Contrary to their title, The Milk Carton Kids are neither a gang of tragic youth rescued from long forgotten cardboard dairy cartons or are they a gang at all. Armed only with acoustic guitars, they’re a folk music duo from Eagle Rock, California, consisting of Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan, and their music is swiftly being hailed as the second coming of contemporary folk. You might want to pipe up and decree that Mumford & Sons own this title or, perhaps, The Lumineers, but I can assure you that in the sternest of definitions of old-school folk (down to their vintage 1950s guitars), The Milk Carton Kids are the realest of deals.
They’re already being compared to Simon & Garfunkel, due in part to their arrestingly harmonious dual melodies and deft guitar arrangements, but upon further listen they’re not too shabby at spinning a lyrical yarn either. They also have a Gus van Sant seal of approval with “Promised Land”, a somber and beautiful track used in the director’s film by the same name. And, what’s more, they’ve chosen to release their first two albums for free. Nothin’ old-school about that at all. Their new album, The Ash & Clay, is out this week.