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Folk Punk

November 30, 2009

When Punk first began the idea was that you learnt three chords & just went for it, as long as you felt like you had something to sing about and had the necessary passion or interest in the music then you were entitled to have a go, and have people listen to you. It is this kind of idea that seems to be fueling a certain section of ‘folk punk’ artists.

Conventionally in order to have a voice that is suitable for singing it must gently caress your eardrums and fill you with rainbows and lollipops, but the singing voices of these men (and it is always men) are on the complete opposite end of the spectrum, they are raw and at times challenging to listen to but that is the reason that they’re so endearing and enjoyable to listen to. They have a quality to them that is real, not transformed by auto-tune and polished by a man with a plethora of knobs and dials. What you are hearing is what they are expressing, and it’s a refreshing break from the manufactured sounds that dominate the radio, even the ones that are ‘punk’ or ‘rock’ and claim to reject such things. Two of these bands are Wingnut Dishwashers Union and Jaakko & Jay.

Wingnut Dishwashers Union is a constantly changing cast of musicians playing punk rock songs by Pat the Bunny (also of Johnny Hobo & the Freight Trains), who is just as likely to be playing as a one man band as to be backed by a dozen musicians. The lyrics are engaging and the rough, raw and sometimes emotional vocals are allowed to stand out from the simple, but effective acoustic guitar part accompanying them. The limitations and cracks of Pat’s voice enhance the songs themselves, as if exposing the cracks gives you a greater insight and appreciation of the tracks.

Wingnut Dishwashers Union – Proudhon In Manhattan

Jaakko & Jay are a Finnish punk rock band who are fresh from a tour supporting Mariachi El Bronx where they proved so popular that they sold out of their CD’s before the tour was over. They play political punk rock songs on an acoustic guitar and minimal drum set up but the main thing that comes across in their music is their wild enthusiasm and love for both politics and punk rock. Their live show is an assault on the senses as guitar strings are broken, drum sticks snapped and curse words fly out with increasing regularity while short, fast and loud punk songs are played in quick succession to great effect.

Jaakko & Jay – Spark Plugs

Both bands are catchy and engaging, and best of all give you the feeling that it is something that with a little imagination, an acoustic guitar and perhaps a revolving cast of friends it’s something that you can do too. It’s punk going back to it’s roots, spreading the message about things of far greater importance than boy loves girl and for this reason alone they deserve to be heard.

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