REFERENCE POINT: Despite a surface sonic connection to New York’s Greenwich Village in the 1960s, LA-based musicians Joey Ryan and Kenneth Pattengale, aka The Milk Carton Kids, are more influenced by Appalachian and jazz sounds than Lower West Side folk songs.

The Milk Carton Kids’ contempora­ry take on American folk music

The Milk Carton Kids are really just two Los Angeles-based singer-songwriters — Joey Ryan and Kenneth Pattengale — who figured out that they sounded good playing together. But to the rest of the Americana world, the two are magic in a bottle, blending the fraught folk weariness and preternatural guitar picking of Gillian Welch and David Rawlings with the fragile pop harmonies of Simon & Garfunkel.

THE FAMILY THAT PLAYS TOGETHER: Sara and Sean Watkins, center, began performing in acoustic music trio Nickel Creek when they were 8 and 12, respectively. The Watkins Family Hour side project began as an informal monthly residency to workshop songs and just have fun.

Watkins Family Hour takes its casual, intimate vibe on tour

Sean and Sara Watkins, the brother-and-sister duo who rose to fame as youngsters in acoustic trio Nickel Creek, alongside virtuoso mandolin player Chris Thile, started the Watkins Family Hour as a monthly residency in Los Angeles over a decade ago. It was a way to play music in an informal setting. That show comes to The Grey Eagle for two nights, Friday and Saturday, Sept. 11 and 12.

WELL-TRAVELED: “Balancing between traditional Tuareg and Western music is something that is just natural for me because that is what I grew up on as a musician," says Omara Moctar, aka Tuareg musician Bombino. Photo by Jacob Bombersback

Sound values: How LEAF’s eclectic lineup defines the festival’s ethos

The 2015 lineup for LEAF, which prides itself on its globally conscious reach, is unsurprisingly excellent. Topping the bills each night are acts that range from soul revival firebrand Charles Bradley & his Extraordinaires to Australian world-roots act Xavier Rudd & the United Nations, demonstrating the festival’s knack for mixing quality bedrock American music with an eclectic range of styles that span the Earth.

PASSAGE TO INDIA: “Vigorous sweetness” is a pretty good descriptor for the tunes on Suno Deko’s debut EP, Thrown Color. Soaring arrangements are elegantly paired with stream-of-consciousness reflections on large-scale questions of wonder and awe. The project of Atlanta-based musician David Courtright takes its name from two Hindi words. Photo courtesy of the musician

Atlanta’s Suno Deko crafts wide-eyed, loop-based experiment­al pop

Even a fleeting experience with the music of Suno Deko will inevitably be a pleasant experience. The shimmering, experimental-pop project of Atlanta-based musician David Courtright takes the stage at The Mothlight on Sunday, Nov. 9. Building his songs primarily on intertwining, gently cascading electric guitar lines and sinewy vocal parts in the vein of Ben […]

WHIGGING OUT: Founded 25 years ago, The Afghan Whigs return with a new album and a reissue of their first release. "Every record I make is a reaction to the place in my life I’m at then, so it feels more like a constant evolution of a life that I’ve cultivated for myself,” says frontman Greg Dulli, second from right. Photo by Piper Ferguson

The Afghan Whigs play The Orange Peel

These days ’90s alt-rock band reunions are a dime a dozen. Then again, there really wasn’t another ’90s band like The Afghan Whigs. When its major-label debut, Gentleman, dropped in 1993, the group’s sprawling soul-and-R&B-inflected rock histrionics and dapper style stood out among a crowded field of flannel-clad grunge upstarts. The Greg Dulli-led outfit went […]

NOT YOUR STANDARD FESTIVAL FARE: M.C. Taylor of Hiss Golden Messenger, pictured, joins the Transfigurations II lineup, which includes locals Angel Olsen and Reigning Sound along with Seattle grunge survivors Mudhoney, the retro soul of Lee Fields & the Expressions and more. Photo courtesy of Merge Records

Harvest Records celebrates a decade in business with Transfigur­ations II music festival

Although “pretty much everybody” told them it wasn’t a good idea, Matt Schnable and Mark Capon opened Harvest Records in 2004. “We were just out of college and pretty headstrong about it,” says Schnable. “We figured even if were open just a year, at least we had seen something through.” The West Asheville-based store was […]