The Late Movies: My New Favorite Band, The Milk Carton Kids

Chris Higgins

I came across a band (well, two guys) and I think you should listen to them; they're sort of a mixture of Simon & Garfunkel, the Jayhawks, and Gillian Welch -- in other words, somewhere in the modern folk/Americana genre, or "two dudes and two acoustic guitars." I saw them open for Over the Rhine in November (where, to be frank, they outshone the headliner), then again on their own tour a few weeks back; these boys are on a seemingly endless tour (they're averaging something like a show every 2-3 days for the last year), and they also give away all their music for free online (I recommend "Prologue" to start). If you like acoustic guitars, harmonies, and snappy outfits, you'll love The Milk Carton Kids.


Live at WAMU. Give it ninety seconds and you'll know whether this is your thing. Note that this is one of their rare performances while not wearing full suits; I guess radio is like that. You might also be interested in this interpretive dance class performing to the song.

Complete Show - Grand Rapids

From December 9, 2011, here's a short set -- from about two weeks after I first saw them. Features some typical understated jokes.

"I Still Want a Little More"

From the "Prologue" recording sessions. Bonus points if you get the reference on Kenneth's shirt.


From soundcheck at Zoey's in Ventura.

"Ghost Town" (Cover, Cary Brothers)

Inclues a bit of introductory material about the virtues of crashing in a New York apartment. Song begins around 2:50.


Check out their Tumblr (mostly tour photos) and their website, where you can, no joke, download all their music for free (or you can buy it if you really want). The guys are Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan. Check 'em out if (um, when) they come to your town -- come for the songs, stay for the jokes.