Beam me up

Posted: May 2, 2009 in Uncategorized

Samuel Beam and his Iron and Wine moniker will always have a special place in my cold, black heart. I’ve loved him since first hearing the Creek Drank The Cradle many moons ago on some dodgy old CD-R given to me by a tramp.Or was it a Vietnam vet?

But that said he has easily put on two of the most disapponting live gigs I’ve ever seen, one in the Olympia and one in the Ambassador.

With a penchant for tweaking his songs live, the so-fragile-it-might-snap vibe of his albums and EPs are totally discarded on stage and Beam, with his rag-tag bunch of very talented musicians, likes to expand and ruin every bloody song to the point of noodley boredom. Bonnie Prince Billy is the master at doing this kind of twiddleage and foostering well – I’ve seen him do fantastic versions of much-loved, usually sparser songs and they sounded great.

I do, however, hear that Bob Dylan effectively bends his popular songs over the piano and forces himself into them after administering some form of prescription medicine/alcohol cocktail to ensure the songs black out and remember nothing.
For shame.

Anyway, in a few weeks arrives the Iron and Wine double album, Around the Well (Sub Pop), a 2-CD/3-LP collection of rare tracks ranging from out-of-print to never-before-released. I’m reminded of the shimmering delicate beauty of Beam’s music, the lyrics that have a firm foundation in his cinematography and film-tutoring background. Beam’s words are some of the most poetic I’ve heard with the same kind of bucolical leanings of Bill Callahan but without the sometimes startling obscurity – Beam is more Terence Malick to Callahan’s David Lynch.

One of my favourite Iron and Wine songs, and one that features on this upcoming album, is his cover of The Flaming Lips’ Waitin’ For A Superman so here it is.

Waitin’ For A Superman – Iron and Wine

  1. Andrew says:

    Yeah, that Olympia gig wasn’t great at all, was it? i remember it starting off with just a couple of them on stage, playing beautiful, simple stuff. Then they added more and more musicians with each passing song, and the gig didn’t benefit from it at all.

    Still, like you, I’m very excited about the new album.

  2. Adam says:

    Yep, for sure. He really should just pare down his live gigs a la Bon Iver and go for the plaintive beauty angle rather than the world music angle

  3. Gardenhead says:

    really cool cover version

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