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Dirtnap Records to celebrate its 20th anniversary with a stacked Madison weekend

The punk label will showcase 20 bands across June 12 and 13 at the High Noon Saloon.

Photo: Jeff Burke playing with Radioactivity in 2015 in New York City, by Steven Spoerl.

Dirtnap Records’ 20th anniversary celebration will bring a slew of notable acts including the UK-based Martha, a newly reunited Epoxies, a trio of acts featuring basement punk figurehead Jeff Burke (The Marked Men, Radioactivity, Lost Balloons) and other standouts from the punk label’s roster to the High Noon Saloon on June 12 and 13.

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A promotional graphic for the Mad Lit events series shows the series' logo and text stating (8 p.m. until 11 p.m., Every other Friday, 100 block of state St. July 1st-October 7th. A collage of performers and audience members is visible to the right, and the logos of event sponsors are visible along the bottom.

Dirtnap has called a few cities home since its founding in 2000, primarily Seattle and Portland, Oregon, but founder Ken Cheppaikode is a Madison native who recently spent a few years back here before making yet another move over to Milwaukee. The anniversary lineup of course features several of the label’s Wisconsin artists, from Milwaukee’s Fox Face and Sugar Stems to Madison’s Proud Parents and The Hussy. Just those four acts say a lot about the label’s stylistic range—from menacing dark punk to power-pop that wears its heart on its sleeve. North Carolina band Personality Cult, playing the blowout on June 13, have a new Dirtnap album coming out in March.

Music festivals in Madison can be a messy proposition, but they’ve usually managed to bring in a wide variety of styles. Whether it was Freakfest, the kitchen-sink variety of east-side festivals like Fete De Marquette (and its superlative dance-music sister event, Musique Electronique), or the dearly departed FRZN Fest and Forward Festival, the city has welcomed large swaths of acts and genres in bigger package lineups—rarely trying to nab the biggest names, but all the more interesting for their reticence. Local label showcases like the ones hosted by Kitschy Spirit and No Coast have allowed a greater emphasis on niche styles. But even so, this weekend with Dirtnap significantly ups the ante on connecting Madison with some of rock’s most fertile territory.  

Here’s the full lineup, and a playlist we made of some highlights from across Dirtnap’s discography.

Friday, June 12

Martha

Radioactivity

Bad Sports

Mean Jeans

River City Tanlines

Legendary Wings

Fox Face

Saturday, June 13

Marked Men

The Epoxies

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White Wires

The Hussy

Personality Cult

Mind Spiders

Drakulas

Steve Adamyk Band

Good Shade

Low Culture

Lost Balloons

Sugar Stems

Proud Parents

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