12 Songs, 44 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

On his second album as Iron & Wine, Sam Beam’s love for Elliott Smith hides in plain sight, from the hushed vocals in “Fever Dream” to the homey warmth suffusing “Each Coming Night.” But what makes Our Endless Numbered Days so great is how he filters these qualities through earthy folk sounds belying his Southern heritage. Beam isn’t the first indie singer/songwriter to drop in prickly banjos (“Teeth in the Grass”), nor weepy slide guitars (“Love and Some Verses”), yet few have proven as intoxicating.

EDITORS’ NOTES

On his second album as Iron & Wine, Sam Beam’s love for Elliott Smith hides in plain sight, from the hushed vocals in “Fever Dream” to the homey warmth suffusing “Each Coming Night.” But what makes Our Endless Numbered Days so great is how he filters these qualities through earthy folk sounds belying his Southern heritage. Beam isn’t the first indie singer/songwriter to drop in prickly banjos (“Teeth in the Grass”), nor weepy slide guitars (“Love and Some Verses”), yet few have proven as intoxicating.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5

433 Ratings

Folk Gold From Miami Wunderkind

LightPollution,

This album is simply the best true folk album that has been released in years. There really is not a bad song on the track-list, though some highlights are "Naked As We Came," "Cinder and Smoke," "Fever Dream," and "Radio War." The acoustic guitar is downright amazing in this album and Sam Beam's voice is perfect and you can tell that he is a student of folk music. Top notch album, I'd give it six stars if I could.

Best Iron & Wine album

Jesse Wayne Thornton,

I think Iron & Wine is one of these artists where you can hear one song and know whether or not it is your type of thing. Upon first listen, I enjoyed this album but thought that much of it blended together, sounded similar. Upon repeated listens, each track stands out on its own and the album doesn't have a weak song. This is the quintessential Iron & Wine album and, contrary to other posters, is even good listening regardless of the weather. Last 2 tracks are personal favorites.

About Iron & Wine

Singer/songwriter Samuel Beam, who rose to prominence with a blend of whispered vocals and softly homespun indie folk, chose the moniker Iron and Wine after coming across a dietary supplement named "Beef Iron & Wine" while working on a film. Raised in South Carolina, Beam received his bachelor's degree in art from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond and later his Master of Fine Arts degree from Florida State University Film School. Although Beam would later expand his sound to include electric instruments and rich, lush textures, he was firmly exploring the former style when several of his lo-fi recordings caught the ear of Jonathan Poneman, co-owner of Sub Pop Records. The songs had been recorded in Beam's bedroom without the aid of studio flourishes, but Poneman nevertheless requested that additional material be sent to the label for submission, and Beam responded by sending two CDs in the mail -- both of them full-length albums. Poneman considered releasing them both, but instead slimmed down the set to 12 songs and released it in September 2002 as The Creek Drank the Cradle. The similarly themed The Sea & the Rhythm EP followed in 2003.

It was Beam's 2004 full-length, Our Endless Numbered Days, that signaled his arrival on the indie pop scene. Recorded in Chicago with producer Brian Deck, the album was resolutely hi-fi, but the addition of a full band only illuminated Beam's deft lyricism and intimate vocal delivery, resulting in one of the most critically acclaimed albums of the year. Late 2004 found the newly marketable Iron and Wine popping up on television commercials and movie soundtracks (In Good Company, Garden State), culminating in a busy 2005 that saw Beam release two EPs, the lush Woman King and In the Reins, a collaboration with Arizona spaghetti Western aficionados Calexico. The politically charged Shepherd's Dog, Beam and company's most diverse -- and most listenable -- record to date, was released in 2007. A two-disc collection of B-sides, rarities, soundtrack inclusions, and discarded tracks from the Iron and Wine archives called Around the Well arrived in early 2009. Kiss Each Other Clean, Iron and Wine's first collection of new music in nearly three years and one that found Beam further expanding the group's sound, was released in January 2011 by their new label, Warner Bros. After a move to 4AD and Nonesuch, Iron and Wine released the more relaxed and intimate Ghost on Ghost in early 2013. The Brian Deck-produced album featured jazz drummer Brian Blade and bassist Tony Garnier of Bob Dylan's band, among others. Together with Band of Horses frontman Ben Bridwell, Beam released a covers album titled Sing into My Mouth in 2015. The record featured versions of songs from the likes of Talking Heads, John Cale, and Sade. ~ James Christopher Monger

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