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Anti-folk (or antifolk) is a genre of music related to punk rock and American folk music that originated in the mid-1980s in New York City.

Anti-folk had its roots in punk rock, and is still considered by some to be an active subgenre within that scene. By a loose definition, Anti-folk combines the raw, abrasive, and frequently politically charged attitudes of the punk scene with the sounds of American folk tradition.

This genre takes the earnestness of politically charged '60s hippie music and subverts it into something else: music that sounds raw and authentic, but mocks the seriousness and pretension of the established mainstream folk scene and also mocks itself. In Anti-folk, self-mockery and self-aggrandizement have somehow fused, just as political commentary fused with poppy love songs in the sixties.

The Moldy Peaches and Ani DiFranco are considered influential artists in this genre, and are primarily responsible for its popularity. On the West Coast, S.P.A.M. Records' Bobby Joe Ebola and the Children MacNuggits made their own contributions to the genre with vulgar acoustic rock. Contemporary anti-folk music is popular in many parts of United States and has also made its mark in the UK and Europe, chiefly because of Rough Trade Records, the Moldy Peaches, and Jeffrey Lewis, but also in large part due to self-sufficient music communities, venues, and many touring international acts building friendships and musical partnerships. The New York City anti-folk scene mostly revolves around the Sidewalk Cafe, a club in the East Village that hosts shows and an open mike night called the Anti-Hootenanny, hosted by songwriter and seminal Anti-folker Lach. Also notable in the community is Olive Juice Music, a collective and label centered around a recording studio run by Major Matt Mason USA, and Luv-A-Lot, a homemade label run by the prolific Dashan Coram.

Anti-folk is a parent genre of other microbrew classifications such as Urban Folk and Counterfolk. Some performers, such as Dufus, Need New Body, and Man Man, have split with the scene and moved on. But is it a "genre," a "scene," a "community," or just a bunch of songwriters that like to hang out with each other? Most people involved would say it's a frankenstein combination of all of the above.

In recent years Antifolk has spread beyond the US. The UK antifolk scene (largely centred around London and Brighton) is rapidly developing its own identity. The London scene first came to prominence in 2004 with shows promoted by the dirty lo-fi humour of Filthy Pedro and the disturbingly humorous David Cronenberg's Wife. The Brighton scene was quick to follow, with the blunt and fierce monster punches of Larry Pickleman, the creators of Tweecore the Bobby Mcgees and the Queen of AFUK Mertle. Other major players are JJ Crash with his political undercurrents, Spinmaster Plantpot with his a capella 30 second rants / bluesey wailings and Paul Hawkins' edgy and tragicomic tales of social alienation. AFUK-affiliated acts such as the Mink Troubadour Kamikaze Squadron and Emmy the Great have begun to gain national radio airplay while AFUK favourites Milk Kan seem well-placed to break through into the mainstream consciousness.

There is arguably an active Anti-Folk scene in Australia. Centred around inner-city Melbourne, a collection of artists including The Lucksmiths, Darren Hanlon, Jodi Phillis and The Mabels play bitingly witty songs with accessible melodies that take a lot from 60's pop. The most internationally successful is The Lucksmiths. The Australian breed of anti-folk differs from the American in that the themes are often more ironic and self-refferential and tangible. In this respect, they bridge anti-folk with post-modern music. Melbourne's Candle Records is the home of many of these artists.

The singer-songwriter Beck (who has reached a greater level of popularity than most anti-folk acts) has been influenced, to at least some extent, by the New York anti-folk scene, though one would not really consider his music actual anti-folk.

Some examples of anti-folk performers:

Madeline Adams
Against Me
The Apricorn Quartet
Baptist Generals
Joe Bendik
Bobby Joe Ebola and the Children MacNuggits
Boys Suck
The Breadweather Biologists
Brer Brian
Will Brierly
Cake Bake Betty
Kelly Caldwell
Timothy Cameron
Can Kickers
Cheese On Bread
Diane Cluck
Kimya Dawson
Darren Deicide
Ani DiFranco
Peter Dizozza
Dream Bitches
Herman DŁne
Patrick Elkins
Filthy Pedro
Dan Fishback
G. Lucas Crane Vs. Non-Horse
Ghost Mice
Adam Green
Hamell on Trial
Darren Hanlon
Paul Hawkins
Calvin Johnson
Joie/Dead Blonde Girlfriend
King Missile
Phoebe Kreutz
Langhorne Slim
Jeffrey Lewis
Little Grizzly
The Lucksmiths
The Mabels
Chris Maher
Major Matt Mason USA
Roger Manning
Ish Marquez
Bobby McGees
Michelle Shocked
Milk Kan
The Moldy Peaches
Monica's Dress
Nathan Moomaw
James O'Brien
Jodi Phillis
Brian Pitlin
Larry Pickleman
The Plastic Assassins
Prewar Yardsale
Grey Revell
Regina Spektor
soce, the elemental wizard
This Bike Is A Pipe Bomb
The Milkcrate Rustlers
The Sidewinders
Andrew Phillip Tipton
Toby Goodshank
Turner Cody
Urban Barnyard
Jason Voss
The WoWz
The Woes

External links

See also

Folk music
American folk music - Anti-folk - Celtic music - Counterfolk - Filk music - Folk metal - Folk punk
Folk-rock - Folktronica - Neofolk - Pop-folk - Psych folk - Roots revival - Urban Folk
Folk dance - Instrumentation - Protest song - Traditions - World music
Punk rock
Anarcho-punk - Anti-folk - Crust punk - Garage punk - Hardcore - Post-hardcore - Horror punk - New Wave - No Wave - Noise rock - Oi! - Pop punk - Post-punk - Psychobilly - Deathcountry - Riot grrrl - Ska punk - Streetpunk - Two Tone
Other topics

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