Release Date: Aug 15, 2011
Record label: Good Charamel Records
Genre(s): Punk, Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, New York Punk
What happens when a Japanese female punk-pop trio that has long traded on a certain exuberant amateurism celebrates its 30th anniversary by recording an entire album of Ramones covers? Exactly what you'd expect: faithful (but not exactly slavish) reproductions of songs by the exuberantly amateurish but secretly pop-savvy Queens legends, none of them surprising but all of them tons of entirely predictable fun. The album is barely over 33 minutes long, which is exactly as it should be, and as far as song selections go, it's heavily weighted toward the usual suspects: "Blitzkrieg Bop," "Rock 'n' Roll High School," "Rockaway Beach," "Sheena Is a Punk Rocker," "Beat on the Brat," etc. What does emerge a bit more clearly in the Shonen Knife versions than in the originals is the undercurrent of weirdo that always hummed just below the surface of many Ramones songs: when Joey Ramone sang "The KKK Took My Baby Away" and "Beat on the Brat" (".
International cult favorites celebrate big 3-0 with epically fun tribute to their biggest inspiration When their first homemade cassette came out in Japan in 1982, who woulda thought that Shonen Knife would still be around, making records and touring the world, 30 years later? Back then, the all-girl Japanese pop punkers could barely play a note, but their enthusiasm—as infectious as their English was hilariously, endearingly garbled—carried them through until their musicianship (and pronunciation) finally caught up. As much as the band’s continued existence is a testament to the power of its earnest, unflagging love for rock ‘n’ roll, the tribute, Osaka Ramones, underscores Shonen Knife’s deep reverence for the primal melodic prowess of the album’s subject, arguably SK’s biggest influence. Singer/guitarist Naoko Yamano and her cohorts are the perfect power trio to pay homage to these three-chord punk legends.
Hard to believe that frivolous Japanese ladies [a]Shonen Knife[/a] have now been a band for 30 years. It took them a decade before wider recognition reached them (thanks largely to the patronage of Kurt Cobain), and playing buzzsaw punk-pop about cats and dessert for three decades requires Herculean dedication. It means they’ve been in the game for eight years longer than their chief influence, the [a]Ramones[/a], managed.
They are still referred to as a ‘girl group’ by many, even though the members of Shonen Knife are surely now well into their fifties, having been going for 30 years. Much like their love for punk-rock however, Shonen Knife show no sign of waning and it’s not hard to imagine them still making addictive garage rock and playing endorphin-inducing live shows until their dying breath. Shonen Knife formed in Osaka, Japan, in 1981, spurred by singer/guitarist Naoko Yamano’s first encounter with a Ramones record.
Japanese girl group pop favourites Shonen Knife – who have been around now for 30 years – were, in the early 1990s, the darlings of the alternative rock scene, as they had fans in bands as Nirvana, Redd Kross and Sonic Youth. Things worked the other way, too, as Shonen Knife themselves were enamoured with American pop music, being particularly fond of not only the smooth soft rock style of the Carpenters but also the ever so more abrasive sound of the NYC punk scene courtesy of the Ramones. Not only does Shonen Knife, whose repertoire boasts songs about cookies, sushi, banana chips, jelly beans and mutant jellyfish, have a tune called “Ramones Forever”, but the band has a side project called Osaka Ramones—the band is from Osaka, Japan—that plays nothing but Ramones cover songs live.