Folk punk is just like typical punk rock. Except the musicians play folk instruments instead. Many bands will use acoustic guitars, mandolins, banjos, and even accordions. However, the vocals sound very punk-ish. It’s as if Curt Cobain decided to sing for Mumford and Sons. To top it all off, most folk punk comes from the United Kingdom.
The Violent Femmes started this genre of music. I had never heard of it until my friend told me her boyfriend was into ‘folk punk’. Intrigued by her not-so-flattering description of the music, I looked it up myself. When I found out the Violent Femmes, a band I really do love, are practically the founding members, I got excited. The Violent Femmes, are not really the first ever folk punk band, but their debut album, The Violent Femmes, from 1983, made folk punk mainstream. The album featured many acoustic, yet extremely angsty songs, the most well-known being “Blister in the Sun”. However, not many other folk punk bands have received notoriety. Some other bands I listened to were: AJJ, Dropkick Murphy’s Mischief Brew, Days N’ Daze, and Blackbird Raum. All are current faces in the folk punk scene, although Dropkick Murphy’s has been around since the 80’s.
After digging around the folk punk world, I realized it was not my favorite kind of music. Heavy acoustic guitar strumming filled the introductions of the songs, and the vocals were often slightly whiny. AJJ, Blackbird Raum, Mischeif Brew, and Days N’ Daze all sounded very folk. Dropkick Murphy’s sounded like AC/DC gone jiggy. However, to each his own. If not my kind of jam, these bands are at least worth checking out because the music really is something else. First of all, some of the songs sound like gothic sea shanties. Second of all, some of the songs sound like sunshine until the singer starts blaring about dying sheep.
I honestly learned a lot about music from listening to these bands. It amazed me once again at the amount of different artists there are out there creating music. If you’re feeling like you want to try something new, try folk punk.