Iron and Wine isn't an "it," but a "he" -- one Samuel Beam, a Floridian who was discovered by Sub Pop via his introverted lo-fi bedroom tapes. His beautifully calm, almost whispered music was widely heard in the film Garden State alongside Nick Drake, which makes Beam a shoo-in for next-Elliot-Smith honors. He has already topped himself artistically, first with the big studio-recorded album Our Endless Numbered Days, and next with a pair of EPs, of which the latest, In the Reins, is a collaboration with Arizona's beloved Calexico. Potentially, Burns, Convertino and company could've buried the low Beam with their blaring blend of mariachi, Ennio, Portuguese fado, Afro-Peruvian sounds, jazz, and surf music, but instead they merely punctuate the quieter moments and reinforce the more robust ones. This also marks the second consecutive EP for Calexico -- last year's Convict Pool had the group gamely covering Arthur Lee and Love, Francoiz Breut, and the Minutemen.
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