Release Date: Feb 24, 2015
Record label: Black Cricket Recording
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Lo-Fi, Alternative Singer/Songwriter, Indie Folk
In the past decade, Iron & Wine's Sam Beam has expanded his sound to incorporate world influences, lush AM pop and jazzy, full-band folk rock. For fans of the hushed, home-recorded acoustic ballads of his early days, however, this archival collection of unreleased material will come as a welcome throwback.Archive Series Volume No. 1 draws from the same well of four-track recordings that comprised his debut album, 2002's The Creek Drank the Cradle.
In retrospect, there was no way that Sam Beam—or anyone else, for that matter—could keep singing such quiet, devastating songs. Recorded in his living room while he worked a day job teaching cinema in Florida, his early Iron & Wine material examined harsh truths about the precarious nature of marriage and family: Every child grows up and leaves home, every friendship is eventually defined by distance and difference, every marriage ends in death and loneliness. "One of us will die inside these arms," he sang on "Naked As We Came", off 2004’s Our Endless Numbered Days.
Sam Beam is an unusual artist to say the least. Unusual because he came from an academic background that didn’t necessarily hint at any kind of musical mantra. Prior to adopting the moniker Iron and Wine, he established himself as the scholarly type, thanks to his tenure as a professor of film and cinematography at the University of Miami and at the Miami International University of Art & Design.
As Iron & Wine, songwriter Samuel Beam became an icon of rustic indie folk, his soft-spoken songs full of still, wistful country imagery and lovelorn emotions always tuneful enough to sit well beside the various mild-mannered indie rock bands that became his contemporaries as he spanned over a decade of recording and touring. The roots of Iron & Wine began when Beam was attending film school in the late '90s, quietly recording acoustic demos of his beautifully mumbly songs on a borrowed four-track. These demos circulated and eventually the best of the tracks were assembled as Iron & Wine's 2002 Sub Pop Records debut, The Creek Drank the Cradle.
Most Iron & Wine fans already know the legend: Sam Beam, working as a film professor at the University of Miami, recreationally recording dozens of lo-fi bedroom demos in his spare time. Selections of those demos, of course, ended up forming The Creek Drank The Cradle, Beam’s 2002 breakthrough Sub Pop debut that immediately topped year end lists and set the course for Iron & Wine’s following decade as one of the pre-eminent indie folk acts in the country. For years, fans and critics wondered about the rest of the four-track demos Beam recorded during the fruitful recording sessions.