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.

Andi Teran

March 27, 2013 / By

What are the top 10 things that we should be informed about, in life?

Top 10 Life Lessons

I came across this thread on Quora about the top 10 things that we should be informed about in life and found the answers of Justin Freeman, pastor of a small evangelical church in southern Missouri, to be quite amazing. I found myself nodding along to everything that Freeman had written, but here are two points that I thought were particularly poignant.

3. Spend your life with rulebreakers. Marry them. Befriend them. Work with them. Spend weekends with them. No matter how much power you become possessed of, you’ll never be able to make someone care—so gather close the caring.

5. Money is expensive. I mean, it’s difficult to get your hands on sometimes—and you never know when someone’s going to pull the floorboards out from under you—so don’t be stupid with it. Avoid debt on depreciating assets, and never incur debt in order to assuage your vanity (see rule number one). Debt has become normative, but don’t blithely accept it as a rite of passage into adulthood—debt represents imbalance and, in some sense, often a resignation of control. Student loan debt isn’t always unavoidable, but it isn’t a given—my wife and I completed a combined ten years of college with zero debt between us. If you can’t avoid it, though, make sure that your degree is an investment rather than a liability—I mourn a bit for all of the people going tens of thousands of dollars in debt in pursuit of vague liberal arts degrees with no idea of what they want out of life. If you’re just dropping tuition dollars for lack of a better idea at the moment, just withdraw and go wander around Europe for a few weeks—I guarantee you’ll spend less and learn more in the process.

Bobby Solomon

March 26, 2013 / By

“Diane Young” and “Step”, two new songs from Vampire Weekend

Vampire Weekend - Modern Vampire of the City

I popped on to Rdio this morning and noticed that Vampire Weekend had a new single out called “Diane Young” (you’ll get it when you hear it) from their upcoming album Modern Vampire in the City. The song is peppy and upbeat, but also a little unconventional. It’s a bit surf rock and a bit 50′s pop sounding but with Ezra Koenig’s familiar vocals layered over the top of it all. The new record should be out on May 14 and this makes me pretty excited to hear it.

Update: Just went to the Vampire Weekend site (should have done that first) and noticed they had videos for “Diane Young” and the song “Step”. Gotta’ say I’m much more into “Step”, it’s simple and beautiful. A bit of harpsichord and some digitally altered vocals. Yes, please.

Bobby Solomon

March 26, 2013 / By