An introduction to... Folk Punk

Folk and punk are historically rather contrasting genres; what comes about when they are fused together?

Harry Jones
22nd October 2021
The palpitations of the modern world echoed through the melancholic acoustic constraints, a soundtrack to both the beauty and the pitfalls of life.

Folk punk acts as a catalyst and ironically an instrumentation to echo these concepts. Themes of addiction, mental health, nihilism, and anti-capitalist musings through the vice of a sarcastic view of the working-class life. Holding similarities to its progenitor genres of country and folk, whilst holding a strong grip on the ethos of the crust punk, it represents a beautiful Frankenstein of music.

“A punk rock song won't ever change the world, but I can tell you about a couple that changed me."

Wingnut Dishwasher's Union, F*ck Sh*t Up

Rooted in anti-profit and D.I.Y culture, folk punk primarily focuses on independent recordings with a large proportion of albums distributed by the band or by collaborative labels.  

The Pogues - Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash (1985)

But what makes the genre unique is how it approaches the topics of dysphoria, alienation, and expressions of queerness. With bands such as She/Her/Hers and Human Petting Zoo talking about their expressions of gender and their experiences of transphobia and dysphoria in the current political climate.

Originating from the 80s punk scene, with bands such as Pogues in the UK and with Violent Femmes in the US, folk punk has flourished into a homogenous genre holding instruments from saxophones to saws to washboards.

We the Heathens - Blood Behind The Dam (2016)

With each band adopting its own form of folk punk, from ‘thrashgrass’ to Celtic punk, the genre acts a restaurant menu for the avid listener taking influences from all parts of acoustic music.

If you enjoy punk, indie or any acoustic genre, you may find your place within folk punk. As it explores the raw emotions through these acoustic mediums.

To get started with folk punk, listen to bands such as We the Heathens, Days N’ Daze, Blackbird Raum, Mountain Goats and explore which side of the genre you prefer. For the UK scene, bands such as Wingnut Dishwasher’s Union, Onsind and Crazy Arm are good starting points.

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