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Mad folk riot

A Pacific Northwest compilation release show celebrates the wild, stomping world of folk-punk

The Truck Bed Boys are just one of the folk-punk bands playing the release show for Northwest Passage Vol. 1. Photo credit: Facebook

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It seems, looking back, like a foregone conclusion that punk and folk music would become intimate bedfellows. The two genres have long existed on each others' peripheries, with each style aspiring to a sort of pure aesthetic, stripped away of unnecessary embellishments and the staid trends of popular music.

Add on top of that the respective genres proclivities toward political messages -- with people like American icon Woody Guthrie calling his guitar a machine that kills fascists, and bands like the Sex Pistols and the Clash bringing the resistance to the UK -- and you've got a combo that might rival peanut butter and chocolate. Decades of iterations of alt-folk, folk-punk, cowpunk, and endless other subgenres have cemented a culture of renegade acoustic artists in the worldwide music scene.

Raquel LaPointe, drummer for Tacoma outfit Ten Pole Drunk, had crossed paths with enough folk-punk bands over the years that she felt inspired to create a record label to help get their music out there. This was the birth of Shindig Records, which is set to release its first compilation, Northwest Passport Vol. 1. The comp features 16 artists and is getting two release shows: one in Portland, and the other in Tacoma, at the Valley.

"I have played in a hardcore punk band for a while, and fell into the punk-influenced folk, through Mischief Brew and others," said LaPointe. "I want to do as much as I can to draw attention whether they are signed or not. The belief they have in people, the honesty they have in their songs, and the passion they possess draws me in."

The compilation is a who's who of Pacific Northwest folk artists, reflecting a wide range of styles -- "folk misfit," as LaPointe refers to the acts. There's the riotous stomp of the Bridge City Sinners, the John Prine-esque satirical edge of Shotgun Kitchen, the so-called "trash folk" of Bird Teeth, the good ol' boy drinkin' folk of the Truck Bed Boys, the wild party-folk of the Fun Police, the frenetic cultural mish-mash of Butterflies of Death, and the intricate looping of multi-instrumentalist John Underwood, to name less than half of the artists on Northwest Passport.

"When this compilation was just an idea, it would be eight artists," said LaPointe. "However, when I started making a list of who I wanted, it grew very quickly. The bands I wanted I have all seen live (or members of the bands, but I have seen them all since). They shine so bright on stage. There is something special about each of them. Their presence, their energy, their demeanor after meeting them -- it's inspiring. I look for artists that give their all."

This Saturday's album release show at the Valley will feature performances on two stages, with the aforementioned John Underwood, Bird Teeth, the Truck Bed Boys, and Butterflies of Death, as well as fellow Northwest Passage bands Shootdang, Are They Brothers, and This Machine Kills Gods. As usual, the Valley will be accepting donations at the door, but bring some extra dough for the bands, and for merch and CDs.

"The thing I love about the Northwest is our ability to do things our own way," said LaPointe. "We are a weird, wild, localized pot of gold -- and not in a monetary sense, but in a human sense of enjoying what everyone has to bring to the table. ... The people in the music scene here are passionate, enthusiastic, and will keep playing no matter what."

If they'll keep playing, I hope we'll all keep showing up. This show will be mad, sloppy fun.

NORTHWEST PASSPORT VOL. 1 RELEASE SHOW, w/ the Truck Bed Boys, John Underwood, This Machine Kills Gods, Shootdang, Butterflies of Death, Bird Teeth, Are They Brothers, Saturday, June 16, 7 p.m., donations suggested, The Valley, 1206 Puyallup Ave., Tacoma, 253.248.4265,

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