Shonen Knife Turns 25

Last month, Shonen Knife, the food-obsessed, animal-loving all-female pop-punk group from Osaka, Japan, whose music has captured the imaginations of people like Sonic Youth, Redd Kross, and Kurt Cobain, who asked the group to open for Nirvana on their only Japan tour, celebrated the 25th anniversary of their formation.

On July 8th and 9th, in Tokyo and Osaka respectively, they will celebrate the milestone in grand style during the annual “712 Day Party” tour. It is always held on or near July 12th because the numerals for the date are pronounced “na-ee-fu” (knife) in Japanese. They usually invite a like-minded foreign artist to join them in the festivities.

Last year it was ex-Vaseline Eugene Kelly and this time it will be the reunited American power-pop group The Posies.

Shonen Knife has made a comeback year of 2006. The band has effectively operated as a duo – sisters Naoko and Atsuko Yamada – since 1998 when founding member Michie Nakatani quit. Last month, however, the band officially announced that Etsuko has become the band’s full-time drummer, which means Atsuko no longer has to run back-and-forth between bass and drums.

In addition to a live album SK released earlier this year, a brand new tribute album called Fork and Spoon just came out with 11 of Japan’s biggest indie acts covering classics like “Burning Farm,” “Insect Collector,” and the indelible “Tortoise Brand Pot Cleaner’s Theme.”

The trio is doing the Japanese rock festival circuit this summer and will play the Osaka end of Summer Sonic in August.

– Philip Brasor