The Milk Carton Kids Redefine Contemporary Folk

The Milk Carton Kids

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.