Tree By The River
Label: Warner Bros.
Sub Pop staple Sam Beam gets cozy in his new residency on Warner's roster, flexing a pop-music muscle where his acoustic barebones have outweighed before. The fuzz of feedback, the flittering of synths: not words often spoken in reference to Iron & Wine. But in the tradition of the troubadour's music, it's all quite subtle, tasteful in fact -- some jazzy sax, controlled percussion, timid woodwinds, spacey synths, doo-wopping ladies, funky bass, slithering guitar, even a few f-bombs give Beam's general James Taylor warmth a whole new sense of carefree exoticism.