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Back in the early '80s, a trio of young Japanese women living in Osaka found inspiration in the sugary melodies, buzz-saw guitars and 4/4 rhythms of The Ramones and formed a band called Shonen Knife. Their playing at that point had a charming, almost Shaggs-y wobbliness, but the tunes were hella catchy. Anybody who digs the shambling sounds of early Television Personalities or The Raincoats would be advised to seek out Shonen Knife's "Burning Farm."
By 1989, the band became the object of cultish adoration among the rock cognoscenti of the era, earning a double-LP tribute titled "Every Band has a Shonen Knife Who Loves Them," which featured Sonic Youth, Redd Kross, The Three O'Clock and L7, among many others. Like a good many folks my age, the first exposure I had to the band was on the brilliant interstitial video commentaries of Messrs. Beavis and Butthead.
By that point, Shonen Knife had already traveled the world and toured with Nirvana. "I was an emotional sap the whole time," Kurt Cobain told MTV of watching Shonen Knife. "I cried every night."
The band just celebrated its 30th anniversary and while guitarist and singer Naoko Yamano is the only founding member left, the Shonen Knife experience — relentless pop-punk songs about cute animals and candy — remains the same as ever, which is reassuring in this cynical modern-day world of Autotune and Twitter and stuff like that.