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Tuesday, November 13th, 2012


Anti- Records is pleased to announce the signing of acclaimed Los Angeles based duo The Milk Carton Kids. The band’s upcoming album culminates a whirlwind first year of the band’s existence. In that short time the duo of Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan have built a vibrant following with the simple purity of their music: touring with Old Crow Medicine Show, the Lumineers, Punch Brothers, and KD Lang; appearing on NPR’s Tiny Desk concert series; charming audiences with their deadpan on-stage humor (riffing on the Smothers Brothers for young fans who have never heard of the Smothers Brothers); offering their debut album for free to willing fans – over 130,00 downloaded – from their website; and grabbing press acclaim usually reserved for veteran artists.

While The Milk Carton Kids most obvious frame of musical reference is the classic folk revival sound of twin acoustic guitars and close harmonies, the band both expand and contradict that rich legacy. The music strikes listeners immediately with its sweet, bluegrass-inflected simplicity, but underneath snakes Pattengales’ sinuous modal guitar lines, sounding for all the world like a jazzified Bert Jansch dropped in to jam with the Everly Brothers. Their harmonies, too, while recalling classic brother duos from the Louvins to the Everlys, achieve a richness that blends into a vivid singularity; Grammy award winning producer and musician Joe Henry writes that “upon first listen I became so seduced by the singular character that emerged from the songs, that I failed to register that there were actually two very different singers giving rise to him.” The effect is heightened for live audiences as they watch Joey and Kenneth effortlessly switch off leads and high and low harmonies, a perfect folk democracy.

Lyrically, The Milk Carton Kids belong to a great tradition from Harry Nilsson to Richard Thompson of marrying stirring melodies to darker imagery. What exactly is happening, for instance, in the elegiac album closer “Memphis,” when “the one time home of soul takes our country’s final breath”? That song, with its heartrending melody and overt retorts to folk-rock icon Paul Simon’s “Graceland” – “there’s no guitar/shines in the sun” – encapsulates the Milk Carton Kids’ ambiguous relationship with the folk past. With these songs’ enigmatic references to absent countrymen, a nation in decline, and that apocalyptic final breath, it’s almost as if Cormac McCarthy took the mike at the Purple Onion to render his novels of other Americas as shimmering songs. This is not your father’s folk music.

Watch The Milk Carton Kids perform an NPR “Tiny Desk Concert” by going to:

Acclaim For The Milk Carton Kids:

"Bittersweet and beautiful" - San Francisco Chronicle

"A sweetly dazzling variation on close-harmony vocals, part Simon and Garfunkel and part Everly Brothers, with occasional acoustic prestidigitation." - The New York Times

"The Milk Carton Kids transport with heartbreaking understatement. Extraordinary musical facility, both vocal and on vintage guitars, meets humor, smarts and style on an otherwise ordinary stage." - Huffington Post

The Milk Carton Kids Live Dates (opening for Punch Brothers)

11/24 Vancouver, BC - The Chan 11/25 - Seattle, WA – Neptune 11/26 Bend, OR - Tower Theater 11/27 Chico, CA - CSU Chico 11/29 Napa, CA - Napa Valley Opera House 11/30 Santa Cruz, CA - Rio Theater 12/1 Los Angeles, CA - Luckman Fine Arts Complex 12/2 San Diego, CA - Belly Up 12/4 Santa Barbara, CA - Lobero Theater 12/5 Phoenix, AZ – Crescent 12/7 Salt Lake City, UT – Depot 12/8 Aspen, CO - Wheeler Opera House 12/9 Boulder, CO - Boulder Theater 12/11 Kansas City, MO - Beamont Club 12/12 Minneapolis, MN - First Avenue 12/13 Chicago, IL - The Vic

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