at Tromso in Norway-literally ‘On Top of The World’.In 2013 the band  played Festivals in the UK and Europe including Incubate, AyaCon, Camera Japan, Tokyo Crazy Kawaii and toured many European Countries they had never played in before.

Showing no signs of slowing down, in 2014 these girls released their 20th album ‘Overdrive‘, toured Japan, UK/Ireland and Europe then North America and soon they head to India for the first time then Australia in spring 2015. Sold out gigs, great press reviews, awesome radio sessions and legions of male and female fans of all ages follow in the wake of one of the worlds most incredible and happy Rock bands. As Naoko says, ‘Let’s Rock!’

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Shonen Knife at CMJ in The Guardian
Interview in Noisey (VICE) Magazine
5/5 Live Review: Manchester Evening News
7/10 Uncut Magazine: “While the fuzz-filled punk vibe is still present and correct, there’s also a hard rock thread running through Overdrive, with “Black crow”, about a bird that never shuts up, and “Ramen Rock”, a thunderous ode to their preferred noodle dish, containing unmistakeable nods to thin Lizzy and Black Sabbath”
7/10 Clash: “In a world of pomp and seriousness it benefits to have a band like Shonen Knife to counteract the cynical earnestness of a lot of rock music. ‘Overdrive’ shows a newfound menacing dissonance, but also a warmth that shows no sign of the band’s life-affirming charm waning”
5/5 Narc: “Dance To The Rock is the calling card: you won’t hear a more fun record this year”
4/5 The Skinny: “Overdrive’s sugary take on 70s dinosaur rock also stands unexpectedly in its favour, but ultimately all you need to know about the Osaka trio’s nineteenth album is this: it’s fucking AWESOME. Best not to question love when it’s inevitably, irredeemably absolute.”
7/10 NME:  “…Pay close attention and the buzzing ‘Jet Shot’ and superficially banal ‘Shopping’ disguise personal and political lyrics far smarter than Shonen Knife’s cartoon image suggests.”
7/10 TLOBF  :“…the band show that despite their longevity in the game they remain keen to explore new ground and make the everyday more animated. With all of their untameable if bizarre likeability, Shonen Knife are clearly a band that can just keep on giving.”
7/10 Louder Than War: “So, think of reading Classic Rock magazine while listening to the Shangri-Las, forget complicated and forget life changing, this is a Shonen Knife album. Sometimes you need nothing else.”
More Overdrive reviews: Drowned In Sound The Irish Times Popmatters  Music OMH  The Music Collective Zine  Lukinzine Anika (The Talkhouse) Music & Riots 
Interview + ‘Selfie’ in The Monograph

Press for previous Albums
Uncut: “rocks like Motorhead designed by Hanna-Barbara”
BBC Music: (Louis Patterson – ‘Freetime’ )    “The Osaka Ramones, you must concede, still have it.”
BBC Music: (Jude Clarke ‘Pop Tune’ ) 7/10 “While by no means succumbing to the blank-eyed nihilism of their heroes the Ramones, then, this album nevertheless hints at a jaded corner in the psyche of this sunniest of bands. It might even, ultimately, make them all the more appealing.”
The Independent:(Simon Price) 8/10 “There are two types of people: those who enjoy thrashy Japanese girl-punk, and those who have something wrong with them.”
Music OMH: 8/10 “For an incredible 31 years Shonen Knife have been pumping out prototype riot grrrl, thrashing together early punk sounds with pop melodies.”
The Sunday Times: “…irrepressible slice of bounce-along indie-pop. Beguiling.” Stewart Lee
Voted the winner of BBC 6Music’s ‘Rebel Playlist’ by a landslide vote of 88%, which granted the single a play on every daytime 6Music show for a week plus album of the day on BBC 6Music
LondonPaper: (Super Group review)“Part Shangri-La’s, part Ramones, you can’t resist the charm of lyrics … so give in, and don’t.”
Artrocker:“Objectively, it could be pointed out that they can only play in a rudimentary fashion, that their songs are ludicrously simple and that they are not doing anything new. Objectivity can fuck right off, because Shonen Knife are brilliant”
The Line Of Best Fit: 7/10 “Robust in its eccentricities and musicianship, Pop Tune makes good on Yamano’s assertion that the current Shonen Knife line-up is its strongest.”
The Skinny: 8/10 “Pop Tune is their most irresistible offering in years”
Louder Than War:“As the world continues to go into economic meltdown we need the distraction of Shonen Knife more than ever – just allow yourself the simple pleasure of singing along.”
Clash: “Ultimately, without using superlatives, Shonen Knife should be set up for life as ambassadors for live music.”
BBC 6Music (Steve Lamacq):“Shonen Knife – they know how to rock – Japanese punk pop at its best.”
BBC 6Music (Gideon Coe):“the most arresting record I’ve heard this week”
Marc Riley BBC 6Music: ‘Perfect Freedom’ Songs of the year for 2011
Gideon Coe   BBC 6 Music ‘Pop Tune’ for Recommended ALBUMS 2012
Time Out Barcelona:“Super Group continues to polish Shonen Knife’s reputation”


Check back soon for upcoming shows.

UK Press Contact: ken (at)
North America Press Contact: mike (at)


UK/Europe: george (at)
Belgium: herman (at)
North America: michelle (at)
Japan: Atsushi 712 (at)
Taiwan: White Wabbit
Australia: Valve Records