Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Song of the Week: The Milk Carton Kids

From the time that I wake up in the morning my world is pretty loud and fast. I have to have talk radio playing while I get ready, telling me the time every 5 minutes to keep me focused. The trains are loud with their metal and steel, on top of that add the guy that sings, the loudmouth on the cellphone, the loudmouth bragging how important they are to humanity and the chatty train conductor, and you have my morning callithumpian.*

At work, we have an open floor plan, meaning everyone can hear everything and everyone.  We have several TVs on with newscasters and talking heads with their wailing and gnashing of teeth. Just once, I would love one of them to say, “Whatever happens, we are going to be just fine.”  Computers, printers, copy machines hum, again the loudmouths share their importance to humanity, fingers taping on the keyboards and blackberries echo through the fake hallways made by the fake walls of our cubicles. Maybe there will be a protestor telling me I’m going to hell, or maybe some tourists ask me to take their picture or for directions.  And now, like a plague of locust coming to the destroy the fruits of my labors, the summer interns are starting to swarm and fill every inch of the city with their chatterings about whatever 18-23 year olds talk about these days.

Then back on the train.

Than back home to catch up on televisions shows, chat with friends, chat with myself.

There just seems to be so much, so much of the time. 

Music seems to be one of my anchors to help me not lose myself in all of this. I have lately found myself listening to The Milk Carton Kids on repeat during my work days. There is a beautiful juxtaposition in the peacefulness of their music against the fastness of thousands of people moving their way, all at the same time, through the city.  Something that stills the little part of me that doesn’t know if it can run for one more train, ride one more stuffed elevator,  sit through one more staff meeting. We all need these little anchors, whether it's music or a good book or running or sitting under a tree.
 The Milk Carton Kids is made up of Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan, and their guitars. That’s it. But sometimes that is all you need.   You can download their album, Prologue, for free on their website, I highly recommend you do that right now. And then the next time you find yourself in the middle of “too much”, you have will the perfect thing to listen too.

*Word of the Week: Callithumpian:  U.S. colloquial, probably a fanciful construction at one time designating a society of social reformers, then in reference to "noisy disturbers of elections and meetings," and most commonly "a band of discordant instruments."

[Update: The Milk Carton Kids will be touring with the always amazing Old Crow Medicine Show this summer. They hit the 9:30 club in DC on August 2&3. The August 3 (Friday) night is already sold out, but tickets for the Thursday show are still available. Full tour dates here. The Lumineers are also on the bill on other cities. ]

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