Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Iron & Wine

Sam Beam lives in Miami, FL and makes music under the name Iron and Wine. He is a father of two (both daughters) and teaches cinematography at a local college. September 2002 saw the release of his debut album, The Creek Drank the Cradle. That record was/is hushed, literate, intimate, melodic: a quiet treasure which, with its unaffected candor and depth, found fans all over. (Entertainment Weekly: "Based in Miami, of all places, [Beam] launches balloons of sweetly whispered regret over trance-inducing backwoods string arrangements and watches them float away, his heart in tow." The Onion: "Equally assured with sweetly lilting pop and doomstruck ballads, Beam invests these songs with hypnotic beauty and sparkling melody, making them as accessible as they are affecting.") Both in the bio for the first record and in (perhaps an unwitting, self-fulfilling prophecy set in motion by that bio…) subsequent press surrounding the record, a fair amount of focus has been narrowed on these two facts: Sam Beam lives in Miami, and most of his music is home-recorded. This lends some interesting context, but really, these things are solely that: context. The simple explanation is that Sam likes the warm weather and home is where the four-track is (it also happens to be where his family is).

In September of 2003, we at Sub Pop released a 5-song EP culled from the recordings that made up The Creek Drank the Cradle as The Sea and The Rhythm. And, some discerned a new undercurrent of optimism within these (Pitchfork: "...Beam pushes trembling expectation, ecstatic abandon, and plain-faced repentance"). Between now and the first record, Sam spent a far amount of time on the road, both solo (touring together with Rosie Thomas, Love as Laughter’s Sam Jayne, and James Mercer from The Shins) and with a band. Iron and Wine have played or toured with Holopaw, Broadcast, The Shins, Ugly Casanova, The Decemberists, Fruit Bats, and others.

Our Endless Numbered Days
is the second full-length album from Iron and Wine and it was recorded both at Sam's Miami home and in Chicago's Engine Studios with Brian Deck (Red Red Meat, Modest Mouse, Ugly Casanova, Holopaw, etc.) On it, Sam is aided and abetted by his regular touring and recording conspirators: sister Sara Beam, Patrick McKinney, Jeff McGriff, EJ Holowicki, and Jonathan Bradley. No grand gestures here, instead the record is filled with tiny moments, little windows into our shared mortality in a way that serves to sharpen the hunger for love and connection over time rather than dull or defeat it. Listening to Our Endless Numbered Days makes plain Sam's deft touch with words and melody; one that allows him to turn out stories about love, loss, faith, or the lack of it that are at once personal and universal, set to music that is sweetly haunting and timeless.

Iron & Wine - Live Shows and Home Recordings


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