For this week’s Songs of the Revolution, we were honored to play host to Shonen Knife, the all-female Japanese pop punk band that influenced a generation of American rockers before ever stepping onto U.S. soil.
The band has just released Pop Tune, their 18th studio album since their debut in 1982. Frequently cited by Kurt Cobain as one of his favorite bands, they had a lot of success in America in the mid-late ‘90s, and during that time made one of their best-loved recordings, a cover of The Carpenters’ “Top Of The World,” which was included on a popular tribute album.
Despite a few lineup changes over the years (singer Naoko Yamano is the remaining original member), the band is currently as strong as ever, as evidenced on this session. We naively requested a stripped-down set, in keeping with the vibe of the SOTR sessions. When the band arrived at the studio, we set up and suggested maybe just a hi-hat for cymbals. Sure, they nodded and agreed. Drummer Emi Morimoto asked for another cymbal stand. Okay, maybe just a ride cymbal, we hinted. Soon enough, she was wailing on the kit with a nice, high crash invading all the mics. We had to respect that. And, in the end, we’re glad we’re not the ones who got Shonen Knife to water it down.
Enjoy these streaming video performances and free downloads, and try not to let “Banana Chips” drive you mental with its insistent catchiness. Atomic-level earworm.
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